Unsatisfied human necessities that motivate an individual, group or society's actions and enhance the individual, group or society's fulfillment when met.
While still important to keep in mind, in today's western societies, we are lucky, in one sense, to have most of the base of Maslow's hierarchy of needs fulfilled.
While the need to concentrate on the deficits of starting at the base and working our way up, there exists a broader framework and way of thinking about needs, that will help us understand the interactions between people, groups and societies and how those interactions can break down.
Many of the ideas below originated from Mr Anthony Robins and have been modified and adapted relating to my own studies and experiences.
In order to produce healthy, happy individuals, members of a group/society and to reduce conflict overall, there must be a balance of:
It is important to understand that these needs can apply to individuals, groups of like minded individuals and to larger groups of individuals on a societal level.
Any deficit or addiction to any one of these can produce disordered individuals, groups and societies that are a detriment to themselves, other groups and in extremes, other societies and the wider world.
The first four needs (certainty, variety, significance and connection/love) are often referred to as "personality needs" as they are clustered around our quest for self-fulfillment and achievement. Without these four fundamental needs being met in a broad way, we are obstructed from quickly evolving to a deeper sense of true happiness and fulfillment in life in the next two areas: Growth and Contribution.
While we may still grow and contribute while lacking in other areas, there is no way to become the best version of yourself, a group, or a society while there is unbalance in any area.
Each and every one of us endeavors to appease a core sense of balance and stability in these areas. Starting with the basics to support human life, progressing through to building and supporting our families, groups and societies.
Let's break these needs down and describe them so that we have a framework and understanding for future discussions. Balance in these, will be more likely to produce the most productive individuals, groups and societies.
The primal drive behind satisfying the certainty need is the survival of self and our species.
Basic requirements for the survival of self:
breathing, food, water, shelter, clothing, sleep, health
Extended requirements to fulfill certainty, ensures the continuation of our bloodline and by extension our species.
family, friendships, intimacy, sense of connection, employment, property, freedom, social stability
The problem comes in when people nearby and those in the wider world have different and changing requirements from our own. This can result in opposing needs working against each other resulting in anything from a simple disagreement between individuals all the way up to all out war between countries.
Sometimes the need for certainty causes individuals, groups or societies to put up walls and fences around them. To stay in their comfort zone and resist change.
This is one of the reasons why most people when presented with ideas that are in conflict to their beliefs, get backed further into their corner and come out swinging for the retention of that mindset which gives them certainty and comfort.
There's also this cognitive dissonance thing, where: there are feelings of discomfort that result from holding two conflicting beliefs. When there is a discrepancy between beliefs and behaviors, something must change in order to eliminate or reduce the dissonance.
It is easier for the individual to further wrap themselves in their belief (lie to themselves to be certain) than to have to construct a new mindset for the new reality they are experiencing, especially when part of a larger group that reinforces and believes the same things. Only the parts of a narrative that reinforce the belief will be held onto or accepted (confirmation bias).
One only has to look to areas of the world, where they are lacking fulfillment of certainty in some of these, to see a very different reality than we in the west are privileged and lucky to have been born into.
Despite our need for certainty, there are occasions where we must break from what we know and can predict. This allows us to evolve and grow more into who we came here to be or not be bored. Can you imagine if you only had one book to read or one movie to watch?
Variety breaks up the patterns of predictability and stagnation, expanding who we are and to experience ourselves in motion.
Includes: need for challenge, change, surprise, adventure and diversity
Naturally we risk certainty, but by letting go of needing to control and knowing everything surrounding us, we are brought to a place that is not bound by the observations and experience from the past. This allows us to grow beyond what we've experienced and what we think we know.
Everything in moderation and balance. As we attempt to satisfy this need, we can take this to extremes when the primary driver is constant change (relationships, employment and location). At times we may need a number of trips to the buffet to satisfy this need. To do it though in exclusion of all else, we can be prevented from fully engaging with life and experiences happening right in front of us.
When employed properly, with a balanced map, variety can allow us to effectively and productively move within our outer and inner mental, psychological and emotional landscapes. This allows us to introduce change in a healthy way, starting with ourselves.
By creating a balanced shift within, changes on the outside will occur naturally. Executed properly, we often don't need to leave a job, relationship or location to satisfy variety in our experience.
These first needs work as polarities with each other and require balance to enable wholeness and well being. When out of balance, a small dose of the other can bring that balance back.
As we meet more and more of our needs of Certainty and Variety, some want to step out and be seen and validated for who we are and what we do. This tells us that we don't exist in isolation, that we are part of a greater whole, that we matter.
Includes: meaning and validation, feeling wanted, needed, honoured and special.
To be an effective part of that whole, we need to know that what we are putting out to the world is playing an effective part and that we are respected and honoured for our contribution.
Our need for significance then, plays a part in the creation of our identity.
If we become solely dependent on input and approval from outside ourselves, it makes it very difficult to feel complete within ourselves (a huge problem for teens, especially with online sites and social media). If we value a single source of significance more than anything else, that source can become an addiction, which can cause us to lose perspective and limit us in other arenas.
From a positive perspective our need for significance is fulfilled by a humble sense of internal accomplishment for following a path of integrity and expression in the world that is uplifting to ourselves and others.
Everyone needs to love and be loved by others. We need to belong.
Includes: need for connection, communication, intimacy and shared love!
The place to always start, is our connection and love for the self. If we can't love our self, then we will find it difficult to love anyone, or anything else for that matter. If we take the time to genuinely connect with and love the many aspects of our own being, this connection aligns with and naturally percolates out to genuine connections and love of and for others.
This is central to our experience of living a fulfilling complete life; making deep connections with other living beings.
We might eventually fill our own cup by concentrating on our own significance.
By reciprocating genuine love and connection with others, allows this cup to overflow and pour into the lives of those we interact with, filling up everyone's cup and making the world a better place.
Significance and Connection/Love are also kind of polar opposites and work as a balance to each other. You can see if one is addicted to significance, you quickly end up with disordered individuals
So what is the one thing that is true for every, single life form on this planet?
In order for it to survive and thrive, every organism must grow.
Includes: need for physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual development
It doesn't matter if you are talking directly about a micro-organism, a kitten, human beings, a relationship or a creative endeavor; anything that ceases to grow, stagnates and dies.
Our need of growth, depends on and feeds the first four human needs, which breathes life into all other areas of our existence.
This powerful need can be so rewarding that in some circumstances that we can't see the forest for the trees. It limits us from being fully present in other areas of life. Or it can postpone us applying our growth and knowledge in the real world for fear of not being ready or enough.
Growth is, of course, a journey. It is one you started the day you were born and one that will continue until the day you pass from this reality.
Continued growth allows us to be real. To be imperfect. These, combined with honest introspection and interpretation, allows us find authentic ways to share what we can discover ourselves and learn with others!
In here we find the core of living our life's purpose and delivering real value to the lives of others.
The need to give, rises as a natural occurrence of the positive realization of the other 5 needs.
Includes: need to give, care and protect beyond ourselves, to SERVE others for the good of everyone
The drive here is to have our lives mean something, not just to ourselves but to other people.
The truth is that, any individual or group can contribute to the betterment of other individuals and groups, without a requirement to believe in anything beyond the necessity of once you have enough, you give.
Once you recognize the interplay of the 6 needs, it makes more sense in understanding people, groups and societies. These needs all give rise to what's currently driving them in the behaviors they exhibit. It makes it much easier to identify our own deficits and addictions and points us in the direction of balancing those issues.
Being is an action though. It is movement in physical or mental space between two points. Regardless of what that objective is, all other needs are clamoring for attention of and projecting the bias of their own personality and perspective onto the consciousness in question.
When our needs and motivations come into conflict with our our own well being or others, is where problems can arise.
The underlying maps, that in fits and starts, got us to where we are now, are rapidly disintegrating. This has left a void in modes of being, thinking and consideration, allowing some pretty reprehensible ideas to take hold and flourish.