Living consists in exploiting one’s full human potential. It is about climbing the rungs of Maslow’s pyramid one by one without ever going back below the third level (that of the needs of belonging). Survival consists in being confined to a physiological level (drinking, eating, sheltering) or a security level (protecting oneself from threats or enemies) – respectively levels 1 and 2 of the pyramid -.
One person inscribed in life and the other inscribed in survival will have a completely different relationship to the world. Human degradation begins when one is reduced to a survivalist relationship to the world. The moral concessions necessary to maintain oneself in survival are unworthy of a defender of life who would rather die than degrade himself to the level of inhumanity that it implies (lying, betraying, etc.).
The problem occurs when one gradually moves, without realizing it, from “vivalistic” to “survivalist”. The fact of progressively accepting the limitation of what makes life (freedom of all kinds, etc.) gradually shrinks our sphere of action and we end up waking up one morning in dismay to find that we have turned into a rodent, holed up, living under the shelter of predators.
This painful realization is not the prerogative of all since many are those who think they live while they have sunk into survival.
Survival sends us back to our only dimension of prey in the animal kingdom. It removes us from that which gives us nobility, namely benevolence, compassion, service to those in need and the ability to speak freely without fearing for our lives.
Life is an exaltation of our human potentiality, it is only in this state that we can create or conceive because above all life allows us to dream. Without dreaming, there is no greatness. When we live in fear of the world around us, we renounce our own humanity. To live happily, we must live. Survival is only keeping our body alive, our soul and spirit have already left us.