When we look at people in societies around the world it appears that they often have a very complex and diverse set of needs that have to be met in order for them to live their lives in a satisfactory way. Indeed it would appear that all these people are so very different from one another with regard to their needs and desires, even though they’re all humans. But since we’re all human beings and biologically identical to a certain degree, it’s reasonable to expect that we have a lot of needs in common. These would be our natural needs as human beings which are essential for our survival. These needs are universal for the human species and are separate from other “needs” which are learned from our environment — “needs” that are determined by our cultural background and the society that we grow up in.
In order to better understand ourselves and the reality that we live in, it’s important to make a distinction between these two types of needs that we have:
- Natural needs. These are the basic needs that are universal for the human species and are completely natural. And when I say that they are completely natural, I mean that we get born with them. These aren’t needs that we’ve created ourselves, but rather they’re part of our natural instincts — the fundamental programming (or firmware in computer terms) that drives our bodies. For example, hunger is one of our natural needs. It’s not something we pick up from our environment; it comes from within. Our natural sexual needs are another example.
- Learned needs. These are the “needs” that we learn to have from our environment. They’re artificial; they’re more desires instead of real needs. They are programmed into us by society often starting from a very early age. These “needs” can range from being very innocent to very destructive and manipulative. For example, depending on where you are born on this planet, you may believe that in order for you to feel satisfied and successful in life you need to own an expensive car. Or you may strongly believe that you need to get married and tie yourself to a single person from the opposite sex for the rest of your life in order to feel as though you’re leading a happy life. And this is because that’s what you were taught to believe growing up by the society you live in. If you were born in a different society and grew up with a different cultural background, you wouldn’t have these needs.
Another example are all those commercials in the media that essentially manipulate people into desiring things they may not even need, in order to drive the consumerism that exists especially in western societies. Marketers have proven to us without a shadow of a doubt that “needs” can be programmed into people’s minds, very often without them even realizing it. 1
Obviously the needs that are really important in our daily lives are our natural needs. All human beings have these basic needs and they’re essential for our survival. We can’t avoid or ignore them and trying to do so will prove to be destructive. In contrast, the learned needs don’t matter in the final analysis since they’re artificial. They can be identified and be deprogrammed from our minds when we’re willing and have learned the skills to do so. This can require a considerable amount of effort especially from people living in our current time period who have largely been conditioned to be passive thinkers. But in the future, when children are brought up while being taught the skills of independent, critical, rational (logical) and consistent thinking, people will be better prepared to be able to deprogram themselves from beliefs and desires that prove to be bad for them and for society in any way. 2
But if our natural needs are most important, then what exactly are they? In order for us to more easily understand our basic needs as human beings, we can look at the elementary building block that makes up our bodies: the cell. A single cell is a lot less complex than our body as a whole, and much easier to study and understand. If we can identify the needs of a single cell, we can identify the basic needs of a single human being as well. This is especially true because we live in a fractal universe that is characterized by self-similarity at every scale. The human body is also a fractal, existing within the larger fractal universe. By understanding the smallest building block of this fractal, we can get a good understanding of the larger structure as well because they are self-similar. The cell is really a smaller scale representation of the entire human body, as the brilliant stem cell biologist Dr. Bruce Lipton has pointed out in his research. 3 Remember that the entire human body develops itself from a single cell (zygote) during pregnancy.
So what does a cell want? Encoded in a small part of the DNA of every cell is the core software program of life where the basic functionality is stored that ensures the survival of the cell and the continuation of life. This is the firmware that precedes every other additional programming that may get layered on top of it depending on the specialization of the cell or the multicellular organism that it’s a part of. The functionality programmed into this firmware gives the cell the following core set of needs:
- It wants to live. This is probably the easiest observation we can make. The cell wants to stay alive for as long as possible and it wants to ensure that life will continue to exist in the future. This is its primary objective and everything else derives from this.
- It needs nutrition. Nutrition is essential to keep the cell healthy and alive and to enable growth and procreation.
- It wants to procreate. Hardcoded in the fundamental programming of life itself is the need to procreate. This is what guarantees that the primary objective will continue to be met in the future.
- It wants a safe and habitable environment. In order for the cell to stay alive it’s important for it to live in an environment that supports life and isn’t hostile.
- It wants to learn and evolve. In order to guarantee that life can continue to exist in the future, learning is essential to be able to adapt to changes in circumstances and in the environment. The cell can either learn and evolve together with it’s environment, or be left behind and risk becoming extinct.
- It wants to communicate. The cell can learn and evolve by itself, but learning and evolution can happen at an exponential rate if cells can also connect and learn from each other. Moreover, being able to communicate at a molecular level also enables cells to become social and help each other, which further ensures the primary objective. An example of this are social amoeba.
Again, since the human body is made up of trillions of individual cells, the primary objective for humans is exactly the same as a single cell. The fundamental software program of life that is encoded in a small part of the DNA of each individual cell is the basic firmware that powers the entire human body. This is what Dr. Freud referred to as the primary motivating forces of human life, often also referred to as our natural instincts. This programming already exists in us even before we get born. After we get born we get to overlay this core programming with our own mental programs which ultimately reside at a much, much higher level in the hierarchy.
So if we extrapolate the basic needs of the cell to a human being, then here’s what our basic needs are:
- Survival. We want to live. That’s our primary objective and everything else derives from this. 4
- Food. We need food in order to grow, remain strong, healthy and stay alive.
- Sexual satisfaction. We’re more complex and advanced than a single cell in terms of our mental capabilities and we can make complex decisions regarding procreation. However, we can’t turn off the strong sexual drives without serious consequences. So even if we don’t do it for procreation, the sexual drives still need to get satisfied as frequent as we feel the urge, just like hunger. And that’s essentially every day. Dr. Freud’s research is very clear about the dire consequences we can expect for the individual and a society of individuals if we ignore the sexual drives.
- Shelter. We need a healthy living environment that helps to ensure our wellbeing and ultimately our survival.
- Intellectual growth and self-actualization. Professor Michio Kaku often mentions that we’re all born scientists. From the moment we’re born we’re filled with curiosity and we want to explore the world and learn (until it gets crushed out of us by society, as Kaku also points out). 5 Even as adults we remain curious and continue to seek new experiences all the time. We dream up and then want to achieve things. And we continue to build upon the works of each generation and as a result continue to evolve. This has resulted in us becoming better at ensuring our survival.
- Communication and social interactions. Humans are social creatures; it’s hardcoded into the fundamental programming that drives us. Even the most introverted people have a need to interact with others. We benefit in many ways from social interaction. We learn from each other by sharing experiences and we can also help and support each other when needed and reach bigger accomplishments. Throughout the ages we’ve gotten better at being able to communicate with each other and now with the Global Brain soon connecting every human being on the entire planet, we see exponential improvements that will be immensely beneficial to us.
Now having explained all of the above, here’s what’s important about all of this: Humanity in general needs to work towards a global system where all of these fundamental needs can be met for each and every individual from the moment that they are born right up until the moment they die. This should be guaranteed to everyone and should be something that every individual can expect and should never have to worry about. Just like we expect the sun to come up every day and don’t worry about it, so too should we not have to worry about satisfying our basic needs every day. Otherwise we remain in a survival mindset and are prevented from reaching our full potential. 6
It’s like I mentioned before in another post:
When it comes down to it, all we really need on this planet as human beings is food on the table every day and a roof over our heads. That’s basically all we really need to get us through our lives. After all these years, you would think that by now we’d all have figured this out already and have structured our societies in such a way where every human being on this planet could at the very least have access to those two things for his entire lifetime. But instead what we have is a constant struggle of people trying to have more than the other in order to stay on top in this system. Like crabs in a barrel. Everyone fighting for more and more, even if they have more than enough already, at the expense of others. As a result, we end up with a situation where the richest 1% of adults own 40% of global assets, where the richest 10% of adults own 85% of global assets, and where the bottom half of the adults own 1% of global wealth. Think about that for a moment. Then we go on asking ourselves why we’re dealing with so much crime. Nobody is born a criminal. Nobody really wants to be a criminal. Crime is just a symptom of our flawed society. When we create situations where a small group of people are hoarding all the resources on this planet, while a large group of people are struggling to survive every day (and in extreme cases are just outright being denied their basic rights), we shouldn’t act surprised when people start behaving in extreme ways in order to survive.
We need to start acknowledging that everyone else has these same basic needs as we do, and we have to respect those needs. Not doing so will create many issues in society and slowly make life more difficult for everyone with each passing day, ultimately leading to our destruction.
In his book “The Holographic Universe: The Revolutionary Theory of Reality” Michael Talbot makes the following remark about quantum physicist David Bohm:
We believe we can deal with various problems in our society, such as crime, poverty, and drug addiction, without addressing the problems in our society as a whole, and so on. In his writings Bohm argues passionately that our current way of fragmenting the world into parts not only doesn’t work, but may even lead to our extinction.
Fortunately it does appear like we’ve finally reached a stage in our development where we are beginning to address this issue. Like the famous astrophysicist Carl Sagan said:
A new consciousness is developing which sees the earth as a single organism and recognizes that an organism at war with itself is doomed.
Stem cell biologist Dr. Bruce Lipton made very similar remarks in his books and presentations. Lipton compared the human body to a society of individual cells living together in harmony. 3 Imagine what would happen with your body if these cells would start fighting each other. We call that disease. Similarly, at a higher level (remember, fractal self-similarity) humanity in general can also be viewed as a single organism, which consists of individual human beings. We are the cells in this larger organism called humankind. If we don’t look after one another and live in cooperation, and instead fight each other, then in the words of Carl Sagan, we’re doomed.
There are many who are working on this today and who are proposing solutions. One of the best solutions I’ve seen so far is by social engineer and futurist Jacque Fresco — who I believe is the social Nikola Tesla of our time – as detailed in his books titled “The Best that Money Can’t Buy” and “Designing the Future”. Fresco’s approach to a new world system takes into account the fact that we have to look at our world as a whole if we want to arrive at solutions that can safely take us far into the future. All the world’s resources have to be declared the common heritage of all people. We’re all in this together, we all have the same basic needs and we should not deny anyone else their basic needs which are essential for their survival. Indeed when we manage to create a world where the basic needs are unconditionally guaranteed for every single individual, then people will stop living in fear and be free to pursue higher goals and reach greater achievements in life and be “free to experience the fullness of human relationships, denied to so many for so long” as Fresco mentions in his book. He further explains:
In a hundred years, historians may look back on our present civilization as a transition period from the dark ages of ignorance, superstition, and social insufficiency just as we view the world of a few hundred years ago. If we arrive at a saner world in which the maximum human potential is cultivated in every person, our descendants will not understand why our world produced only one Louis Pasteur, one Edison, one Tesla, or one Salk, and why great achievements in our age were the products of a relative few.
In looking forward to this new millennium, and back at the dimmest memories of human civilization, we see that the thoughts, dreams, and visions of humanity are limited by a perception of scarcity. We are products of a culture of deficiency which expects each confrontation and most activities to end with a winner and a loser. Funding restricts even technological development, which has the best potential to liberate humanity from its past insufficiencies.
We can no longer afford the luxury of such primitive thinking. There are other ways of looking at our lives and the world. Either we learn to live together in full cooperation or we will cause our own extinction. To fully understand and appreciate this coming age, we must understand the relationship between creation and creator: the machine and, as of this writing, that most marvelous of mechanisms – the human being.
I hope that in this article I’ve been able to show what exactly the fundamental needs are that drive each human being so that we can better understand ourselves in terms of our primary motivations in life, and ultimately humanity as a whole. Like J. K. Rowling wrote, “understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.” And when there’s recovery and the tin men of the world finally receive a heart, we can start to live in a world motivated by love instead of fear; a world where humans are free to pursue their highest potentials, instead of struggling for survival.