Monday, May 4, 2009

Looking at Needs

In a post that I wrote last fall (9/2/08) I talked about Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Briefly, his list was:
  • Physiological needs
  • Safety and security needs
  • Love and belonging needs
  • Esteem needs
  • And what he called 'Self-Actualization' needs

A critic of his is Chilean economist Manfred Max-Neef, who has a non-hierarchical list of what he refers to as Fundamental Human Needs:
  • subsistence,
  • protection,
  • affection,
  • understanding,
  • participation,
  • leisure,
  • creation,
  • identity and
  • freedom.

As I look at Maslow's and Manfred Max-Neef's lists, I don't see them as that different. So I am going to start with what I will call M3N3: the Modified Maslow/Max-Neef Needs Notation:
  • Physiological/subsistence needs
  • Safety/security/protection needs
  • Love/affection/belonging needs
  • Esteem and understanding needs
  • Participation and involvement needs
  • Leisure/rest/recovery needs
  • Artistic and creativity needs
  • Identity needs
  • Freedom needs
(I think Maslow's need for Self-Actualization would include Max-Neef's creation, identity, and freedom needs.)

I wrote my own list of needs in my post of 9/4/09. I am going to integrate them in the lists that follow.

Let's look more closely at these needs. What do they actually consist of? Let me break them down into what I see as the specifics of each:
  • Physiological/subsistence needs
What are our most basic needs? (Even Max-Neef admits that these take priority.) My list:
  • Air
  • Water
  • Food
  • Warmth
  • Temporary (at least) shelter
  • Emergency medical care
  • Ways to deal with our waste products

  • Safety/security/protection needs
What do we need in order to be safe and secure on an ongoing basis? I think we need the following:
  • Land
  • Permanent shelter
  • Regular access to medical care
  • People we can rely on when we need help (a basis for community)
We also need protection from (and, if possible the elimination of):
  • War
  • Crime
  • Violence of any kind (including rape, verbal abuse, and any kind of intimidation)
  • Poverty (ie, a situation where we can't get our needs met)
  • Pollution
  • Inequalities of all kinds

  • Love/affection/belonging needs
What do we need to feel loved and connected?
  • Touch and affection (sex is in here, but also nonsexual connection)
  • Intimacy (a special closeness--sometimes physical, sometimes emotional)
  • Friendship (people we can count on)
  • Family (people we define as family--supportive people that we can communicate with)
  • Community (a group of people where we belong)
  • Social Gatherings

  • Esteem and understanding needs
What do we need so we feel respected and understood, as well as being able to understand others and the world?
Esteem includes:
  • Self-esteem and self-respect, a sense of confidence
  • Respect from others (To be accepted and valued by others)
  • Respect for others
  • A sense of achievement, a feeling of being useful
This also includes systems of:
  • Education and
  • Communication

  • Participation and involvement needs
In order to feel useful, we need to be useful and in order to do that we need:
  • Meaningful work
  • Energy to accomplish the work
  • Organization (people willing to do the work and willing to work together)
  • Transportation
  • Trade (of some sort)

  • Leisure/rest/recovery needs
What do we need to keep going?
  • Time for (and a safe place to) sleep
  • Recuperation time
  • Healing time
  • Connections with nature
  • Spiritual connections
  • Challenging (non-work) activities

Finally, I think the last three are single focused and self-explanatory (the Self-Actualization needs):
  • Artistic and creativity needs
  • Identity needs
  • Freedom needs

I intend to do a post on each of these specific needs, outlining what we need of each and how we can meet those needs. That's forty-three more posts. There is the next segment of this blog.

Quote of the Day: “Keep high aspirations, moderate expectations, and small needs...” - William Howard Stein

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