The "Third" Basic Need

Uncategorized Mar 26, 2020

It is said the two basic needs to survive are food & water.

This is true for most animals.

Though for us humans, there is third need as vital for survival.

And that is…

Physical & Emotional Contact

To illustrate how important these are, I want to share a quick story about orphans of WWI.

After WWI ended, as you can imagine, many babies & infants were left orphaned.

Orphanages were setup to take care of these children.

In order to prevent the spread of disease, the orphanages kept babies kept in separate cribs and set strict rules of no touching or interaction with them.

Nurses fed the infants, kept everything clean, but they didn’t not provide any contact & interaction.

Guess what happened?

Over two-thirds died before age 1 and half died within age 1!


Because although they were fed, they were not nourished.

They received food and a clean environment, but what they did not receive is the interaction we humans are built to have.

In contrast…

The outcome was not as bleak for infants in female prisons at the time.

It was chaotic, dirty, with messy playrooms, but the kids got playtime with their mothers.

There were not so many deaths

In the woman’s prisons, both the child & mother got nourishment - they both needed it.

This brings up the topic for today.

Isolation is not good for humans

Overtime it manifests.

In manifests in anxiety, emotional issues, and even ill-health.

This is not something you likely want to be hearing and I can already sense some readers enraged that I’m talking about it.

Unfortunately, it needs to be addressed.

We humans are pack animals, we evolved to live and survive in a pack

In fact, we have entire systems of neurons designed to gain nourishment from interaction.

In time of social distancing, it’s important to get human interaction.

Luckily, we live in times where you don’t need to be physically next to someone to receive that nourishment.

You can:

1. Send an email

2. Make a phone call

3. Get on video chat

4. Write a letter - When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone? Although mailing is not an option, take a picture after writing it and send it via text, read it to them on the phone, or give it to them when all this blows over.

5. Tell someone you are there for them - Last year when I moved to a different city, I stayed in an Airbnb for two weeks. The owner texted me yesterday and said, “Kam I know you don’t have a car in the city so if you need something that you can’t find in stores, let me know.” All I needed to hear was that someone was looking out for me to feel nourished, like nourishment from water.

6. Contact a friend you haven’t in a while - We are living in times right now where it’s o.k. to reach out to someone you haven’t talked to in a while or not been on good terms with. My older sister & I have not been on the best terms, but last week she reached out and asked how I was doing, and now we’re been joking back & forth.

Social distance does not mean social isolation

Connect with people.

Use this time as a reason to reach out to someone you normally wouldn’t or couldn’t.

If you don’t have someone to reach out to, reach out to me, I’m here.

Tell me what you’re thinking, feeling, what’s on your mind, what you want to get off your chest.

I will respond,



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