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thing that is necessary for an organism to live a healthy life
(Redirected from Needs)

A need is a thing that is necessary for an organism to live a healthy life.  Needs are distinguished from wants in that, in the case of a need, a deficiency causes a clear adverse outcome: a dysfunction or death.


  • Andrea: Unhappy is the land that breeds no hero.
    Galileo: No, Andrea: Unhappy is the land that needs a hero.
    • Bertolt Brecht, Life of Galileo (1938), Scene 12, p. 115
    • Variant translations: Pity the country that needs heroes.
      Unhappy the land that is in need of heroes.
  • For want of a Nail the Shoe was lost; for want of a Shoe the Horse was lost; and for want of a Horse the Rider was lost; being overtaken and slain by the Enemy, all for want of Care about a Horse-shoe Nail.
    • Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanack" (June 1758), in The Complete Poor Richard Almanacks, facsimile ed., vol. 2, p. 375, 377 (1970).
  • Human needs, although originally derived from biological necessity, are thus a result of the existence of society and are conditioned by the stage of development which society has reached.
    • Oskar R. Lange "The Subject Matter of Political Economy: Elementary Concepts"
  • We may distinguish both true and false needs. “False” are those which are superimposed upon the individual by particular social interests in his repression: the needs which perpetuate toil, aggressiveness, misery, and injustice. ... Such needs have a societal content and function which are determined by external powers over which the individual has no control; the development and satisfaction of these needs is heteronomous. No matter how much such needs may have become the individual's own, reproduced and fortified by the conditions of his existence; no matter how much he identifies himself with them and finds himself in their satisfaction, they continue to be what they were from the beginning—products of a society whose dominant interest demands repression. ...

    In the last analysis, the question of what are true and false needs must be answered by the individuals themselves, but only in the last analysis; that is, if and when they are free to give their own answer. As long as they are kept incapable of being autonomous, as long as they are indoctrinated and manipulated (down to their very instincts), their answer to this question cannot be taken as their own.

  • I got a brand new pair of roller skates,
    You got a brand new key.
    I think that we should get together and try them out, to see ...
    I roller skated to your door at daylight [...]
    I'm okay alone, but you got something I need.
  • The Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need but not for every man's greed.
    • Mahatma Gandhi, as quoted by Pyarelal Nayyar in Mahatma Gandhi: The Last Phase (Volume 10), page 552 (1958).

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