Fulfilling our needs
by: Gordon Barthel
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I need a society that understands the importance of our essential needs to our well-being, a society that will help us understand our physical, psychological, intellectual and spiritual needs, a society that will give us insight into our nutritional needs, our need for security and belonging, our need for learning and teaching, our need for meaning, purpose and satisfaction, and then give us the knowledge we need to satisfy those needs.
I need a society that understands we cannot satisfy our ‘higher’ needs at the expense of our ‘lower’ needs, a society that recognizes we cannot truly satisfy our psychological needs when we are hungry and sleepless, a society that acknowledges we cannot honestly fulfill our intellectual needs when we are alone, alienated and scared, a society that realizes we cannot really fulfill our spiritual needs without satisfying our need for greater erudition.
I need a culture that understands my physical needs, a culture that clearly comprehends I cannot properly develop my psychological potential without satisfying my fundamental physical needs first, the need for food and water, a culture that understands I cannot truly develop my intellectual potential if I am perpetually exhausted or sick, and I cannot fully develop my spirituality if I am constantly scared or gasping for air, culture that acknowledges I cannot develop my ‘higher’ needs until I satisfy my ‘lower’ needs.
I need a culture that can help me learn about my need for breathe, hydration, nourishment and slumber, the need for clean air, potable water, nutritious sustenance and adequate sleep, a culture that extols the value of healthy lifestyles and illuminates the consequences of neglecting my physical health and well-being, a culture that recognizes the importance of exercise and mobility, a culture that acknowledges the benefits of sex and the benefits of preventive medicine.
I need a civilization that appreciates my psychological needs, a civilization that recognizes I cannot fully develop my intellectual and spiritual potential until I minister to my psychological needs, a civilization that understands I require a healthy measure of esteem, a healthy, realistic appreciation of my worthiness and my competency, a civilization that recognizes I cannot truly fulfill my ‘higher’ needs if I view myself as stupid and useless, a civilization that can help me master the voices rumbling through my head, help me distinguish which are helpful and which are unhelpful, which are supportive and which are destructive.
I need a civilization that recognizes I need to love and be loved, a civilization that understands I need healthy, respectful relationships with family, friends, neighbours and coworkers, a civilization that can help me cultivate strong, enduring relationships and avoid toxic relations, a civilization that will help me understand the characteristics of healthy and unhealthy relationships and provide tips, tricks and techniques for cultivating loving relationships and avoiding destructive relations.
I need a civilization that appreciates the importance of my psychological needs, a civilization that understands I cannot develop my intellectual and spiritual needs to their fullest potential without life, liberty and love, I cannot truly develop my ‘higher’ needs if I lack confidence and a sense of self-worth, if I am drowning in unrelenting fear and stress, if I am without love.
I need a world that understands my intellectual needs, a world that understands I have a big beautiful brain, a big beautiful brain that does not come preprogrammed with the necessary knowledge and wisdom I need to develop my intellectual and spiritual potential, so I need a world that knows about learning and memory, ingenuity, reason, perception, conceptualizing, analysis and problem-solving.
I need a world that understands I did not come into this world with a comprehensive user’s manual, a world that recognizes I came into this world with no knowledge, no beliefs, just an instinctive desire to learn everything and anything I might need to survive and flourish in this life, a world that recognizes I need to learn about the arts and sciences, politics and commerce, religion and justice, education and communication.
I need a world that will help me identify my intellectual faculties, my aptitudes and my ineptitudes, for we all have our cognitive limitations, a world that will teach me the art and science of learning, a world that will teach me how to think critically and creatively, a world that will help me think constructively rather than destructively, a world that will help me develop my innate intelligence to its fullest potential.
I need a people who understand my spiritual needs, beginning with the need for self knowledge for I cannot become the best human that is within my constitution to become if I do not know who I am or what I am so I need a people who understand the path and the perils to knowing myself, a people who can help me identify my talents and traits and provide me with tips for developing my desirable attributes and tricks for managing my undesirable endowments.
I need a people whose vision of human spirituality is serving a higher purpose, a noble cause or the greater good if you wish, a people who encourage one another to find their own noble cause whether it is feeding hungry mouths or feeding inquisitive minds, a people who understand our greatest personal satisfaction generally comes not from helping ourselves but helping others, a people who recognize once we have satisfied our own physical, psychological and intellectual needs, we need to help others fulfill their physical, psychological and intellectual needs.
I also need a people whose vision of spiritual virtues covers the traditional triad - love, forgiveness and compassion - but also includes empathy for I cannot truly love, forgive and be compassionate if I cannot empathize with another human; a people whose vision of spiritual virtues also includes gratitude, hope, humour, kindness and the art of conversation.
I need a people who understand the value of appreciating life’s small pleasures such as fresh air and fresh fragrances; a people who recognize the importance of hope especially when the skies themselves are tearing our lives apart for the skies will eventually clear and then we can begin rebuilding our lives; a people who appreciate the value of humour especially considering laughter is good for the body, the mind and probably the human spirit too; a people who appreciate the value of conversation for a good conversation is more than just sharing our thoughts and feelings, it is connecting with one another psychologically, intellectually and possibly even spiritually.
I need a community that understands not just my basic needs, but also appreciates the difference between my needs and my desires, a community that recognizes needs are necessary to survive, to grow and to flourish, a community that recognizes my physical needs are necessary to survive, my psychological needs are necessary to grow, my intellectual needs are necessary to thrive and my spiritual needs are necessary for personal fulfilment,
I need a community that understands I can live without my desires for my desire for chocolate will not help me thrive and flourish, I can live without satisfying my desire for kinky sex, I can even thrive with a college education rather than an Oxford degree, I can even flourish with a lower paying job, even a crappy job, if I have plenty of good relationships and tons of satisfying conversations.
I need a community that understands I cannot survive, I cannot grow and I cannot flourish until I satisfy my basic needs, but I can survive and I can grow and I can flourish without my desires, a community that recognizes sometimes my desires will not help me become a better human being, a community that recognizes immersing myself in work at the expense of good friendships will not make me a better human being, and may even make me a worse human being.
I need a community that will remind me that satisfying my needs may be challenging but it will leave me feeling satisfied in the long run whereas fulfilling my desires will make me happy until the novelty fades, a community that reminds me fulfilling my needs will provide me a a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment whereas fulfilling my desires will provide me with greater highs followed by crushing lows, a community that reminds me pursuing my desires will ultimately leave me dissatisfying and unhappy whereas pursuing my physical, psychological, intellectual and spiritual needs will leave me feeling happy and content, not intensely happy but serenely happy, not momentarily content but deeply content,
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