The Six Primal humans needs.
What governs our behaviors, our relationships and our destiny
I’m no great sage, nor do I claim to be some paragon of virtue. Actually, quite the contrary. I’m the type that the mothers warn their daughters about. I make no bones about it. I’m the kind of guy who will lead you down the path of sin and fornication, and best of all, make you like it. Yet, in contrast to that, I have dedicated the last few years of my life to the concept of Mastery where it pertains to Dominance and submission. I have always said that there are many paths up the mountain, and they all eventually lead to the same place. Part of my path is the understanding of human condition and why we do what it is that we do. I am not content to be a decent Dominant to a would-be submissive/slave. In the end, I must always strive to be better. If one seeks the path of being a Dominant (or Mistress, Sir, Domme, or Master), then by default, we are walking the path of leadership. Assuming this is true, for a dominant to be truly followed, he/she must ultimately lead by example. Sadly, as Shakespeare put it, “Ay, there’s the rub.” So many of us would rise to the challenge to lead, yet we are so blind in our understanding of self.
Sir Magic’s Dominant’s Law # 1
“Leather Dominant Mastery is not built in a day, but is built daily.“
~ Sir Magic ~
How can I be an effective owner (and understand what drives my submissive/slave) if I am blind to my own need? Over the last ten months, I have been seeking an answer to this question, walking a new path. I have been questioning what I know, who I am (as a New Guard Leather Dominant), and whether or not there is a price to being that. Sometimes enlightenment requires a bit of suffering. The price of this journey for me was my own relationship.
There is a saying that professes bluntly,
“No one is special.“
This means that there are rules and laws which govern the human condition. No matter that we may delude ourselves with how bright, intelligent, spiritual, or knowledgeable, we are ALL still subject to them. You, my friend, are NOT special enough to be exempt. As I reach a plateau on my journey to the mountain-top, I am learning what it is that drives both our submissives/slaves and, most importantly, ourselves.
Primal Forces: Our Six Human Needs
Our quest to fulfill our six primal needs governs much of what we do. These needs are always there; they are our best friends and our worst enemies. Like a constant in a mathematical equation, they never change. In some ways, they’re our closest companions throughout our entire existence for they are with us when we are born and with us when we die. They are relentless, they never stop, they never go away and they cannot be merely resolved, be it 5 minutes, five hours, five days, or five years, they will be back and they will always shape our perceptions and our choices.
First Primal Need: Certainty and Comfort
For some, it means a predictable routine that can also be perceived as a secure environment. Another way of satisfying this need for certainty is through predictability in our relationships. Some people seek to fulfill it in physical ways, by eating, compulsive habits, holding on to specific mental belief structures, or engaging in particular emotional reactions (triggers) to certain events.
Don’t be fooled. Certainty, according to the dictates of HNP (Human Needs Psychology) is a survival instinct and is shared by all animals. If you feel that your survival is at risk, you will focus solely on it, to the exclusion of all else, even your other primal needs. How do you tell when a person is trying to meet his need for certainty? How do you establish if that is his governing need at present? Often, you can determine this by the things that he says and the words that he uses in his conversation. For example, one my show this by feeling grounded, safe, secure, protected, stable, and have a certain amount of life predictability.
In D/s, you can see this in the need to be owned, have rules, and have enforced boundaries.
Second Primal Need: Uncertainty and Variety
Once we our need for certainty is met, we then have a need for uncertainty, otherwise known as variety and challenge. It is in this way that we seek the stimuli that will ultimately put our emotional, mental, and physical capabilities to the test. This requirement for uncertainty manifests as suspense, surprise, or exercise — anything that breaks pattern. The most common forms of this phenomenon are life’s simple problems. When things don’t go as you planned, and you have a different (and often unwanted) outcome, it creates variety and uncertainty. Some people get variety in direct ways: taking on challenging projects, momentary diversions, extreme sports, and many other forms of perceived pleasure. This idea also shapes my view of masochistic bottoms and bottoming. There are also those who pursue it in paradoxical ways, slipping into learned patterns of depression, being fearful, and the need for a high level of drama.
What are the conversational keywords for this need? Craving, need, release, exertion, change, instability, problems, and emergencies.
Third Primal Need: Significance
Everyone needs to feel important, special, and needed. This, in many ways, helps shape who we are in the here and now. Case in point, for those who had siblings, you competed for your parents’ attention in any way you could. Eventually, this manifested in the role you chose to accomplish that goal within your family unit. Whether you’re the obedient child, the smart child, the responsible child, or the troubled child, don’t be deluded into thinking that this hasn’t carried over into your adulthood, and affected how you perceive the world around you.
You can feel significance by your positive accomplishments, or by demeaning, degrading, and devaluing others. With few exceptions, significance comes from measuring yourself comparatively to those around you. In BDSM, this is the fundamental need which speaks to the hierarchical nature of Dominant/submissive relationships and superior/inferior roles. Those who are overly focused on the need for significance have a tendency to find connections with others (and in some cases, their partners) problematic. When one compares by highlighting differences rather than similarities, his perceptual balance goes out of whack, especially for one who tends to fixate. From there, it’s a short hop for him to satisfy his need for significance through acts of low self-esteem. This can take the form of constantly needing reassurance or reinforcement that he is worthy.
Let me give you a word of caution, though. If your partner starts to allow his/her need for significance satisfied from sources other than you, watch out! It will create a block to effective communication and correct perception. In some cases, this barrier will become so effective that it can literally block your attempts to meet the fourth primal need in this list for your partner.
What are the conversational keywords for this need? Conversation focused around feeling or being rejected/undesirable, as well as the need to be needed, desired, proud, important, achieving, perfect, disciplined, to perform well, and be competitive. It could also be quite the opposite. The conversation could be focused equally as intently on not being good enough.
Fourth Primal Need: Love and Connection
We all strive for a connection with other human beings and the hope for love. Many of us are aware of the documented studies of children who don’t experience any significant form of caring love, and the connection between their stunted growths, both emotionally and physically. In this sense and context, love can be considered a survival instinct, since we seek it even as babies. Our drive for connection is a big part of who we are already, no matter what we become. The problem arises in our belief system, perceptional filters, and personal rules for receiving, recognizing, appreciating, and giving love. This is where may relationships (including Dominant/submissive relationships) begin to break down.
Often one/both partner(s) have conflicting rules or belief systems when it comes to giving and receiving love, or how to connect. For example, there are submissives who feel that their dominants no longer love them when they knowingly break a rule and the Dominants say nothing or don’t seem to notice. By the belief systems of those submissives, the Dominants don’t care enough about the them to enforce the rules. However, at that moment, the Dominant may be too tired, preoccupied, or even in his/her own survival mode, and is thus unable to react.
Regardless, the submissives’ belief systems or rules for love define that situation differently. When it happens in that way, one party could be meeting the others need for connection or love, but the receiving party’s belief system blocks the meeting of his/her own need (the incoming love). Subsequently, the partner who is feeling unloved ends up being accusing the other of not loving, when, in fact, he/she is preventing that very thing. If you don’t know your own rules for love or if you don’t know how to receive love, then how can your partner effectively meet that need? Correspondingly, how can one then claim that he/she is not being loved in the first place? Without self-knowledge and understanding of your own rules, how do you know your partner isn’t meeting you needs?
What are the conversational keywords for this need? Feeling connected, together, unified, on the same page, and passionate.
The last two needs are needs of the spirit and are important to human fulfillment and growth.
Fifth Primal Need: Growth
In life, that which is living and doesn’t continue to grow dies. In essence, if you think about it within this context, you are either growing or dying. Therefore, your body, your money, your relationships, your love or happiness must be developed and expanded or it will eventually die. There is no time off from this governing reality, no reprieve from daily maintenance to keep what we have. Either you do the work of caring and cultivating that which you have and love, or you watch it degenerate and die.
Sixth Primal Need: Contribution
There is another rule that states, “Everything in the universe contributes beyond itself, or it is eliminated.” This is true in the animal kingdom, as well as the human world. It is even true in the work environment in the form of lay-offs. One way to reduce emotional issues or physical sources of pain is focus on serving beyond one’s self. In this regard, contribution allows us to access and satisfy our other primal needs, if not moderate them to some degree. Focusing on contribution to others gives us certainty, for not only is there always a way, but consistency of routine. Variety needs will be met because nothing ever goes as planned, so you’ll have problems, challenges, and surprises to overcome. You’ll get significance from the gratitude of those to whom you contribute, as well as praise for being an incredible person of character (since most people today only commit to themselves). Finally, you’ll also have connection with those you serve, help, or to whom you contribute — along with those like you, who are also serving. There is no growth like that which comes from the spiritual connection of helping others or of serving the greater good.
Linking it all together
We all create our own models of the world, which are made of belief systems and actions that we take to satisfy our needs. In reality, some people’s belief systems are broken, but it’s all that they know and they refuse to let go of them, as this would directly conflict with their need for certainty. From my perspective, Dominants and submissives tend to be governed by the need for significance more than any other. This is not to say that someone couldn’t value variety, significance, certainty, and then love, in that order. This, ladies and gentlemen, is where we begin to have problems. In a sense, if you’re not meeting your partner’s top primal need first, then you’re just spinning your wheels. If your Dominant values certainty first, and you’re drowning in debt, chances are that he/she is not going to be able to correctly receive that you’re trying to meet his/her need for significance.
They’re in survival mode. All they see and respond to is their need for certainty. Just as you can love your slave with all of your heart, if he/she values significance first, you have a needs mismatch. I’m sure that some of my readers have had light bulbs go off in your heads. Over the course of time, the lessons I have learned are:
- You must first know the priority order of your primal needs.
- What are your rules for giving, receiving, and recognizing those needs?
(If you don’t know your own rules, you really have no grounds to claim that they’re not being met.)
- What are your partner’s order and rules?
As I make my journey up the mountain, I have new questions to ask that I didn’t possess before. I believe the right questions are more important than just the answers. This is how we make new distinctions, expand our perceptions, and grow. In the end, we move humanity a little bit forward and avoid the cold embrace of personal and spiritual oblivion.
Sir Magic’s Law:#107
There are many forms of death, few more insidious than stagnation of heart, mind, soul and body. To cease to grow is to fall silently into oblivion’s cold embrace.
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