Connection: The Third Fundamental Human Need
What is an absolute human need?
As modern human beings, we have convinced ourselves there are things we must have to survive; WiFi. Dear God, how could we live without a good internet connection? Am I right?
How about coffee? There are many people who say they can’t live without their daily caffeine intake.
There are many things that people say they can’t live without but there aren’t actually that many absolute fundamental needs without which we will die. In fact, there are only three.
Before I go into details of those three fundamental needs, I must clarify that there is one absolute need, and only one. And that is Air. Oxygen. The ability to breathe in the air in earth’s atmosphere. The one absolute human need is air. Without it we die and very quickly.
Google searches indicate a loose 3 minute rule where we start to lose consciousness if we hold our breath. Yes, people can be trained to go without oxygen for longer and some deep sea divers and even actors like Kate Winslet and Tom Cruise have trained to hold their breath for 7, 10 even up to twenty minutes. But I’m not here to talk about the outliers, I’m talking in general terms.
And when you think about it, twenty minutes isn’t actually very long and then if you don’t get oxygen into your lungs, into your bloodstream and brain, you die. Anyone would.
That’s the absolute must of human need, the pinnacle of the pyramid, oxygen.
Just below that sit what I call the fundamental human needs.
Again, without these, human beings will die. Just not as quickly as without air.
You may have guessed at two of these, but there are three and the lack of each one is death.
The three fundamental needs of human beings are:
And yes, each one is vital. As vital as the others. Although you may never have thought of connection in that way, I will prove it’s fundamental nature to you and how the lack of it kills.
But lets start with the two you probably had already thought of as fundamental needs to your continued existence: water and food.
Hydration is important, we all know this and from we’re little, we are told to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day for optimum health.
But, in the modern world, water is not seen as a fundamental human need and access to clean, drinkable water is not a universal human right.
Take the case in Flint, Michigan, USA. The municipal tap water was debased by a decision to switch supply from Detrait city water to water from the corrosive Flint river. People in Flint couldn’t drink, bathe, or wash dishes in their tap water and yet paid $200/month in water bills.
Less than 2 hours away, the giant Swiss conglomerate Nestle was pumping 210 million gallons into plastic bottles and paying $200 a year for all that beautiful clean water. And they wanted more and more water without paying more for it.
‘In most developed countries, accessing clean water is as simple as turning on a tap. People in these places pour gallons of it down the drain every day without a thought, as they brush their teeth, shower and flush the toilet. But around 1.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water around the world, and a total of 2.7 billion find water difficult to access for at least one month of the year.’ Source BBC.
Clean drinkable water is necessary to sustain life. There is joy to be found in drinking a glass of cool, clean water on a hot day. Despite its simplicity, it is life affirming.
And maybe I only find simplicity in the availability of clean water because I grew up in Northern Ireland, where there is copious rain water as well as freely available, clean tap water in every home.
How long can a body survive without water? Not long. But there is no definitive answer because everyone’s body is different but scientists agree that 3-5 days without water starts inflicting damage to the point of almost irreversible harm.
And yet, there is a story of an 18 yrs old man left locked in a police cell in Austria for 18 days without food or water because the officers on duty forgot about him. He survived somehow.
Most would not.
And nowadays, so many people drink anything and everything but water. Fruity, sugary drinks, carbonated soda drinks, caffeinated, energy drinks. Water, uergh! That’s what my niece and nephew say when I offer them some of this essential life resource.
Instead they want to drink stuff that mimics the power of water to hydrate and regulate the body but actually does harm instead. Many people today are surviving on a fake water substitute, full of additives, preservatives, flavouring, colouring, etc. Chemicals that have been added to make this drink taste ‘better.’
And so human beings are staying artificially hydrated. We’re not experiencing the ravages of water deprivation but neither are we experiencing the benefits of full, healthy hydration. We’re in an unhealthy holding pattern.
How long can a body survive with this influx of artificial hydration agents? That’s an experiment I would say we’re currently in the middle of, but certainly living your best life is impossible if you are hydrating from manufactured products rather than naturally occurring life giving water.
Keeping your body artificially hydrated with these drinks will affect your physical, mental and emotional health, sooner or later.
Maybe you can see that even with something as seemingly straightforward as water, modern life has found a way to subvert our natural needs and twist them into a need for something that has a profit margin attached.
Could the same be said for food?
How often have you said something like ‘OMG, I’m starving, I’m going to die if I don’t get something to eat right now?’
I would say most of us have said something like that at some stage. But we don’t. Die, that is, because we can go without food for longer than we think. But yes, food or should I say nutrition, is a fundamental human need without which we will eventually die.
When I think about food as a fundamental human need, I don’t only think about the act of eating but the ritual of preparing and sharing meals. All that we put into food preparation, from self growing herbs and vegetables to the choosing of ingredients, the joy of following recipes and adding our unique twists, the choice of who we share the meal with, every part is nourishing to our humanity.
The food we eat, how we eat and with whom are a huge part of sustaining life. And just as with water; that is under threat from multinational corporations who sell us food-like products that contain next to none of the nutrients and minerals our bodies need for survival. Optimum health does not come from a box of freeze dried ‘cupboard staples.’
Again, we survive on a facsimile, a cardboard cut out, a chemical substitute for the real thing which means we don’t die but we’re barely alive.
Without food or calorie intake, the human body will survive around 60-70 days. Luckily, most of us can get to the grocery store before that kind of time goes past. Unfortunately, we are living in an increasingly perilous hostile world where poverty means access to food is restricted and people starve to death whilst on benefit sanctions in wealthy countries like the United Kingdom.
And the cheapest food available is usually the most artificial. So the people who need good nutrition the most are getting the least because they can’t afford to buy better.
Again, how long can we survive on this artificial diet of junk, ‘food-like’ products?
Well, as I said earlier, we are in the middle of this experiment and we’re seeing devastating consequences in many wealthy nations with a poor subclass of people. Research conducted in the USA, UK and Ireland would be my particular area of knowledge and we know that obesity levels, diabetes, stroke, heart, cancer levels are all through the roof since this experiment in ‘convenience foods’ started. Of course, the manufacturers would say that this is coincidental to the rise in factory produced ‘food-like’ products.
People are dying but they just don’t know it. And to avoid the knowledge, they just eat something more, drink another drink and go to the doctor for something to help them ignore their symptoms.
Aow! I just got harsh in that last paragraph, didn’t I?
Okay, let’s take a break because that’s a lot today and I want to start fresh with the remaining fundamental human need.
To recap :
There is one absolute human need without which we die pretty much immediately. That is AIR.
Next are the three fundamental human needs without which we also die: Water, Food, Connection.
These needs can be filled by artificial substitutes but the impact on our body and mind is felt even so. Without food, water and connection we die within days. With artificial replacements are food, water and connection we survive but we are not living an optimal, healthy life.
I will continue tomorrow with Connection. Thanks for reading. If you are enjoying this new way of sharing information with you, let me know.