Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Top 10 Priorities

While engaged in a daily workout at the gym I overheard a conversation that was replete with the term 'need' while peppered with a sporadic want. This induced my thinking about what needs people have in general and what my needs are in particular. I feel that often the term need is strewn about without due consideration for what is actually a need. As if the bare essence of being can be fancied by a daily whim or the onslaught of persuasive campaigns which purvey popular media.

If you are looking for a connection to law you won't be disappointed. I will make it.

I believe that need is innate. The manifestation of which is exposed through the purely biological processes and the inherent desires which collectively bond us as humans. From those I have identified my top 10 priorities which are all need based. I have juxtaposed the biological processes as the first five. So, here they are in order of priority.

1. oxygen - I'll never get over the irony associated with the phrase "I need a cigarette." The importance of oxygen is often overlooked. Try doing without it though. My underwater limit is about three and a half minutes which I will work on increasing this Summer. Considering the extremely limited duration for which I can survive without it, oxygen is my primary need.

2. water - Any athlete understands this. Water plays a vital role in cell functioning. It is necessary to dissolve sodium molecules and process sucrose that provides the energy our bodies need to function. We can go much longer without food than water, a couple days max depending on activity level and climate. In a challenge to your depth of thinking I also include, without separate enumeration, the complimentary need to expel said water from the body which is done through evaporation, breathing and urination.

3. food - Although clearly necessary a look around said gym tells me that this is overrated by many. In another point of irony similar to that associated with cigarettes I have often heard people express the feeling of a need for a so-called food item which is nothing more than reformulated garbage enveloped in a colourful, often whimsical, wrapper which leaves a detectable odor on the package contents but contains few beneficial nutrients or any that qualify as needs. Again, inclusive with this need is the associated need to expel such food. Foregoing this can be quite damaging to the body including sepsis and eventual death. Even doing so on a temporary yet regular basis increases the likelihood of colorectal cancer. So, from this could be extrapolated that a high fiber diet is the more precise need.

4. sleep - Some intellectually challenged individuals think that lack of sleep is a display of manliness. Sleep deprivation actually damages the brain and can lead to death. Thus, it's use as an effective torture technique has not been overlooked by interrogators and agents of government engaged in conflict. I have never attempted to measure the limits of which I can endure sleeplessness. Quite to the contrary I sleep when needed and wake after I am rested except for brief interludes to tend to needs two and three. Sometimes it is simply a bout of a restless mind that terminates my slumber during the darkened hours for which I then nap later in the day. A rather refreshing habit.

5. shelter - This is relevant to time and place. This week in Indiana it is high up there on the priority list. During the Summer in Florida on the beach I can see myself going for quite a long time with nothing more that a beach umbrella. Regardless of atmospheric fluctuations shelter provides a refuge from predators be they invertebrate, the winged variety or the creepy-crawly variety any of which, while risking death at our hands while seeking to satiate one of their needs using us as hosts, may leave behind a viral or bacterial attacker.

6. my son - In making the transition from the purely biological, the first step into the foray of priorities which are not absolute needs is my son. This was well established long before he was born. Actually well back into my teen or pre-teen years when I determined that I would ensure that I was financially secure and capable of supporting a child before conceiving one. 15 years ago that happened and since then it has been a pleasure to be the parent who has sacrificed his own personal wants and needs to instead fulfill that of his progeny. I include this as the first desire based need due to the inherent nature of all livings beings, whether consciously perceived or functional, which is to procreate. The desire to procreate is so necessary and strong that it must be included as a need. True death occurs upon the termination of a bloodline. The need to procreate and continue the genetic string is apparent in the protective nature of a parent and the efforts put forth in securing or defending a mate.

7. athletics - I've never known of intellectual on his death bed who said he is so happy to be dying and wouldn't have sacrificed money, career advancement, schooling or a home theater to instead have good health. Since I was a young child I had one driving ambition; to be a professional cyclist. I achieved that only momentarily before a collision with a motor vehicle that nearly killed me. Now I play futbol and am a competitive runner. My workouts, practices and competitions comprise about 3-4 hours of my daily activity, sometimes more. Evidence appears to be mounting on a daily basis that our modern lifestyle with remote controls, motor-powered accessories and a mind-numbing box placed parallel to the plush resting modules is resulting in a physically damaging sedentary state that can have lethal consequences.

8. other children - No child sought to be conceived. It is therefore our responsibility, as a society, to ensure that we provide a safe, loving and nurturing environment for all children. Even if we have to stand-up and do battle against the profiteers who seek to harm children for profit. Collectively, as a specie, we are in constant battle with forces around us for resources, space and ultimately dominance. While not to the level of need of passing on one's own genetic material and ensuring its survival there is a need for everyone to strive to ensure survival of the specie.

9. learning - I believe that a quest for knowledge and understanding of the world in which we live is a natural motivation which must be satisfied. This is something that has also been a priority of mine since childhood. I was not an avid reader but more of an explorer of the world in which I lived and the minds of the people I encountered. I still dedicate time each day to areas of study, particularly the law. Beyond the academics though is study of people, environment or simply the physical world and how to survive in it.

10. introspection - Descarte summed it up well with "Cogito ergo sum" which is 'I think, therefore I am.' I feel that it is important to know one's self. I do as I feel everyone should and look at myself to see if I did something good for myself and the world around me at the end of each day. I explore my purpose for being and seek to align myself on a course that shall guide me to fulfillment of my purpose for being. This enlightenment leads to a healthier mind and subsequently body.

An addendum to this list.
It was while cruising around one evening with Rupert Boneham that the topic of needs came up and I mentioned those preceeding first five. Rupert mentioned that fire, or heat, was a need. Coming from someone who had been on the show Survivor multiple times I give his addition of heat as a need full weight and include it herein as my sixth need.

If you have examined my priorities this far then you have likely observed that I give little weight to the institutions of life. School was a place that I discarded at age 6 as any type of need. It was apparent to me that institutionalized education was not about learning but instead about controlling thought, limiting knowledge, and training. My time there was generally a waste although I did manage to make social connections, conduct sociological experiments and satisfy need number four.

Commercial institutions leave much to be desired for me. I have a checking account but find it much more appealing to buy houses by handing over a pile of cash or writing a check so as to reduce my banking interactions. I did make use of the hospital when nearly killed but beyond that I have had no desire to partake of the traditional medical institutions.

The idea of being an employee, subjecting myself to someone else's rules, schedule and procedures which may conflict with my essence is unappealing and unnecessary. I certainly do not subscribe to the expectation that one should be in the employ of another for eight hours per day. I find one or two hours per day, at my leisure, to be satisfying.

I accept responsibility for my short-comings and also exalt myself for my achievements. I need no other to determine my mores for me but instead rely upon myself to determine which actions are acceptable. I do not succumb to the supposed directives of any imaginary mythological beings handed down to only particular representatives endowed with the power to hear the message of the great creator for which only they can pass along to the subject masses.

If you have made it this far then I hope you have found something that may spur you to give consideration to what your needs actually are and what you value. But now for your reward. My list is not so trite as to include such things as the latest electronic gizmo. Although it is likely that many people would answer affirmatively that food and water are needs would their thoughts also take them to the conclusion that expelling the waste product of that consumption is also a need?

For most people, citing the biological needs I have indicated are usually just a regurgitation of something they have previously been told. Much in the way that attorneys and litigants operate in child custody proceedings.

The determination usually hinges upon the oratories of the parties attorneys which are prescribed through rote memorization of law, procedure and standard practices without innovation or original thought. Each child custody case presents unique circumstances which must be balanced in reaching a determination that is in the best interest of the child. I.C. 31-17-2-8 list the eight factors that a court must consider. However, that list is not exhaustive and the depth of those factors is not often fully explored.

So, I hope that you are spurred to evaluate not only what is an actual need but also to ensure that litigants, practitioners and judges divest themselves from a cookie-cutter approach to child custody and parenting time matters. Innovative thinking should not be an exception in this arena but should be a mandate. Unfortunately for the children too many attorneys do not possess the necessary skills and too many litigants, not familiar with the process, entrust the future of their children to these unqualified attorneys.

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©2008, 2011 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

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