When we think of the affects of deprivation of basic needs, it's easy to say what that kind of dire circumstance will cause one to do. What are our most basic needs? Food, water, air, sleep...right? All of these essentials in life, when taken away from a human being, start a series of bodily responses. Over time the condition of deprivation swells and swells until we are not well or we die.
Think about the physical affects of deprivation of core needs. Food: Hunger, headache, exhaustion..those are on the less severe end of food deprivation. Later come the more dire symptoms and eventually death if you are not nourished. Same with sleep. First might come irritability, lack of energy, lack of focus...but later down the line could come total deliriousness and loss of reality. It's easy to see how not having our essential needs met can hurt us.
But what about love? Is love also not an essential to being human? Not to say that we should all have a romantic partner at all times. But we must receive love from somewhere. A friend, relative, a teacher in school who is the only person who gives us the time of day. What happens when we are deprived of love? What does that eventual decline look like? Disconnection, being emotionally withdrawn. Feeling we don't need anyone, internalizing all of our feelings. Having no idea how to verbalize a feeling because we disconnect so much from it. An outward facade of independence and not needing anyone that is so deeply originating from fear that we often cannot even identify that true feeling.
Just as we become desperate to meet our basic needs of food, water air and sleep, I believe that we also are desperate to meet our basic need for love. While starving can rationalize theft in even the most virtuous person, I believe that being starved for love can also rationalize out of character behavior. Falling into bed with anyone who will have you because you are dying just to feel human touch. To hear someone speak to you messages of acceptance and affection even though you know they're just temporary. Or what about starting a fight with your lover just to shake them, wake them, make them see that you're wilting away when they don't nourish the need in your heart for love.
While most of our basic needs are physical and clearly can result in the death of our physical being, what happens with love? Can we die inside in such a way that we can never be brought back to life? Can a person be starved for love for such a long period of time that their ability to love and feel loved is gone forever? Does love get left off the list of basic human needs because something so spiritual and emotional is impossible to get down to a science, like the inner workings of the human body? Do you feel that love is one of the essentials of the human experience?