03 Need experience
Your need-experience funnel
Your needs point to an object. They point to some resource to relieve or resolve the need.
Nature-based anakelogy, illustrates how you experience your needs in a progression from your innermost functional balance, outwardly to how you will address that experienced need. That sounds a bit abstract, doesn’t it? Let’s unpack it with some clear examples.
You routinely experience your needs in a flash through a funnel of need-experience.
core need: core homeostatic balance, essential to function
resource need: something necessary to restore core balance
access need: how to get the necessary resource, or any substitutes
psychosocial need: who is to access it, me or someone else
anankelogy [n.] (ä'-nä-kĕ'-lŏ-jē): the study of need, specifically here the human experience of need.
anankelogical [adj.] (ä'-nä-kĕ-lŏ'-jĭ'-kâl): of, relating to, or characteristic of anankelogy; referring to the role of need in another subject.
anankelogist [n.] (ä'-nä-kĕ'-lŏ-jĭst): one who studies the role of need in observable phenomenon.
anankelogically [adv.] (ä'-nä-kĕ-lŏ'-jĭ-kâ-lē'): referring to the role of need on some action. E.g., Political views tend to be less rationally deduced and more anankelogically produced.
anakelogic [adj.] (ä'-nä-kĕ-lŏ'-jĭk): same as anankelogical.
1. Core need
Whenever you say you need some water, you actually don’t “need” water as much as you require fluid equilibrium throughout your cellular body. Or temperature equilibrium.
Water is your shortcut way of saying it. Thirst is you experiencing your body falling outside of optimal fluidity. Or optimal temperature. You simply know it by what’s typically required to restore functional balance.
Your body automatically regulates these levels of functionality. If restoring balance calls for some action, your body sends you the appropriate emotion. You thirst. You long for a friendly call. You lay down when feeling tired.
If there’s nothing you can do to restore balance—like when your blood pressure slips outside of its optimal level—your body doesn’t warn you. Your body tries to return to optimal circulation on its own.
2. Resource need
You feel relief when removing that excess. That person moves along. You use the restroom. That regulatory threat to your livelihood gets removed. All comfortably good.
Your typical core needs calls for some external resource to restore functional balance. Water, for example. A heater to warm you up when necessary. Air conditioner to cool your body back down.
These items themselves do not exist in your body at the core need level. Rather, they affect your internal core functioning with something external to the body.
A person listening intently to you share your story serves as a kind of resource. Your core need for affirmation from others is served from this person who remains outside of you.
Resources are those persons and things that nudge you back to functional balance. They often symbolize needs. But unlike core needs, resources are not the literal needs themselves. They’re one step removed from your core needs.
3. Access need
So your body’s requirement for fluid equilibrium is best restored by the plentiful resource of water. But how do you get that substance? Where on the outside do you access it?
Do you get it from a water bottle you purchased at the store? Or from a drinking fountain nearby? Or tap water from your own sink? While resources tend to be few, how to access them varies.
You can access the resource of encouraging words from inspirational scripture, or from a touching video, or from an encouraging friend. Accessing resources removes you two steps from your core needs.
When essential resources remain inaccessible, you likely reach for some applicable alternative. It may resolve your need just the same.
Or it’s merely a substitute that eases the pain, but does not restore your core need as well. Functioning then declines.
4. Psychosocial need
If the resource you need is accessible, who is to access it? You? Or someone else? Is it your property, or someone else’s? Is it under someone else’s administrative control?
The more freely you can access it yourself, the more your self-needs get served. You can be confidently self-sufficient. You can maintain autonomy. You can feel adequately self-secure.
If you must count on others to access it for you, your social needs could be better served. You feel a sense of belonging. Providing it for you means you’re an honored member of the group. You’re protected.
If having to access it through others, perhaps you’d prefer to access it on your own. You then experience your self-needs as less resolved.
If having to access it on your own with your meager means, perhaps you’d prefer others to help access it for you. You comparatively experience your social-needs as less resolved.
While your core needs restore balance in very few ways, your psychosocial needs can spread in countless possibilities. So the suffering parent of unmet needs counts many anguished children.
Life and politics is full of CRAP!
Your servant emotions
You face discomfort anywhere along this need-experience funnel. No wonder pain abounds. You face many hurdles before you can fully resolve your needs.
The more your unmet needs build up, the pain you suffer. The more urgently your body seeks their relief. The less tolerable this mounting pain, the more attractive extreme options promising relief.
Violence may seem like such an option. Generalizing offers a more popular form of relief. Politics lets you generalize for relief.
You can find relief with similar others, to affect policies so that the state can use its threat of violence to compel access to resources otherwise out of reach.
Where laws impersonally convey your needs, emotions personally convey your needs. Those who are less political likely suffer fewer unresolved needs. From core, resource, access to psychosocial needs, their functionality restores sufficiently enough to escape suffering.
Someone pointed out how the need-experience funnel items make an interesting acronym. I considered changing it. Then I realized how fitting this was: Life and politics is full of CRAP!
By understanding this anakelogical insight into your needs, and your emotions that convey them, your life can more easily escape suffering and more easily thrive. Of course, this depends on the quality of the resources accessible to you.
You need drinkable water to quench your thirst. When no water is conveniently available, you could satisfy that feeling with a gulp of beer. Resources you can access on your own often reflects a lower quality than resources others can access for you, or with you.
A primary resource allows you to return at-rest. E.g., water fully quenches your thirst.
A substitute resource provides a practical alternative but leaves you aware of the partially eased need. E.g., coffee, soda pop eases your thirst.
A relief resource placates your pain of the pressing need, then leaves you alert without addressing the specific need. E.g., alcohol relieves your uncomfortable thirst.
A survival resource serves as the last resort to help keep you alive, and in constant alarm. E.g., forcing yourself to drink dirty rain water if thirsting to death.
Your psychosocial needs cannot resolve fully without its primary resource. Your social-need for intimacy, for example, may not resolve enough without its primary resource.
Primary: intimate companionship
Substitute: shallow relationship
Relief: sexual harassing
Survival: sexual assault
Likewise solving a need sparking your anger.
Primary: find or make acceptable again
Substitute: socially supported outrage
Relief: verbal/emotional abuse
Survival: violent outburst
Or a need evoking your fear.
Primary: create courage by handling unknown
Substitute: partially handle unknown & avoid rest
Relief: avoid source of fear
Survival: violate source of fear
Your psychosocial needs
You need others for most of the things your life requires. You also need to provide for yourself when no one is around. Nature continually seeks to balance both.
Your body requires fluid equilibrium. Anakelogy calls this your core need. Water suits just fine. Anakelogy call this your resource need. You rely on bottled water. Anakelogy calls this your access need.
Who gets that water for you? You, or someone else? Or both?
Yes, you get your own bottled water, at the store. Who puts that water in those bottles? You implicitly trust others in this process to each do their part.
You’re self-sufficient in earning the money to purchase that water. But you’re trusting the cooperation of others to provide what you buy. Self-sufficiency and cooperation are what anakelogy calls your psychosocial needs.
You need to be able to function on your own, without always running to others. In your life at one point or another, you routinely experience this list of needs and more.
You also need others to be there for those areas you cannot always provide for yourself. You routinely experience this list of needs in your life at one point or another.
Your psychosocial tension
You optimally experience both sets in balance, when accessing primary resources. Ideally, each complements the other.
Your personal need for freedom squares away with your shared need for cooperation. Your need for your group to support you where helpless balances with your need for the group to allow you to stretch your self-sufficiencies.
In reality, you typically experience one set more than the other at any given time. Your self-needs more than your social-needs. Or your social-needs more than your self-needs.
Your social-needs prioritized
At one moment, you feel an urgency for belonging. You feel painfully lonely and long for a friend to listen to you. You require the cooperation of your teammates. You need others to act fair.
As these social-needs emerge in the foreground, your self-needs slip into the background. You feel less of a need for personal space. Privacy becomes less important. Your resilience less of a thing.
Your self-needs prioritized
At another time, your need for self-determination kicks out what the group demands. You need to do more for yourself, to be set when no one is around for help. You must define your own purpose.
While these self-needs assert themselves in the foreground, your social-needs slide out of view. You feel easily smothered by the group’s many rules. Their appreciation means less if you can’t appreciate yourself.
Psychosocial balancing act
As your prioritizing social-needs get resolved, you feel them less urgently. They become defocal. By comparison, your self-needs seem more urgent. They become prefocal, then more fully focal.
After feeling warmly included by your friends, you sense they conditionally accept you. You risk self-expression of those aspects you know they have yet to affirm. You assert your autonomy.
As your reprioritized self-needs get resolved, they decline in relative urgency. Your need for autonomy becomes defocal. In contrast, your underserved need for intimacy becomes prefocal. Then fully focal.
After feeling better understood, you seek more of your friends’ appreciation of you. More of their meaningful cooperation. More of their full inclusion of you, as they discover more of who you authentically are.
Psychosocial situation to psychosocial imbalance
Your situation shapes your psychosocial needs. Some situations favor your self-needs over your social-needs. While others honor your social-needs over your self-needs.
Whatever remains in your control you can change. Situations outside of your control can harden how you experience your impacted psychosocial needs.
The more one set of needs resolve, while the other needs linger unresolved, the more pulled you will likely be to find some kind of relief.
Where self-needs resolve more than social-needs
What if no one in your group accepts you for being so different? What if your family denies you’re gay? Or rejects your claim of being wrongly convicted? Your affected psychosocial needs naturally come to the fore.
You feel less dependent on a group not fully inclusive of your true self. Your underserved need for inclusion goes elsewhere.
You find more inclusion among likeminded souls. Who generalize with you to create policies compelling others to be more inclusive of you and other such rejected folks.
Where social-needs resolve more than self-needs
What if your group functions just fine, until some top-down policy undercuts its cohesion? What if you can’t freely cooperate because some members demand their due? Your affected psychosocial needs naturally come to the fore.
You trust your group as long as everyone faithfully performs their role. Your underserved need for support keeps you on edge.
You find you must do more on your own. You generalize with others for greater self-sufficiency, and freedom from these distant disturbances to your traditional ways of life.
Politicizing your psychosocial urgency
What you see as political choices masks these painfully felt psychosocial needs. It’s easier to unveil a little vulnerability under protective cover of reasoned political arguments. Why expose where it really hurts?
The more painfully underserved your psychosocial needs, the more you gravitate toward others sharing the same prioritized set of needs. Your outward political differences guard your inward difference of suffered psychosocial needs.
You don’t choose your needs, your needs choose you. Your political opponents didn’t choose their needs either. Your life situations prioritize your differing psychosocial needs. Your conflicting politics socially convey this differing priority of needs.
Your overblown sense of psychosocial urgency
Ultimately, your needs do not matter more than theirs. Nor do their needs matter more than yours. According to nature-based anakelogy, all needs sit equal before nature.
The more you can stretch outside of yourself to respect the needs of others, the more you can inspire them to respect your differing needs. Until then, mutual defensiveness makes sure the rising sense of urgency will only burn hotter.
If love is putting the needs of others ahead of your own, then political polarization can be loved to death.
Your psychosocial orientation and beyond
Elsewhere, I link this to what anankelogy calls your psychosocial orientation. The more fixed your need-shaping life situations, the more compelled to orient yourself in a certain way to ease your affected psychosocial needs.
Unlike sexual orientation, your psychosocial orientation can naturally soften. The more resolved your psychosocial needs, the easier to orient yourself to the differently prioritized psychosocial needs of others.
This isn’t anything new. If love is putting the needs of others ahead of your own, then political polarization can be loved to death.
Resources now poured into political fighting can then be reprioritized to resolving specific needs toward solving larger problems. One loving step at a time.
Your psychosocial growth cycle
You function throughout life in a predictably pattern of moving toward something or towards others, then moving back away. Then again moving together, followed by moving part, in a continual cycle.
Nature-based anankelogy recognizes four seasonal phases giving expression to your psychosocial needs.
dependency needs – when social-needs dominate
independency needs – when self-needs dominate
Your cycle of psychosocial needs
Your relationships cycle back and forth between closeness and solitude. Between togetherness and aloneness. Your human growth depends on this rhythm.
When your social-needs upstage your solitude, you naturally feel pulled toward others you trust. Your self-sufficiency gives way to what others can do for you.
When your self-needs emerge more focal, you then naturally feel pulled toward more solitude. Your family’s support for following the norms gives way to trying things your own way.
Your interdependency needs
You’re just starting a relationship. Or rebuilding one.
You feel lonely and long for someone’s company. You were recently content to sit alone, but not so much any longer. Your heart tugs at you to seek out others.
At this point, you are both independent and dependent. You are interdependent. You interact with others, but not always sure if they are authentically interacting with you.
You can do plenty on your own, for yourself. But not everything. And it just feels more meaningful to do it with others.
Your need for affection longs for deliverance.
Your needs for friendship and companionship stand out more.
Your need for cooperation expresses itself as a readiness to negotiate more.
As your self-needs become defocal, your social-needs become more prefocal. You are slowly pulled toward greater attention of your dependency needs.
Your dependency needs
Now you’re getting along better. Personal differences don’t seem to matter as much.
You find yourself in the thick of your relationship. You have others around you to support you. You are warm toward them as they are generally warm toward you.
At this point, you are more reliant on others than on yourself. Your independence fades with the increasing demands of others. You need them, and they depend meaningfully on you.
You grow closer with others. You set aside some personal preferences to be with others. You find you can do more with this team than you could ever accomplish on your own.
Your need for belonging anchors you to your loved ones.
Your needs for inclusion and affirmation compel you to follow rules to receive them.
Your need for their support incentivizes you to maintain group cohesion.
Your social-needs dominate and remain focal. Your self-needs slip mostly to the backburner. Where they eventually reemerge, to sprout into your counterdependency needs.
You find yourself more at odds. Perhaps even fighting at times.
You feel an increasing need to pull away. Others now smother you. You must get away, and stretch out on your own. Others are okay, but you’re itching to be alone.
At this point, your dependence on others turn toward not depending on others as much. You’re caught between two worlds. Needing others and yet needing to get away.
Your counterdependency needs
You’ve picked the fruits of your relationship dry. You feel a need to drop what no longer serves. You’re not quite ready to set out on your own. But you know you can’t continue as before.
Your need for greater privacy pushes aside any need for intimacy.
Your needs for self-sufficiency and resilience overrules your need for support.
Your need for self-determination scraps blind obedience to their rules.
As your social-needs become defocal, your underserved self-needs become prefocal. You are slowly pulled to attend more to your independency needs.
Your independency needs
You’re on your own now. Whether you broke up, or just taking a leave of absence.
You find yourself in deep solitude. You think more about who you honestly are, apart from what others demand you to be. You gain a better sense of your individuality.
At this point, you must be able to do things for yourself, with little if any help. You must be inward dependent. You must learn to do more for yourself to face those times when no one is around.
You see more of yourself apart from others. Your identity asks who you really are. You must explore more of those hidden corners of your private self. You must live free.
Your need for authenticity takes center stage.
Your needs for self-efficacy and initiative ensures you grow lasting purpose in life.
Your need for personal freedom looks to sharpen your sense of self-worth.
Your self-needs dominate and remain focal. Your social-needs slip mostly out of view. Where they eventually reemerge, to sprout into your independency needs.
Your cycle continues
You get back together. Perhaps even closer this time around.
After this journey of self-discovery, you long to be better understood. Once you know yourself better, you naturally seek to be known better by others. Your relations get stronger.
At this point, you’re again both independent and dependent. Depending on your situation, one more than the other.
If your relationship satisfies your social-needs, but overlooks your self-needs, you’ll likely lean more independent than dependent. You feel you belong, if you don’t expose too much of your authentic self.
If your relationship satisfies your self-needs, but overlooks your social-needs, you’ll likely lean more dependent than independent. You feel autonomous, if you don’t upset group cohesion.
Ideally, your relationships and their contexts allow you to sufficiently satisfy all your psychosocial needs. In reality, one tends to dominate over the other. Fortunately, either type can be held together by the universal glue of love.
Cycles within cycles
Indigenous wisdom recognizes cycles exist within cycles. There are seasons within each season. During the passionate summer season of a relatively new relationship, for example, you may find some of your romantic feelings waning.
But this “sub-autumn” or “sub-winter” follows with renewed energy of spring as the relationship grows deeper. In fact, relationships without personal growth during their winter are unlikely to enjoy much mutual depth during their summer.
Each day can be broken down into four seasons.
You start your day in the spring as you increase your social interactions with others.
Midday is summer as you engage heavily with others.
Evening is autumn as you withdraw from the day’s commitments.
Night is winter when you are asleep and fully into your own world.
The traditional work week follows a similar pattern.
Each week starts in the spring of Mondays, slowly getting into the grind.
Midweek is the summer of your productivity.
Friday evening starts with the harvest of your paycheck.
The weekend is winter when you are freely on your own.
What season are you in now?
In traditional indigenous knowledge, the medicine wheel is used to show how our lives are governed by cycles and directions in nature. The cycle shown below illustrates how every relationship goes through four seasonal phases, cycling from life to death and rebirth, much as nature itself.
Understanding this natural cycle and properly anticipating each phase does much to bring balance and harmony to relationships. From not understanding nature’s personal winter of withdrawal, for example, many relationships have been prematurely terminated without full opportunity for renewal.
Spring, the season for starting anew
Spring represents beginnings, newness, and renewal. It also represents morning, and new birth. In relating, spring signifies that phase of moving toward each. From focusing on our self needs to focusing on our social needs.
Summer, the season for shared growth
Summer represents rapid growth, solidifying relationships, and the peak of social activity. It also represents midday, and youth. In relating, summer signifies that phase of being together. From focusing on specific social needs as a couple to attending our generalizable social needs as a global society.
Autumn, the season for receiving harvest
Autumn represents cooling down, a return on investments, and dropping what no longer serves. It also represents late afternoon into early evening, and adulthood. In relating, autumn shifts our focus from social needs to self needs.
Winter, the season for inner growth
Winter represents the deep chill of solitude, of discovering who we are and what we can do apart from others, and responsibilities of self-sufficiency. It also represents nighttime, and eldership. In relating, winter compels us to focus on our self needs, in preparation for our social needs into next spring.
You now feel ready to reinvest yourself in a loving relationship. If you have done well during your Winter phase you will be ready to put yourself fully into a meaningful relationship. Often it will be the same relationship that recently proved to be such a burdensome struggle. When all the fruit of the relationship isn’t consumed there remains some seeds of hope stored through Winter to be replanted in Spring.
Your partner may have come through Winter with some common conclusions: You were meant for each other, and with much renewal you can go on, rebuild, rethink your place in this growing relationship, and stay committed to one another. You can because the icy coldness between you has melted, the replanting season has begun, and the growing season is straight ahead. If your relationship survived this Winter surely it will survive another.
Of course, you may have discovered during your Winter phase that you simply cannot go on with your life while still attached to your partner. You may have decided to start anew with another soul-mate.
No matter who you decide to be with, you will inevitably feel the need to invest your independent spirit in a relationship with whom you can develop a sense of interdependence. And the cycle continues.
Cycle through Life
Each season lasts about a year. Each 4-part cycle will typically last about four to five years in your life. And these cycles keep repeating, beginning at the start of your life.
You begin your first relationship before you are born—a symbiotic bond with your mother. You hit your first Autumn to Winter about 2 or 3 years old, when you first insist on being free to do things for yourself. This is your first step towards finding and asserting your individuality.
After much trial and error you find where you are and aren’t capable. As all goes well, childhood continues into Spring with the needed protection and nourishment from family and friends. You are an individual who fits in a family unit.
But you hit another cold spell about 8 or 9, and again at about 13 or 14 years of age. Each Winter you are finding who you are apart from your family ties. You are gradually learning how to live on your own. By your next Winter, about age 18 or 19, you are ready to break free from the family unit and start a new bond in your first Spring of adulthood. You find your first lasting love.
After about two years, going into your first Winter with your new love, you feel the fire going out of your romance. An inexplicable urge will compel you to find your identity apart from the confinement you curiously feel in this stage of the relationship. It feels strangely familiar, like when you felt smothered by your parents in your youth. But Spring finally comes and you are likely to continue to build the relationship.
In the next Winter you will no doubt experience what some have called the seven-year itch. Sadly, many couples do not make it past this chilly season. Of those who do, plenty will separate after about 11 to 13 years into the relationship, in their next Winter of life. Some will endure the cold and struggle to stay together, envisioning better days ahead. It is a struggle revisited in one’s mid-life crisis. It will be felt again when entering retirement. It is this relationship cycle coming full circle again.
Cycling for Balance
This cycle illustrates a primary dilemma we all face in life: How do I maintain my own sense of personhood while trying to get along with others, especially those closest to me? The dilemma pits one’s individual freedom against the social code of togetherness. As you head south, through Spring and onto Summer, you gravitate towards togetherness, accepting the social agreements for living together in close proximity.
You feel positive about the relationship. When you head north, through Autumn and onto Winter, you switch your emphasis from togetherness to solitude, reclaiming the freedom of your individuality. You think things through apart from the relationship. You try to do your “own” thing.
The turn is inevitable and often painful. Everyone goes through it, each in his or her own way. It is frequently resisted, but can only be delayed. The growth your relationship has enjoyed during your Summer season will be necessary to endure the distancing you will endure during Winter. If you pass through Winter without much personal development, you will find it difficult to give of yourself come Spring.
As you go through these changes it may feel like you have failed your commitments and even failed yourself. You wonder what you did wrong that now puts you through so much grief. But these changes are necessary for bringing balance into your life. And because we are in complex relationships as intricate individuals who are always changing, it is a lifelong process. It is a natural process.
Much of the misery we put ourselves through in our relationships is because we are resisting this balancing process. There is much happiness and peace to be found when discovering the balance between your individual needs and the needs of the group, especially the needs of your loved one. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen when you work with nature. It is when we follow nature’s path through these seasonal cycles that we find that balance and peace for ourselves.
You can apply this to your own life. Download our Four Seasons spreadsheet tool. Discover which season you are in right now. Explore the implications for your relationships. Normalize your ups and downs with others. Find balance with others, and within yourself.
Despite nature’s continual pull to balance your self-needs and social-needs, your life’s situation tends to favor one over the other. You become oriented to emphasize one set of psychosocial needs over the other set.
This psychosocial orientation comes in two basic types.
If you are wide-orientated
Your self-needs resolve more than your social-needs. You have a strong sense of who you are, of your deeply authentic self. You tend to be less sure how your true being fits into a world expecting impossible conformity.
You focus on wide relationships. You politically generalize how society should accept you and others like you. You guard your personal sense of differentness from what you recognize as historical or traditional oppression. You champion communitarian actions over individual rights.
In a densely populated area, you tend to experience situations intermingling with others diversely different from yourself. You get into the habit of checking how others are best respected. You learn to take other cultural perspectives into consideration. You make a point to be inclusive of others you do not personally know.
You find it easier to identify who you specifically are, distinct from all others, than to be accepted for who you specifically are. You are oriented by your psychosocial needs to see value in liberalism. Your inward wide-orientation finds outward supported expression in left-leaning politics.
If you are deep-orientated
Your social-needs resolve more than your self-needs. You are surrounded by a cohesive community who supports you through thick and thin. You tend to lose a sense of your individuality the more you bind with others.
You focus on deep relationships. You politically generalize how individuals should be free from government encroachment or what you recognize as tyranny. You guard your traditional ways of being close to each other. You champion individual rights over communitarian values.
In a sparsely populated area, you tend to experience situations with others similar to yourself. You can instantly predict how others will act. You generally know who in the community you can count on for what. You make it a point to support others who you know and who know you.
You find it easier to identify with others who can easily identify with you than to assert how different you are from others nearby. You are oriented by your psychosocial needs to see value in conservatism. Your inward wide-orientation finds outward buoyed expression in right-leaning politics.
Differences that don’t and do matter
Psychosocial orientation is a “lateral” orientation. When each gets applied to its corresponding situation, one is no greater than the other in resolving needs. Wide-oriented can resolve their urban situated needs on par with deep-oriented resolving their rural situated needs.
Obviously, wide-oriented approaches prove a poor fit for rural situated needs. And deep-oriented approaches do not serve urban situated needs well. Quality differences exist within each partisan side more than between them. To see exactly how, it helps to look at other need-experience orientations.
How does this affect your politics?
Open up a whole new way to appreciate our political differences. Download our Harmony Politics spreadsheet tool. Discover how your priority of psychosocial needs shapes your political outlook. Whether you lean left or lean right, we can now find balance with each other. Replace bitter differences with mutual understanding and love.
Your psychosocial orientation, expressed politically, exists as only one of many need-experience orientations. A need-experience orientation anchors you to a routine reaction to the many needs you encounter. Without them, your focus would easily overwhelm.
Much like sexual orientation, you cannot change your need-experience orientations at will. They set you in stone. They shape your reactions to situations. They ensure your needs get addressed, including your need to move forward without bogging down in excessively distracting details.
Consider these examples in addition to your psychosocial orientation. Understand how others cannot easily meet your expectations, as you cannot simply fit theirs. Consider this as a short list of many others not yet identified.
Your convention orientation
You are oriented to face situations according to established norms or to go against norms. The first takes you the long road to resolve needs, but you risk bogging down appeasing other’s expectations. The second sidesteps social expectations to more promptly resolve needs. You are either cisconventional or transconventional.
Cisconventional. The more helpful a given norm (or convention) to lead to expected results, the more we tend to align with its enforcement. “Cis” refers to being on the same side as the conventional rule. You are being cisconventional when dutifully going to work each day, aligning with earned income norms.
Following established norms can lead to wider social support, and less friction. No need to figure out how much time and effort to give to earn money and benefits, when all of that gets handed to you for following the norms for earned income.
Following the given norms helps keep your behavior predictable. If required to act fast, others can know precisely what you will likely do. No wavering, no equivocating, just prompt customary action that can decisively meet the need. Of course, you risk acting in error.
You readily fit into the group. You generally subscribe to cultural binaries. You see in terms of us-them, man-woman, public-private.
You tend to only see what has a name. Anything without a label or category remains irrelevant to you.
Your life is something like St. Peter’s. Self-confident, reliable, a foundation for others, yet impetuous and prone to error.
Transconventional. The more of a hindrance a given norm then the more some of us transcend that convention to more fully resolve a need. Trans refers to being on the other side of some conventional rule. You are being transconventional when inventing a new business model, moving beyond earned income norms.
Transcending established norms can open up untapped possibilities, and purpose in life. No need to waste your life earning money for others, when charting your own path to create market value and potentially a higher stream of income.
Transcending the given norms help you to remain attuned to greater possibilities. If required to act wisely, others can look to you for an original solution. No oversimplified answer, just what the situation requires. Of course, you risk acting too slow.
You may be ostracized by the group. You tend to violate cultural binaries. You see nuanced points in between these arbitrary points.
You see reality exists beyond given labels. You observe our needs being impacted by the nameless.
Your life is something like St. Paul’s. Moving beyond categories, laying down a new path, yet a late comer and tough to understand.
Other biographical examples. We need both. Each has their strengths and weaknesses. Cisconventionality and transconventionality complement each other. History is full of effective pairings of cisconventional with the transconventional need-resolvers.
Shimmei and Hillel
Peter and Paul
Nehru and Gandhi
Stokely Carmichael and Dr. King
Applied to you. You may find part of your life conventional while others more transconventional. And you may find yourself somewhere between cisconventional and transconventional.
The transconventional are rulebreakers, but with purpose. They take risks to solve persisting problems. By simply being themselves, they challenge excessive conformity to outmoded rules.
The cisconventional anchors us to what is practical. They keep the transconventional linked to social realities. By simply being themselves, they ensure things get done otherwise overlooked.
To those only and always cisconventional, the transconventional can seem lawless. To those only and always transconventional, the cisconventional can seem like tyrannical conformists.
How well each complements the other can depend on the next need-experience orientations.
Your relation orientation
Relational orientation: general or specific
You are oriented to face situations in more general or more specific terms. The more specific you relate to the details at hand, the more the affected needs can resolve. The more general you relate to a situation, overlooking relevant details, the less the needs can resolve.
Unlike psychosocial or conventional orientation, relation orientation falls along a vertical continuum. While finely graduated, four modes stand out corresponding to the degrees of need resolving.
Dynamic relating. Continually relating to what it takes to resolve the needs at hand, to return at-rest. You relate to the nuance in all of the affected needs, so these needs can fully resolve.
Popular generalizing. Settling for widely agreed views that relate enough to ease the needs at hand, to remain aware. You subscribe to what others believe, placating your social-needs.
Relief generalizing. Subscribing to comforting views that miss resolving the needs at hand, kept at alert. You keep the pain of your unresolved needs at bay.
Overgeneralizing. Clinging to false beliefs for a desperate sense of relief from all the pain of unresolved needs, stuck at alarm. You fall easily to delusions that seem to keep you alive.
We generally generalize too much.
Avoiding specifics leave us out of touch.
Too much generalizing leaves us blind.
Specific examples now escape my mind.
Does what apply to me apply the same to you? Or must it?
Your easement orientation
Easement orientation: easy-then-hard or hard-then-easy
You are oriented to face pain either along an easier path or a harder path. The easier path lets you avoid the intensity of your pain. Any short-term relief congeals into stone. The harder path enables you to resolve needs while enduring the pain warning you of the need. Any pain relief is kept short.
Much like relation orientation, easement orientation falls along a vertical continuum. While finely graduated, four modes stand out corresponding to the degrees of need resolving.
Resolve needs. Routinely work through any pain or desire to fully resolve underlying needs, to return at-rest. You accept discomfort as a meaningful part of live.
Ease needs. Regularly satisfy needs just enough to maintain functioning, to remain aware. You acquiesce or grow accustomed to making do with substitute resources.
Relieve pain. Guard yourself from any pain provoked from unmet needs, keeping you alert. You slip into the habit of avoiding pain that persists with each unresolved need.
Survive agony. Habitually react to overwhelming pain of unmet needs, stuck at alarm. You slide into a harsh routine of desperate pain avoidance, like addiction or repeated suicide ideation.
I don’t want to buy all that trash.
I enjoy more contentment than you.
I don’t require a lot of cash.
My bill collectors do.
Is pain bad and best avoided? Or do we just tell ourselves that?
Lateral versus vertical orientations
Your need-experience orientations generally come in two types. They either span between lateral options of equal quality or between vertical options of unequal quality.
Lateral orientation. You tend to fall into one of two camps, both of equal functioning potential. Psychosocial and convention orientations generally fall into this category.
Vertical orientation. You gravitate toward one of two sides, spanning between higher to lower functioning. Relation and easement orientations generally fit this type.
Distinctions in vertical quality
The less you realistically relate to the specifics affecting your needs, the less likely your needs will fully resolve. The more you rely on generalizations when relating with others, the less you can respect their affected needs—and less likely they will respect yours.
Political differences matter less than the policy outcomes that prevent you from resolving needs. Generalizing that relates at only a shallow level impacts your needs for more than policy differences.
Integrating lateral qualities
The more you integrate relevant specifics that at first seem contradictory, the more you can relate to full depths of needs. The easier you transition from initial generalizing to nuance of specifics involved, the more honest you can relate to needs.
The preference of a rural business owner for fewer regulations along with the preference of residents for less pollution matters less than each side being able to fully resolve needs.
The liberal-conservative distinction matters less than the difference between fully resolving needs and not fully resolving needs. Even the distinction between elites and populace yields to the central discrepancy between resolved needs and unresolved needs. Apart from needs to resolve, the other binaries cannot exist.
Generally, the more reliance on generalizations over specifics, the more the emphasis on relieving pain over resolving needs to remove that pain. Conversely, the more reliance on specifics over generalizations, the more focus on resolving needs than merely relieve their pain.
Politics make for a better window than door.
The more the generalizing of politics slips into a rut of widely held beliefs, the fewer specific needs can freely resolve. Political generalizing typically fails to allow for exceptions.
Coping with the pain of unresolved needs with more generalizing for relief simply perpetuates more pain. It prevents resolution of the needs producing that pain.
Politics make for a better window than door. You can peer in with generalizing, but can only enter the realm of problem solving by transitioning to relevant specifics.
Barging in with generalization others are expected to adopt easily provokes objections. Your generalizations shape for your priority of needs can be a poor fit for their specific needs—or worse.
Generalizing to relieve pain fuels political polarization. Relating to specifics to resolve needs nullifies divisive politics. The intersection between your relation orientation (RO) and between your political orientation (PO), and your easement orientation (EO) and PO, creates the bulk of political problems.
Your RO and EO intersecting your PO
The more you slide down the RO continuum, political differences bifurcate into increasingly overdefensive opposing extremes. Each side insists their generalizations relates better than the other’s.
The more you slide down the EO continuum, political differences bifurcate into competing but comforting generalizations. We then blame each other for the pain of our unresolved needs.
For example, we generalize that the economy must be based on capitalism or on socialism. In reality, neither has or can exist without the complementary other.
Instead of appreciating how the government checks free markets’ exploitation of the most vulnerable, or how free markets produce incentives for vast array of goods and services government cannot efficiently or effectively provide, the excess of one provides rationalization to find relief with the other.
Fighting fire with fire of competing generalizations ensures we all get burned. Swinging to extremes ensures our needs do not resolve bit remain painful, requiring more comforting generalizations. Replacing one comforting generalizations with a competing comforting generalization locks us into what can be called psychosocial reduction.
Political generalizations tend to pit psychosocial needs against each other. Liberalism reduces your social-needs to comforting generalizations while conservatives reduces your self-needs to comforting generalizations. Accountability to resolve needs is mostly absent.
Elites stand to benefit from keeping the masses locked into mutual relief-over-resolve battle. Increasing pain finds relief in either left socialistic populism or right nationalistic populism. The right-left binary yields to an elite-populace binary. Neither conflict is made accountable to resolving needs on all sides.
The prevailing generalization that we ultimately choose our life’s outcomes, or sit shamefully complicit in our irresponsibility, overlooks the many times we discovered a matter of choice was actually more complicated than our belief. What if other need-experience orientations exist that curb our actual range of free choices?
Other need-experience orientations
We historically were wrong about religious intolerance, about righthandedness, about sexual orientation and gender identity. How can we be so sure we haven’t missed other such intractable orientations?
The more your needs resolve, the easier to realize the nuance of limitations. You swing less to extremes of what others expect to see. The more you can encounter the distinction between what you can change and what you cannot, the easier to move past false expectations to fully resolve needs.
As more needs resolve, suppressed needs tend to come to the fore. A kind of Tocqueville effect awakens long hidden needs. Your attempts to resolve these often hits a wall.
Repeated failure to see expected change suggests an unexplored need-experience orientation. The exploration can bring positive qualities like humility, honesty, grace, and love. And can raise your overall level of functioning.
Fighting fire with fire of competing generalizations ensures we all get burned.
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