Basic Essential Survival Body Needs 
By Walter Sorochan Emeritus Professor San Diego State University

Posted December 26, 2018; updated October 23. 2021. Disclaimer The information presented here is for informative and educational purposes only and is not intended as curative or prescriptive advice. The statements of this web-site have not been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Nothing stated here should be considered as medical advice for dealing with a given problem, or to diagnose / treat / prevent / cure any disease.

  circle oxygen  circle water  circle foodn  circle sleep  Sunshine survival UCSB  circle socialize  circle valuesmoses  circleplasticity

For more information about each survival need, click on an image above. Meanwhile, here is a short introduction to the survival needs of the human body.

We seldom think of the most important survival essentials of life. That is, what we as humans need to survive and exist. This should be a thought provoking issue today when chronic diseases are an epidemic.

Most persons view survival as living through a calamity such as an earthquake, loss of a dear one, a fire, or snow storm. These are all usually short duration survival events. Suffocating from shortness of oxygen in an air polluted city or water in a desert could also be survival events. But biological survival over a long time is perhaps even of greater human importance.

What does it take for each of us to live? Or to be optimally well? Or the bare bones biological need to survive and exist? After considerable research, thought and soul searching this researcher initially realized that there were more than just four primary biological essential needs of life.

The most important survival need is oxygen in the air that all of us breath without being aware that we are breathing. We take clean air for granted, although scientists are pointing out that the earth's climate is warming up and this is making less oxygen in the air. We become physically aware of the need for the oxygen when oxygen is in short supply and we are gasping to breath. We can live without oxygen for about 6 to 10 minutes before we die. The brain withers from lack of adequate oxygen, we become mentally incoherent, while the heart beats faster when the arteries cannot supply enough oxygen to the heart. Other body cells also demand it and it is a top survival priority.

After, oxygen the second most important priority is the need for water. Our body is about 70 % water and every cell needs it. Scientists tell us that we can live without water for about three days before dying. Water has also been perceived as a healer and carrier of biological information.

We can live without food for about 30 days, as most of us have stored fat and protein to allow us to survive that long. But food is more than just energy and nutrition. Food carries RNA information [exosome] that makes food an essential healer.

The fourth essential need is sleep. It is listed as the fourth most important essential need by coincidence and not priority, and perhaps should be the second most important essential for survival. One may survive for several days without sleep, but become disoriented and experience diminishing quality of life on the second day of no sleep in spite of having oxygen, water and food. Most persons do not get enough sleep. 

These four essentials lay the groundwork for all else that happens in life. This ground work is the first step to optimal wellbeing.

You may be wondering why the author focused on these four and not on medicine, or health care. The answer is simple. Without the body having adequate and balanced amounts of all four, the body cannot function very well. All else, like vitamins, minerals, amino acids, discussing immunity, healing, exercise, diseases, health care and medical practice may be irrelevant. These four survival needs are biological and inherent for body functioning. These should be considered as essential biological RNA survival needs that have evolved over millions of years.

The four survival needs are not the end of this story. A basic survival need that has been overlooked and taken for granted is sunshine. It was the sun millions of years ago that initially provided the energy and spark to evolve plant-bacteria, known as spirulina. This form of hybrid organism used sunshine to make its own food and be able to survive. Eventually, spirulina gave rise to plants using sunlight to stimulate green chlorophyll, water and photosynthesis to form plant food. Plants, in turn, provided the food for animals and humans. Without essential sunshine, there would be no plants and species survival.

Once survival was somewhat assured, ancient humans had to find protection from being eaten by larger animals. They also found that working together as a group also made it easier to hunt for food, learn from each other and help each other. So forming a social tribe or group ensured survival. 

Evolution over thousands of years may have also evolved secondary higher level needs that go beyond just biological surviving.  For once survival is somewhat assured [Maslow], the human body starts to fine tune higher needs and  survival levels.  Besides finding comfort in forming social groups, humans today seek higher psychological level  needs. These are affection and love, social contact, plasticity and morality.

Thus, there can be a strong argument made to include belonging to a group or society as also a survival need. People need people.

Morality is about values. That is .... what is good and bad, truth vs. lies, and so on.  People realized long ago that they needed values and laws by which to live in a social setting. Just having food and water was not enough for survival.  Today, many persons lack civility and honesty. You can learn more about morality by clicking on the values image above.

Morality evolved as a higher survival need. Morality and values may not be primary biological needs but an extension of fine tuning the mind-mental-brain [psychological] development for extending quality of life, longevity and survival. Primitive man used his brain and this stimulated the brain to a still higher brain level; and plasticity came into play.

Plasticity involves the mind-mental-brain. Scientists have found that the brain needs to be challenged all the time; otherwise it goes to sleep. One may be content with repetitive work and live, but remains arrested in becoming a more optimal and complete person. The brain-mind wakes up when it has to deal with a new experience or adventure. For more on this, visit the website by clicking the mouse on the values image-icon above.

So what comes after plasticity? Perhaps an extension of a higher level of plasticity. We do not know all the survival-psychic needs and so there may be more unknown survival entities. 

For example, futurist Ray Kurzweil   Kursweil singularity perceives the evolution of mankind merges with machine intelligence in his book 'The Singularity Is Near'. However it is also possible that a new dimension of human evolution could take place in the form of spirituality. Survival evolution is a future open source.

Kurzweil feels humans will most likely experience gradual conversion as portions of their brain are augmented with neural implants, increasing their proportion of non-biological intelligence slowly over time. Kurzweil believes "nonbiological intelligences will claim to have consciousness and "the full range of emotional and spiritual experiences that humans claim to have".

Biological survival and psychic needs work together in as yet an unrecognized fashion. The human body eventually evolved into a bio-chemical-electric nano-high tech complex synchronized and precise machine that works in mysterious ways. We really know very little about how the body works, in spite of medical advancements.

Health is very different from medicine and health care. Medical practice is really superficial in helping humans to survive, as most medical practice deals with relieving symptoms of pain and not relieving the cause of pain and discomfort. Unless the patient takes pain killers. Then medicine should be viewed as not biological in nature but superficial, for the medication seldom harnesses the body's own healing processes. On the other hand, if health is perceived as a biologically survival system, then the body has been biologically programmed to self heal. It needs no artificial medications to curb pain .... providing that one eats an adequate whole plant-food complex diet that bolsters the immune system.

This may seem like a simple and yet complex recipe for wellbeing, but there are a few things surrounding us that may interfere with or limit what may seem as good health and living a long time. These interfering and limiting issues include personal hygiene, lifestyle behaviors, sanitation and pollutants in the environment. Toxic bacteria can disrupt one's immune system and cause illness and disease.  Chemicals in the air can also lower the amount of oxygen in the air and likewise cause chronic diseases. Yes, living itself can be complex. However, being aware of one's biological and psychic survival needs can help one to survive and prevent infections, disorders and diseases, live longer and attain optimal wellbeing.

Kursweil Ray, "The singularity is near,"   Kursweil singularity