Human Needs: Support and Conflict

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As humans, we have certain needs. There are, of course, the basic needs of food, shelter, and water, but these needs are only for sustaining our physical bodies.

Beyond the physical needs, there are psychological and emotional needs which are of equal importance to a balanced and fulfilling life. It seems to me that, if we look as needs of the individual and of the society, it’s easiest to put these psychological needs into two camps

  1. Immediate/Being: The personal needs of the individual at the immediate timeframe, or, simply, just ‘being’ on a daily basis, both in solitude and within a community setting.
  2. Future/Doing: The needs of the individual in terms of a future timeframe, or, the drive and goals we have for ourselves and the community we live in, also known as our need for “purpose”.

Immediate/Being Aspects of People

The basic psychological “people” elements of our (ideally daily) routines should include:

Support — Humans can’t act completely on their own for eternity. Companionship must enter the equation of our lives in one way or another, and arguably the most important part of that companionship is support. How many times have you attempted to carry out a difficult plan without anyone else there? We’re not even speaking of physical support, but simple, mental support.

Without someone to believe in us, most will find it unbearably difficult to believe in ourselves.

Of course, we should all strive to be comfortable and set in our directions without any vindication whatsoever, but in reality, only a few very exceptional men and women have shown us continued resilience against mass indifference, and even they had supporters, however few, to help carry them through.

Enjoyment — Enjoyment of life and of the world which surrounds us undoubtedly a primary concern of life on this planet and in this universe. For humans, enjoyment could be said to be the ultimate reward for our work after providing the basics of life, providing us necessary relaxation of mind and body. A human being unable to enjoy the simple pleasures of nature is a human being most often found to be distraught and disconnected from life.

Community — One might link community with support, and certainly, a community can offer support in great amount. But it’s listed separately here for good reason. Community offers a sense of belonging and security, yet it also offers us a sense of conflict and insecurity. Equally as important are these counterparts; a human with constant support, sense of belonging and security, eventually becomes adapted and tends to look beyond the contentedness they are given.

So long as the proper vehicles for resolution are in place, conflict within a community is a healthy and necessary part of human life, so much so that the word “conflict” should be included in anyone’s definition of community.

Any community which holds utopian values too highly, artificially making attempts to do away with conflict –instead of, or even in addition to, planning for proper conflict resolution — will find the walls cracking as soon as first conflict arises.

Solidarity — One might guess how important this one is. Plainly put, an excess of community interaction, whether in the form of conflict or support, is daunting to even the brightest shining socialite. The need for us to “crash” after prolonged periods of interaction with friends, foes, family, loved ones, is both normal and necessary for continued proper function.

It’s important to remember that individuality and life circumstances dictate how much or how little each of us needs in terms of these categories. While it’s true that most of us need a bit from each, the percentage varies greatly.

The next in this series is “Drive,” the need for Teamwork, Goals, Accomplishment