L´earning to Love
Gloria Ornelas Hall
Lesson 5: Need
Desires elevate us. Needs keep us humble. Desires come from the imagination. Needs come from want. Desires are for pleasure. Needs are to avoid pain.
Manfred Max-Neef has identified 9 fundamental human needs . These include: subsistence (physical and mental health); protection (care, adaptability); affection (respect, humor, generosity and sensuality); understanding (critical thought, curiosity and intuition); participation (receptiveness, dedication); leisure (tranquility, spontaneity); creation (imagination, boldness, inventiveness); identity (sense of belonging, self-esteem, consistency); freedom (autonomy, passion, open-mindedness).
Whatever the description of needs, whether it be this school of Human Scale Development, or the hierarchical description of needs postulated by Maslow, we need each other. However, modern society makes recognizing and accepting it, a personal weakness. It takes courage to admit a personal lack, humility to ask for it, and graciousness to receive it.
Much of the Human Right´s movement fights for equity in the satisfaction of these needs, for all. Constitutions hold us responsible for guaranteeing that others’ rights are not violated. Needing and satisfying each other’s needs is what keeps societies together.
Tonight as I phoned my Mother, goodnight, she asked if a close friend who has been courting me, had called. He had in fact, been a little distant, which had thrown me off, to which I had protectively hardened.
“Oh, no, but better so. One can´t let oneself become dependent of others”, I answered, defensively.
“You have to let yourselves need each other. It´s good for you, both”, she said.
It suddenly struck me how independent I have grown, self-sustaining, hardening all recognition of personal weakness, want and need. This was my lesson today.