Monday, September 20, 2010

What is a survival NEED?


Before you can begin to meet your survival needs it is important to understand what those needs are and the order in which they become important.  Sometimes these are self evident and sometimes they are not.   Judgment can become clouded from boredom or preoccupation with other things in life.  Sometimes there is no doubt exactly what is needed for survival.  The difficult part is to anticipate those needs and provide for them in advance.  

Probably the most recognized albeit oversimplified is Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.  There are five different levels in Maslow’s model, these are often displayed in pyramid form with the most basic needs at the bottom.  As you fulfill these needs your focus goes up the pyramid while transferring from more physical needs to psychological ones.  The pyramid at its upper most tier is comprised of purely psychological needs that focus mostly on personal growth and enlightenment.  Upon initially entering into a survival situation your first priority will be those lower physical needs on the pyramid.  These needs often come with indicators such as physical discomfort or even death when they are not met.  The higher ones manifest as psychological problems such as depression and anxiety.  By understanding this model and placing your personal needs within the scope of its design you can avoid some of the pitfalls associated with failure to meet them at the appropriate time.  If you’re NEED does not fall in to this model then it should be reexamined, it may not be a need at all but a want and that can be dealt with later.

In a survival or a SHTF situation the first two needs are the most immediately important.  Of course there are more than you see in the example but they will require immediate attention.

Basic needs
These include the most basic needs that are vital to survival, such as the need for water, air, food and sleep. Maslow believed that these needs are the most basic and instinctive needs in the hierarchy because all needs become secondary until these physiological needs are met. Your basic survival needs are most commonly referred to as the rule of three’s.  In the rule of threes it is said that you can only live for three minutes without air, three hours without shelter, three days without water, three weeks without food and in some examples three months without companionship.  The timelines given are not necessarily what you would experience and there are an unlimited amount of variables to consider for each need.  What this does is provide a simple recipe for retention to help prioritize your orders of work for a given situation. Of course you did not see fire in that recipe so it becomes apparent that fire is not a need, however it is an important tool that will help you to meet and maintain those needs.
Safety needs
These include needs for safety and security. Security needs are important for survival, but they are not as demanding as the physiological needs. Examples of security needs include a desire for steady employment, health insurance, safe neighborhoods and shelter from the environment.   As any good woodsman knows there is a certain comfort that is felt when you have your weapons close at hand.  This is the comfort of security and it is much the same as the comfort that is experienced around the fire at night.  The ability to keep the animals at bay or at least the illusion of such gives comfort and security.  In reality a sharpened stick would not do you much good from the sneak attack of a cougar.  What it does is take away the feeling of helplessness and exposure that you feel in an already uncomfortable situation.  Safety goes beyond just security but it is the safety of have a reliable water source, reliable food source and a sturdy comfortable shelter. 

Safety needs are also the driving force behind comfort.  In a survival scenario you are off your center and all the provisions that you generally take for granted are no longer at your finger tips.  Once these needs are met it is automatic to want to improve the situation.  This is accomplished by beefing up your shelter and adding to your sleeping platform.  Anything that you can do to reduce the physical stress and discomfort will be classified as a safety need. 

Keep your priorities straight and you will certianly survive anything that life throws at you.