All human beings have needs and they are pretty much the same for everyone. The truth is that the vast majority of the world’s population, rich and poor, is not getting their needs met.
The poor are most often the focus of “Fair Share” conversations in permaculture circles and beyond. It is certainly true that physical well-being needs are less often met in poorer communities. But often other needs, like the need for connection or the need for autonomy, are more commonly met among the poor and working poor. For example, I may have been “neglected” as a child, but because of this I had a lot of autonomy. Also large families may put a burden on physical stuff like food and toys, but the need for connection is often easily satisfied.
The contemporary conversations revolving around the 1% who run the world has stirred-up anger and resentment. This is a good thing. Anger is a season and we must cycle through it and head into contemplation, then grief and ultimately joyful freedom. However, we must also remember that the wealthy are more likely to experience a sense of alienation and isolation that they are imprinted with from before birth.
The truth is we all have needs, some that have been met and some that have not.
I just found this list on the interwebs. It’s based in Non-Violent Communication:
to know and be known
to see and be seen
to understand and
warmth PHYSICAL WELL-BEING
celebration of life
The point of posting this list is that each individual and community is responsible for identifying their own needs, meeting their own needs in a way that does not interfere with others meeting their needs and requesting specific help when we can’t meet our own needs. This is how we truly care for ourselves first… so that we can care for others.
Here in the West we are not used to this vocabulary of needs. We often say things like, “I need you to move over” or “I need you to listen to me.” These are more like demands than needs. In truth we need space, or to be heard. This is much easier to hear and respond to than the demand-need articulated first.
Take this as an invitation to start learning the language of needs…