Due to the diversity of theories that have tried to explain the issue of human needs , the concept of basic needs arises to try to encompass in a common what human beings require for their survival.

In this article, we will explain what basic needs consist of, we will mention their most representative examples and how to satisfy them. 

What are basic needs?

The basic needs, primary or fundamental human needs, have tried to be explained from different contexts according to the perspective that has been wanted to focus. 

For Abraham Maslow , in his pyramid of the “Theory of Needs” he exposes several types of needs, where the basic needs comprise a set of 5 levels where the physiological need, security, affiliation , recognition and self-realization.

On the other hand, for Max Neef  and collaborators, the needs have a double classification : first, the needs called ontological needs and the second category called axiological needs. 

To highlight: The line that both authors use to characterize basic needs is that they refer to the minimum essential elements that human beings need for their survival and that the well-being and integral development of the individual depend on their adequate satisfaction.

As a purpose for this article, we will focus on the proposal of Neef and collaborators described in their “Theory of Development on a Human Scale” and the importance of human needs within the context of general well-being .  

What are the basic needs?

Below we will briefly explain Neef’s proposal, regarding the classification of basic or fundamental needs from its humanistic and economic perspective:

1. Subsistence 

Within the basic needs of the human being, at this point the minimum conditions necessary for the human being to live are addressed. 

This includes physical and mental health, balance, solidarity, humor, which can be satisfied through different satisfiers such as food, shelter or work, seeking survival within the social environment where it operates.

You should know: Satisfiers refer to everything that, by representing ways of being, having, doing and being, contributes to the realization of human needs. (5)

2. Security 

This need, according to Neef , refers to the necessary elements that the individual must have in the aspects of care, adaptability, autonomy, balance and solidarity, to face threats from animals or other humans.

Note: These needs can be satisfied in Neef’s opinion, for example, with  protection through insurance systems, savings, social security , health systems, legislation, rights, family and work.

3. Affection 

People are essentially entities that need affection due to their emotional characteristics . At this point, the needs for self-esteem, solidarity, respect, tolerance, generosity, receptivity and humor are included.

To highlight: These needs can be covered through the cultivation of friendships , couple relationships, family integration, pet care, planting gardens, among many others.

4. Education

Education is part of the needs that human beings have, for their development and personal growth. 

This classification includes access to literature, contact with teachers, learning methods , implementation of educational policies and communication policies aimed at the largest possible mass of the population.

You should know: For Neef, a satisfier can contribute to the satisfaction of several needs and a need can require several satisfiers to be satisfied.

5. Recreation

Leisure as a recreational activity is necessary to release tension and stress. Curiosity, imagination, carefreeness, humor and tranquility are needs that occupy the human being throughout his life.

Note: These can be satisfied in activities such as the practice of recreational games , attendance at shows, parties or the practice of activities that induce relaxation and well-being.

6. Identity

Personal identity is the set of characteristic features of an individual , such as their attitudes and abilities that distinguish and differentiate them from the rest.  

In this context, relevance, coherence, individualities, self-esteem and assertiveness are elements that must be covered with satisfiers such as the use of language, habits, customary practices, participation in social groups, respect for sexuality, values and standards among many others.

7. Participation

Just as man is an emotional entity, he also likes to participate and in this context, adaptability, receptivity, solidarity, disposition, respect and humor are deficiencies that must be fed , for example, through recognition by others. individual and collective rights, the assignment of responsibilities and obligations, as well as respect.

You should know: For the “Theory of development on a human scale” , human needs change at the rate of the evolution of the species , they have a unique trajectory and are universal. 

8. Freedom

Freedom is one of the most appreciated elements by humanity , in this sense aspects such as autonomy, self-esteem, passion, assertiveness must be constantly satisfied through the equality of individual and collective rights.

9. Creation

This point is related to the impulse and passion that people have for some activities, their will to carry them out, their intuition, creativity and the audacity to do things. All these are some elements that arise from this need.

These elements can be nurtured through the development of abilities and skills, the creation and application of methods and procedures, or through work.

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