Kitchen logic 3: A need is not a value

If needs of certain social group like state, nation, or even supranational community are understood as primary values, then social unrest and poverty govern such society.

You most probably do not support above statement. But then: why would you not take another thought?

We do indeed find needs as primary values written not only in many contemporary constitutions, but are even more implicitly or even explicitly inscribed in many political decisions. It is quite common to say: Each individual of a certain community has a right for a job, a right for a proper housing, a right to express his attitude, a right for education…

Let us scrutinize situations where needs are primary values through the question: who is going to fulfill such needs. There are only two options for who can be responsible to fulfill needs as rights rights: either such individual himself, or someone else.

Collective evaluators ov values

If individual himself, then … (described further). If it is someone else, then who or what should that be? Parents? Husband or wife? Friends? Most probably some institution since it is quite embarrassing for almost all individuals to put a burden to fulfill his needs on someone whose face he sees each day. Relatives and friends do help each other. But we tend to support basic needs by definition to minors and handicapped in any meaning of this term. Otherwise no-one likes to be dependent on friends and relatives when basic needs come in play.

So institutions stay as agents that could serve as basic need providers. What institutions? Private? If private institution (as private enterprise) most probably no owner or manager of such institution would hire someone only because he or she is in need for a job. Hired person is most probably in need for a job but it is hired for expected return in the form of products of work done by hired person. The cause for hiring is not fulfilment of basic needs but exchange of values.

So there are only public institutions left that could fulfill individual basic needs.

Public bodies as evaluators

Great! That is exactly, why we have a state and state institutions, everyone now reasons. To fulfill basic and many other needs. But then: who decides if a need of someone for a better house or job is valid or not valid? Who can compare a need of a single jobless mother with children for a 50m2 apartment with a need of a minister for a 300m2 house?

If a need is a value, no arbiter exists that could measure them objectively. It is always a group that decides. A group of individuals with their own needs. If they as arbiters see a need as a basic value, it by logic necessary, that they fulfill their own basic needs first. And they do fulfill their needs first. If they do not, they act against the premise that needs are primary values. Primary values should be respected. Primary values tie together a group or a society.

What is a conclusion: if needs are primary values, those that decide about which needs are to be fulfilled, are first in row for such fulfilment.

A need is not a value

Need should thus never be a value. Need should also never become a token on any social level, because it can not be measured. A need is integral part of each individual’s life; and the main property of life is that it can not be lived by another person. If I can not live your life, I can not fulfill your needs. I can not eat (fulfill a need for a food) instead of you. I can not live in a house instead of you. I can not work, express … instead of you.  Any public institution is even less eligible to live your life, to fulfill your needs.

All those living in a dream, that there is someone  (some institution) that should fulfill their needs, is in fact depriving himself from being alive, from being human. A society that is founded on needs, on any kind of needs, is in fact a totalitarian (collectivist) society with an elite governing depersonalized vegetables.


When talking about needs and governing bodies, brains make a good example.  Brains do not have a command room, an elite part of brains that would govern over the rest of “lesser” brains. Each part, each neuron is equally important. And what makes brains as powerful living entity are constant evaluations and reevaluations of connections. Evaluation is again not performed by any governing body within brains, but by each neuron as connected. 

Values that are the main guidance of any society (from a family, via club, via state to supranational societies) should be understood as neurons in the brain. Values are not given by god or from any collectivistic authority. They are constantly negotiated and renegotiated among individuals. They are negotiated and renegotiated constantly on the market of values (memes) like goods are negotiated and renegotiated daly on markets. Like there should be no authority that would fix any price for any good, there should be no authority that would be exclusive evaluator of values. For practical reasons we could identify individuals that professionally extract prevailing values from individuals (this profession is called branding), but we should understand them as enablers and not evaluators. We should not think (as we do, unfortunately) that they are owners of these values. They enable real owners to understand and use their values more effectively. As soon as we start to understand any group as an evaluator of collective values, we are behaving like a person, that would attribute the highest and final authority to eyes for they see better than the other parts of the body.


Life can be kept only in a state of constant imbalance; in the state of constant negotiation and renegotiation. Individual is the sole agent of this market of life. What is for sure is, that he can exchange only goods (in the form of products and memes) in this market to fulfill his own needs. He has to exchange. No one can exchange this instead of him. Thus singular homo instead of abstract humans, and homonism instead of humanism.

Andrej Drapal