In his “Monarchs and Mendicants” Dan Groat writes: “Surviving is about need. Living is about want.” A need is what we must have to thrive and without it we will suffer physically or mentally. A want is what comes from our desires, wishes, it’s our choice of something that we may or may not be able to get. And we’ll go on living even if we don’t get what we want. That’s what distinguishes between a need and a want.

Needs are common to all human beings and range from basic needs necessary for survival to social, cultural,  and intellectual needs. American psychologist Abraham Maslow represents human needs as a pyramid with the more basic needs at the bottom and “self actualization needs” at the top of the hierarchy. Basic needs include what we must have to live a safe and healthy life. These are our physical needs (air, water, food, warmth, rest, health), safety needs (shelter, security), self needs (confidence, independence, respect, education), social needs (friends, family, love, community), and self actualization needs (personal, mental, spiritual growth, self-esteem, etc.) And of course, these needs are not only essential, they are finite.