## Needs

Half-formed posts, inchoate philosophies, and the germs of deep thought.

### Needs

What are needs, what distinguishes them from wants?

Gloominary
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### Re: Needs

Needs are wants that you cannot live without.

Breathing, water, food, temperate climate, all these are Needs, not wants.

Hamburgers, a new car, jewelry, social praise, respect, these are all wants, not needs.
Urwrongx1000
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### Re: Needs

What if you need one member of a set, but no particular member of the set? So, people need either a hamburger or a bowl of gruel or a cup of soylent etc., but they don't need a hamburger and they don't need gruel and they don't need soylent. So are those things wants or needs?

Another question: are your needs only about your life? If you're willing to die to get medicine for your kids, does that make the medicine a need?
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Carleas
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### Re: Needs

Is a need something you can't survive without (positive need), or something you can't survive with (negative need)?
How much does the absence or presence of something have to threaten your survival, in order to constitute a need?

For example: I'll be able to survive if I wait a few hours before drinking another glass of water.
I'll probably be able to survive if I wait a few days before drinking another glass of water.
I probably won't be able to survive if I wait a few weeks before drinking another glass of water.
I definitely won't be able to survive if I wait a few months before drinking another glass of water.

So if I say I need to drink a glass of water in a few hours, am I exaggerating?
If I say I need to drink a glass of water in a few days, am I exaggerating?

Perhaps I could get away with drinking a glass of water every few days for a few weeks, but after doing that for a few months, I'd die.
How much does a behavior have to shorten, or lengthen your lifespan to constitute a need?

Where do we draw the line?

Gloominary
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### Re: Needs

@Carleas

What if you need one member of a set, but no particular member of the set? So, people need either a hamburger or a bowl of gruel or a cup of soylent etc., but they don't need a hamburger and they don't need gruel and they don't need soylent. So are those things wants or needs?

I would say you need to eat some nutritious food everyday, or a certain amount of nutritious food on average, but you don't have to eat from every major food group, so long as you're eating some combination of plants, animals, or their derivatives.
Right, we shouldn't be too specific when claiming you need this or that, if we want to be clear.
We all need to wear clothes when it's cold or when we're in public, but specific sorts of clothes, like an undershirt, t-shirt, dress shirt, or sweater, you don't need, just so long as you have a top.

Another question: are your needs only about your life? If you're willing to die to get medicine for your kids, does that make the medicine a need?

If you asked your doctor for some medicine for your dying kid, you wouldn't say: I would like to have some medicine for my dying kid please, you'd say: I need medicine for my dying kid now, so yea, our needs are about other peoples needs too, at least if we care enough about them.

Gloominary
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### Re: Needs

Urwrongx1000 wrote:Needs are wants that you cannot live without.

Breathing, water, food, temperate climate, all these are Needs, not wants.

Hamburgers, a new car, jewelry, social praise, respect, these are all wants, not needs.

Could we really live without any respect?
If no one respected you, or at least feared the law, at all, you couldn't expect to cross the street without being hit by a car.
If no one praised you for doing x or blamed you for doing y, you'd have little-no idea about what people expected from you, consequently you'd be emotionally and socially retarded.
Not to mention, you'd probably be anxious and depressed, to the point where you'd have trouble coping, and consider suicide, or at least to the point your negative emotions would start to adversely and substantially impact your health and longevity.
Babies can't survive without positive social interaction with their parents, and while some adults can survive without positive social interaction, normally their lifespan would be significantly shortened, so I think there's psychological needs too.
No man is an island, we can't live without others, or at the very least not easily.

Gloominary
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### Re: Needs

Gloominary wrote:How much does a behavior have to shorten, or lengthen your lifespan to constitute a need?

The want/need distinction is often rhetorical, and a lot of fairly compelling "needs" won't really be life threatening (in much of the US, people could survive naked, but I think we would agree that a minimal amount of clothing is a need).

Another paradigm case of what you're point out with "needing" a drink of water is when people say "I need to go to the bathroom" (where "go to the bathroom" is meant as a euphemism for urinate or defecate). It's almost never true that people will die or even suffer anything more than discomfort and embarrassment if they don't pee, but it would seem very weird to say "I want to pee".

Maybe both your question and mine hint at one distinction between wants and needs: wants seem specific, where needs are general. I need to drink water, not now, maybe not even today, but at some point I need water or I will die. I need to go to the bathroom, not now, maybe not for another few hours, but eventually that liquid or solid waste is coming out of me. I need to eat, maybe not any particular food, but if I don't eat something eventually, I will die.

By contrast, I want a glass of water and a hamburger now, and I want to wait to pee until after I've finished this post. Those specific ways of satisfying my needs seem all properly described as wants.

What do you think of that distinction?
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Carleas
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### Re: Needs

You can want a hamburger and want a soda. These are 'wants' but they are derivatives of need. You need water and hydration. You need food. Thus 'wants' are a form of sophistication, luxury, and abundance. Success breeds higher demands, raises the bar of 'wants'.

I do believe that Need revolves around survival first, basic instinct. As mentioned, there are times when some people place another's needs in front of their own, in the case of children. Some people, usually biological mothers, will sacrifice their own Need to placate the Need of an infant. Even in the recent school spree-shooting, there was a teacher who protected a student from a hail of gunfire, placing her/his Need before his own.

Therefore some people have higher Needs than others, representing differences of value. People may value another's life more than their own. In this way, Need is transferred between people. Your needs come before mine, or my needs come before yours. This is the basis of Morality, social cohesion, society, etc.
Urwrongx1000
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### Re: Needs

Needs, necessities to survival. Wants, not necessary to survival but makes life more enjoyable within it.
"I'm sorry, but the lifestyle you've ordered that you've grown accustomed to is completely out of stock. Have a nice day! "-$$Zero_Sum Evil Neo-Nazi Extraordinaire. Posts: 2876 Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:05 pm Location: U.S.S.A- Newly lead Bolshevik Soviet block. Also known as Weimar America. ### Re: Needs @Carleas The want/need distinction is often rhetorical, and a lot of fairly compelling "needs" won't really be life threatening (in much of the US, people could survive naked, but I think we would agree that a minimal amount of clothing is a need). I know what you mean, but maybe clothing is a need, even in the stricter, more objective sense of the word need (survival). even in warmer parts of the US, it gets cool-cold at night. If you walked around for a few hours at night in 5 or 10 degrees Celsius, you could get ill, if you did that frequently, you could get very ill. And if you're going to have clothes to wear at night, may as well wear them in the day too, if it makes you more comfortable. There are also sexual predators out there, and while everyone walking around naked all the time, might diminish the allure of the naked human form to some extent for many, it may not for some, and arguably people need to protect themselves from that risk. Clothing also shields the body from lots of other things besides cold, like radiation from the sun, which can harm the skin, especially fair people, they can get sun burnt, skin cancer, it also shields us from carnivorous insects, the wind and rain. I think clothing is a necessity, life would be a lot harder on the body without it, to the point where I would imagine life expectancy would significantly drop. However, luxury clothing, or a wardrobe with hundreds-thousands of outfits isn't, nor are accessories, cosmetics, jewelry... I think pretty well every kind of basic thing we consume is a need: food, clothing, shelter, medicine occasionally, sexual stimulation for some, altho some can go without any, sexual reproduction in a sense, positive social interaction on some level, a direct and indirect need, education, an indirect need, perhaps, even a little entertainment, it's how much of these things you're consuming that determines whether they're a need, or a luxury, or what subcategory of these things, like wholesome versus junk food. How much does life expectancy have to drop in order for something to become a necessity? If I don't drink water ever again, I could survive for days, even weeks, but not more than a month. I think we can all agree going from a life expectancy of 80 years, to less than a month, is a tremendous drop, and so drinking at least a little water is essential, but how much water can you drink, before it becomes unnecessary? If I drink 4 glasses a day, I imagine I'll live for a while, even a long while, even tho 8 is supposed to be optimal, where as if I only drank 2 a day, I imagine I won't live for very long. I'd say the more something increases your health and life expectancy, the more of a necessity it is, but where we draw the line exactly, is perhaps a little arbitrary. The difference in life expectancy between a man who drinks 6 or 7 glasses of water on average and 8 is probably not going to be much, and of course it also depends on the person. Due to being bigger, or more active, some require more water than others, but the difference between 1 and 8 a day is probably going to be drastic no matter what your body type or level activity, so I think it's fair to say a man needs to drink more than 1 glass of water a day on average for the rest of his life, but he probably doesn't need to drink 8 a day on average, he can still live a full life drinking 6 or 7, reaching or approaching the average health and life expectancy. Another paradigm case of what you're point out with "needing" a drink of water is when people say "I need to go to the bathroom" (where "go to the bathroom" is meant as a euphemism for urinate or defecate). It's almost never true that people will die or even suffer anything more than discomfort and embarrassment if they don't pee, but it would seem very weird to say "I want to pee". If you held your pee in every time you felt like peeing till you peed your pants, your kidneys would be in poor shape, eventually they could rupture, and you could die, so while peeing your pants one time might not be a big deal, at least physically, it is a necessity you don't do that very often. Maybe both your question and mine hint at one distinction between wants and needs: wants seem specific, where needs are general. I need to drink water, not now, maybe not even today, but at some point I need water or I will die. I need to go to the bathroom, not now, maybe not for another few hours, but eventually that liquid or solid waste is coming out of me. I need to eat, maybe not any particular food, but if I don't eat something eventually, I will die. It's a fine line, or a spectrum. Some needs are immediate, if I don't wait for the train to leave before crossing the tracks, I will die within seconds, but if I stroll around in a wilderness teeming with bears, cougars and wolves without bringing some form of protection, I could live for a while, but sooner or later something's bound to try and eat me, so arguably its a necessity I equip myself with some means of protection, if I'm going out there. If you didn't clean yourself ever, including your orifices, you'll be okay for a while, but eventually you'll be opening yourself up to all kinds of infections, compromising your bodies immune system, and, I would imagine, significantly reducing health and life expectancy. It's probably a need you clean your orifices, and as for the rest of your body, while you may not need to shower every day, if it weren't for the demends of social convention and habit, we probably have to bathe once in a while, like say once a month. I mean even wild animals occasionally bathe on some level. Last edited by Gloominary on Sun Feb 18, 2018 6:04 am, edited 1 time in total. Gloominary Philosopher Posts: 2000 Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2017 5:58 am Location: Canada ### Re: Needs Zero_Sum wrote:Needs, necessities to survival. Wants, not necessary to survival but makes life more enjoyable within it. That's putting it succinctly. Gloominary Philosopher Posts: 2000 Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2017 5:58 am Location: Canada ### Re: Needs @x1000 You can want a hamburger and want a soda. These are 'wants' but they are derivatives of need. You need water and hydration. You need food. Thus 'wants' are a form of sophistication, luxury, and abundance. Success breeds higher demands, raises the bar of 'wants'. Agreed. Where we draw the line between needs and wants can sometimes be contentious. I do believe that Need revolves around survival first, basic instinct. As mentioned, there are times when some people place another's needs in front of their own, in the case of children. Some people, usually biological mothers, will sacrifice their own Need to placate the Need of an infant. Even in the recent school spree-shooting, there was a teacher who protected a student from a hail of gunfire, placing her/his Need before his own. Therefore some people have higher Needs than others, representing differences of value. People may value another's life more than their own. In this way, Need is transferred between people. Your needs come before mine, or my needs come before yours. This is the basis of Morality, social cohesion, society, etc. Agreed. To the degree we have compassion, other peoples needs are practically our own. Gloominary Philosopher Posts: 2000 Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2017 5:58 am Location: Canada ### Re: Needs Gloominary wrote: Zero_Sum wrote:Needs, necessities to survival. Wants, not necessary to survival but makes life more enjoyable within it. That's putting it succinctly. Is there any other way? "I'm sorry, but the lifestyle you've ordered that you've grown accustomed to is completely out of stock. Have a nice day! "-$$$Zero_Sum Evil Neo-Nazi Extraordinaire. Posts: 2876 Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:05 pm Location: U.S.S.A- Newly lead Bolshevik Soviet block. Also known as Weimar America. ### Re: Needs Zero_Sum wrote: Gloominary wrote: Zero_Sum wrote:Needs, necessities to survival. Wants, not necessary to survival but makes life more enjoyable within it. That's putting it succinctly. Is there any other way? I want to be as exact as I can in defining where the word needs ought to end and where the word wants ought to begin, and for that, I'm going to need a lot of thinking and words. Need is a very important concept for me. Gloominary Philosopher Posts: 2000 Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2017 5:58 am Location: Canada ### Re: Needs Gloominary wrote:I want to be as exact as I can in defining where the word needs ought to end and where the word wants ought to begin, and for that, I'm going to need a lot of thinking and words. Need is a very important concept for me. I am not sure how specific you want to go with that line of thought. "I'm sorry, but the lifestyle you've ordered that you've grown accustomed to is completely out of stock. Have a nice day! "-$$Zero_Sum Evil Neo-Nazi Extraordinaire. Posts: 2876 Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:05 pm Location: U.S.S.A- Newly lead Bolshevik Soviet block. Also known as Weimar America. ### Re: Needs Zero_Sum wrote: Gloominary wrote:I want to be as exact as I can in defining where the word needs ought to end and where the word wants ought to begin, and for that, I'm going to need a lot of thinking and words. Need is a very important concept for me. I am not sure how specific you want to go with that line of thought. About as specific as I can possibly be. Gloominary Philosopher Posts: 2000 Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2017 5:58 am Location: Canada ### Re: Needs Gloominary wrote: Zero_Sum wrote: Gloominary wrote:I want to be as exact as I can in defining where the word needs ought to end and where the word wants ought to begin, and for that, I'm going to need a lot of thinking and words. Need is a very important concept for me. I am not sure how specific you want to go with that line of thought. About as specific as I can possibly be. To what particular end? "I'm sorry, but the lifestyle you've ordered that you've grown accustomed to is completely out of stock. Have a nice day! "-$$$

Zero_Sum
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### Re: Needs

Urwrongx1000 wrote:Needs are wants that you cannot live without.

Breathing, water, food, temperate climate, all these are Needs, not wants.

Hamburgers, a new car, jewelry, social praise, respect, these are all wants, not needs.

While that is true, I always like to say do you really need anything at all? Need to live? We absolutely do not need to live. We do need to die, as is the inevitability of being alive under these laws of physics.

I would make a case that needs are just highly desired wants, as in there is no need to live, and as such, these so called needs are only to satisfy the "want" or desire to live. Which means, even needs are means to the end of wants. We need nothing. We want, whatever we want and needs are just categorically used in a manner that makes it seem more important to fill desire, or "want".

WW_III_ANGRY
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### Re: Needs

Pending

Gloominary
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