What are our basic needs?
Constant body temperature (98.6 F.)
Food is a need that is bought with money or time, so we can realize immediate value in it.
Body temperature has to be maintained by mechanical means, ie heat in winter, air conditioning in summer. These mechanical means cost initially on the front end and cost to maintain them, as we are aware of when we receive our utility bills.
Lets focus on the two basic needs that are often taken for granted, maybe because we do not immediately see value in them.
Air is, well, (for the time being, and the most part) still free. I suppose if we have to air up our auto tires, while on the road, we see immediate value in air. Then some Ecology students or Al Gore would discuss with us how much value we derive from the air we now breathe freely, and for how long we will be able to breathe this reliably clean air. Then for those of us who live in major metropolitan areas, the issue of clean air and the value of it is very real.
Let's talk about Free Air later.
Instead let's focus on Free Water, and the value of it. Did my Grammar School Teacher coin the phrase, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can not make him drink"; Or was she borrowing a quote from a timeless philosopher? What ever the case may be, the saying still remains true today and is relevant to this essay. If I were to take you by the hand and show you a cool, pure spring of water, maybe a natural mountain spring, a healthy spring, would you drink from it? Some would probably want it tested (a very good point). For the most part, though, this healthy spring is free. We would really see value in it if it were tested. Tested for what?
Well, let's back up a little and see where I came up with our four basic needs, no it was not from my High School Biology teacher, although I'm sure they led me to that knowledge, I just did not drink.
Abraham Maslow (1908-1970): PhD. In Psychology who created the now famous, "Hierarchy of Needs", labeled our 4 basic needs as the "physiological needs" and and are the foundation of all our need. Yes there are more, but the basics must be met before we advance to the others. Dr. Maslow identified the physiological needs as, oxygen, water, protein, salt, sugar, calcium, and other minerals and vitamins. They also include the need to maintain a pH balance (getting too acidic or base will kill you) and temperature (98.6 or near to it). Also, there's the needs to be active, to rest, to sleep, to get rid of wastes (CO2, sweat, urine, and feces), to avoid pain, and to have sex. Quite a collection!
I said (well, I and Dr. Maslow) all that to say this. Remember, I'm backing up and asked the question, "tested for what." Well Doctor Maslow listed all kinds of ingredients, I assume for the food group of which included minerals and proper pH balance. So then if minerals and a proper pH balance is essential to our basic needs, we would want to test that water for the same. Then if I pulled out my handy swimming pool water test kit and the healthy spring water tested no chlorine, not acidic, perfect pH balance, and I found a good mix of trace minerals, could we see value in it? Forgive me if I answer, sure we would see value and that healthy spring water would be desirous to drink.
Let me conclude this theses on a couple of points; Dr. Maslow died a reliably young man, perhaps he lost focus on his theorizing. One article stated he embarked on a crusade into "Humanistic Psychology". For whatever reason, he died at age 62, he is not a very good reference for my next point.
The Bible states in Gen. 6: 3 mans' days shall be one hundred and twenty years. While we seem to be doing better, the life expectancy in the late 1800's was like 45 yrs., And is now around 75 yrs., Very few Americans live to see 120, and if some reach 100, their quality of life is badly degraded . This is unlike most Japanese men, who live near the reefs of Okinawa.