- Most likely not. First we go back in history as we know it. The early humans show how only a united community was essential for survival. The Cro-Magnon humans survived because they helped and worked together. Sure, there were skirmishes and battles but the unity helped them survive the dangers. The Neanderthal humans had bigger brain capacity but they never tried to live in a society. They worked more independently and that’s believed to be the reason why they went extinct.
So, it proves that love and compassion is essential. Animals also live under a “social system”. Look at lions, monkeys, wolves, dolphins and many more. Like us they have understood the strength of unity and to have a society. A society can only be built when you work with the best ideas and when there’s enough people to put these ideas into practice. It’s proven that humans and advanced animals are in need of love and compassion because life without it would be too depressing.
In a world of pure selfishness and no concern for the neighbor would probably end up in many battles for the quest of power and ruling. It would be a quest to own and rule. And in the end, like our history shows, there’s always someone stronger. This would be a true “hell world” to live in since you always have to watch your back. It would be a world full of fear, aggression, mistrust, greed, hate, dishonesty and so on.
Our planet today lives in a mixture of the above scenarios. There are good examples of both polarities that battle here. People survive more because of the love and compassion that most people have. Some of this comes from cultures, religions and society. It’s still very rule based but many people have this within as well and they do express it. We’re going to have to choose one way or the other soon enough because the present thinking and living may easily lead to destruction since our technology allows for total destruction in no time. There are fanatics out there whether you believe it or not. Even the news show us this over and over again.
Well, this is some food for thought on where we are and where we’re going. Remember that we are just a very small piece of dust in an infinite universe and that we best would live like one humanity and not the split that we are today.
Love and compassion is observed among apes, but only in minimal occurrences. Their empathy is restricted to their family group – and they manifest hatred and aggression towards other groups.
They are simply like racists: apes (Chimpanzee in particular) do display love and empathy towards their own, and also hatred and aggression towards others. Some documentaries (David Atenborough) show this clearly.
According to Darwin, Humanity emerged through extending the feeling of empathy and cooperation to include other families and tribes:
“As man advances in civilization, and small tribes are united into larger communities, the simplest reason would tell each individual that he ought to extend his social instincts and sympathies to all members of the same nation, though personally unknown to him.
This point being once reached, there is only an artificial barrier to prevent his sympathies extending to the men of all nations and races.” Charles Darwin, the Descent of Man
So, without empathy and cooperation, humanity will be equal to apes in behavior.
But not all people are like that.
In many parts of the spectrum we call Humanity, we have people revealing the best of humanity – regarding all people as their family, while others restrict their love and compassion to what apes are capable for.
If humanity survives, I believe love and compassion will be a given. They seem to be easy calls, easily called out of us without much more than a feeling of security in each other. I don’t believe any population of humanity large enough to be self-sustaining will lack these.
If love and compassion don’t survive, it will not be because humanity has survived without them but because humanity has gone extinct.
So…I’d say that’s a no. It’s basically like asking if humanity can survive without heads, or without torsos. These features just naturally form and grow! In most humans, love and compassion pretty much arise of themselves, whenever we’re exposed to other humans whose company we find good. Compassion we even experience for strangers, whose piteous plight reminds us of our own vulnerabilities.
I suppose that if we captured a breeding population of humans, killed all the rest, and sequestered our captives in a brutal and brutish environment depriving them of language, a sense of safety, subjected to adverse and terrifying changes all the time and utterly dependent upon us (whoever “us” is by this point) for food and water, perhaps these dispiriting conditions would stifle the ways by which love and compassion arise. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see both burning fiercely in pockets here and there regardless, as if in defiance of the experiment.
Anyway, I wouldn’t worry about it. It would take a pretty hard rigging of conditions to eradicate love and compassion in human beings, and I doubt even then it’d be 100% successful. If humans continue to survive under natural and human-made conditions, love and compassion will continue to arise and express.
Not always for strangers, but as noted above, we’re still most of us quite prone to compassion. Not always for enemies or antagonists, perhaps – but a lot of people seem to have a fount of compassion even for these wretches. Not everybody, to be sure. Mostly we love who has been good in our lives – or someone we believe may be good.