General Question

warka1's avatar

Why do we need each other?

Asked by warka1 (151 points ) January 15th, 2013

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23 Answers

KNOWITALL's avatar

I don’t think we do ‘need’ each other.

LuckyGuy's avatar

How else are you going to get that wood chip out of your eye?
Who dials 911 when you get hit with the tree limb and it knocks you unconscious?
Who drives you home from the hospital after surgery?
I will stop there but my list is endless.

Nobody “needs” another person. But life is sure is enjoyable when shared with the right person.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Humans are social animals. We don’t need any one particular person, but be are more likely to survive and reproduce if we have contact with other humans. Our prospects for mental health are also enhanced by having some contact with others. We do best to be selective and avoid individuals who are toxic to us.

Pachy's avatar

We need casual or close contact with lots of people in our lives starting with our parents. Then there are teachers, mentors, doctors, friends/lovers/wives… at the person at the other end on a 911 call.

bookish1's avatar

…Because we can’t all engage in agriculture, industry, intellectual pursuits, politics, and the arts all on our own…

Also, you can’t give yourself a backrub.

wundayatta's avatar

If we don’t need each other, who will need us? If we are not needed, then we are dead—both as individuals and as a species. Although, strictly speaking, it’s not about need, but about desire. We want to live. If we are to live, we need each other. If we don’t care about life, we don’t need each other.

Do you care about life? Think twice before you reply.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@wundayatta I think we sometimes want people in our lives, but we don’t need them.

It’s a fact that one lone person can live alone and survive. Haven’t you heard of the old mountain men who saw a human being less than once per year? It’s pretty cool, the tough old buzzards.

I don’t think everyone’s as needed as they’d like to believe unfortunately.

Pachy's avatar

I realize I didn’t overtly answer the “why” part of the question, even though I felt that was inherent in my list of people we need. But just to be clear, I’ll say that we need these people and so many others for guidance, mentoring, teaching, support, love, companionship and much else. I guess some of us can “go it alone,” at least to an extent, but then, shouldn’t there be more to life than that?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Pachyderm_In_The_Room What do you mean, more to life than that? People in other cultures, even American Indians, sometimes go out alone for the very purpose of attaining an undistracted state. Monks would wall themselves up in rooms to solitary and undistractedly worship.

Some people get more out of a solitary life than listening to the mindless drivel and drama of fellow humans. Not trying to argue, just a different way of looking at things. I don’t think some of you realize how exausting relationships can be. I could use a good solid year of solitary personally…lol

josie's avatar

If you are talking about mere survival, we don’t, so the premise is weak. But most people recognize the personal benefits of being in a social structure, so most of us choose to do so.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@josie Right, we don’t, and that’s what the question said with no explanation.

I’m not even talking about mere survival, I’m talking solitary by choice for spiritual enlightenment or personal preference. Different strokes for different folks.

Also, your statement poses the question, what if your particular social structure has less benefits and more stress or drama? Obviously we all walk a different path, but I think you’d be surprised at the number of people who choose to live outside society for a multltude of personal reasons.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Because when we were born and raised, we needed others. That doesn’t really change all that much.

wundayatta's avatar

No, we need each other to survive. You can’t have children without a mother and a father. And you can’t survive without a whole group of people. The gene pool is too small.

Sure, you could survive a lifetime if you were a survivalist, although that’s not at all certain. But as a species, we need others, or we’ll all die.

Just as a side note, I often find that conservatives think in terms of individuals, while liberals are more likely to think in terms of the group or collective. An individual can live a life, but it takes a group to survive as a species.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@wundayatta Crap, you got me on procreation, but that’s it mister!! :)

Shippy's avatar

We don’t, we only want two or three.

wundayatta's avatar

@KNOWITALL You know I’m a dead end, evolutionarily. Or I would have been, on my own. But with technology, I’m able to pass on my genes. But after my two, there will never be any more. You know how that goes.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@wundayatta I’m happy to be the end of my line, it gives me a great sense of satisfaction that some of the dna in my family will never be reproduced. :)

wundayatta's avatar

@KNOWITALL Even if you are a conservative, I’m sorry to hear that. I think we need all kinds. By we, I mean the species.

Pachy's avatar

@KNOWITALL, thanks for the different perspective. I was perhaps a bit too glib with my answer.

flutherother's avatar

I can’t answer all these questions on my own.

LostInParadise's avatar

The best answer to this question, plus a number of other questions, comes from this well know series of questions from Hillel.

If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am only for myself, what am I?
If not now then when?

I love the second question. The problem with being self-centered is that we limit our potential. We are the most human when we work together.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Why? Without other, it is impossible to know self.

@KNOWITALL and @josie I disagree that for survival we don’t need others. A human infant cannot survive to maturity on its own. Those solitary mountain men learned their survival skills from someone. Those skills were not instinctual. The holy men who choose to spend time in solitude still receive food, and they have shelter. Also, their spiritual desire is learned. It’s cultural.

mattbrowne's avatar

Because the human brain developed in groups of hunters and gatherers.

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