How Do People Need and Want?
An need is something which is required for an organisms to survive a particular life span. Needs are also distinguished from desires. In the case of a desire, a deficiency only results in a psychological adverse effect: a disease or death caused by the absence of the thing which the desire was based on.
There are two basic needs of human beings which are required to live a good healthy life: the need for food and clothing, the need for shelter or safety, the need for social interaction. These two need may be defined as necessities. A desire, however, is a psychological feature, something which, when satisfied, changes into a desire and this desire, when satisfied, changes into an obsession or a passion, which transforms into a need.
A desire is an urge to do something. This something can be a job, a hobby, learning, meeting up with friends, drinking, smoking, writing, watching television, doing sport or going for a drive. On meeting these basic human needs humans will pursue them in the direction which is fulfilled by satisfying them. If these fulfillments of needs are not fulfilled people will try to satisfy them by finding external satisfactions or by becoming ambitious, by means of things like studying, getting degrees, getting jobs, acquiring property, acquiring possessions etc.
The difference between a desire and a need lies in their being two different emotional aspects. Desire is essentially an emotional need; whereas a need is a physical need. For instance, to eat is a physical need. It would therefore be wrong to say that desire is stronger than need, just as desire would not be stronger than a necessity. Desire fulfills a human need while a need fulfils a desire.
However, on the other hand desire is stronger than need because it involves both the psychological feature of gratification and the physiological feature of acquiring material objects. A reward is a very strong psychological feature associated with the phenomenon of wanting something. The physiological characteristic of acquiring material objects is not a very powerful psychological feature. If we were to compare the power of desire to the power of a reward we would find that the former is more powerful. There are many instances where people fall in between these two poles of desire-they have desires but they don’t have enough resources (money) to fulfill these desires.
If we further look into the psychology of these two types of human beings we will find that they are different because they are structured differently. Desire is basically a matter of motivating oneself to take action. In order to motivate oneself you need to be properly motivated (i.e., you need to be in a position of having an incentive for taking the action that you are trying to achieve), and you need to take the action required for achieving this motivation. A reward is a kind of security which people have so that they do not feel insecure.