9 Philosophical Distinctions Part 4- Physical Needs vs Psychological Needs

Posted On: March 17, 2021

Needs are essential to human functioning. The concept of human needs stems from our human nature that is the combination of the physical body and the incorporeal soul.

In order to sustain ourselves physically, we need such things as food, clean water, shelter, sleep, physical movement, and so on. These needs are understood as incontrovertible by everyone. If you are not getting them met, you will die.

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Surviving by meeting physical needs is uncontroversial in the human world for obvious reasons. However, meeting psychological, or mental, needs is not so readily embraced at large in our materialist culture, and expressing such needs is generally perceived as “needy.”

When talking about human needs, the first thing to pop in the mind is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. This theory by Maslow says that human beings are motivated by five basic types of needs: physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization. Needs placed higher in the hierarchy emerge when one feels that he has sufficiently satisfied the previous need.

The Difference Between Physical Needs and Psychological Needs

Till now humanity has not understood the actual human needs. Human needs can basically be divided into 2 categories: the needs of the body (these are temporary, satiable, & quantifiable) and the needs of the soul (these are permanent and qualitative). Physical needs are for the body whereas psychological needs are for the soul.

Physical needs are temporary, whereas the needs of consciousness or soul are continuous. Food is a Physical need, once the stomach is full, we can’t eat it anymore. So the physical needs (bodily needs) are temporary and limited.

Respect, love, or being happy is the psychological need and human nature expects it all the time. So the needs of the soul are continuous and infinite.

happy woman
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Physical needs are quantitative, whereas psychological needs are qualitative. Proper utilization of stuff that satiates the physical needs is extremely important, whereas the right understanding of the needs of consciousness is essential. There is no hierarchy or order in which anybody can try and rate the needs and wants.

Human needs and wants at each level are intertwined because human lives are also always intertwined. In reality, there is only coexistence, and human beings must look at all the needs and wants together and not as a standalone in isolation.

The physical body is unique to each human being. It is visible, takes shape in the womb, needs nourishment, and it grows & decays. All physical needs are for the nourishment and procreation of the species. To maintain its existence and continuity of the species. All experiencing is done in the soul and the body remains the hardware that just passes the signals.

The life-atom or consciousness makes human beings a sentient being. Thus, the needs of life-atom or consciousness are permanent, qualitative, and infinite. Only human interactions can generate and fulfill these needs of love, trust, truth, happiness, etc.