Do we humans are really a social beings?

Are we really a social beings?

You know when people always say that “we are humans, we are a social beings, we need one another, it is just in our nature to need one another”, all of this kind of statement always make it seems like we have to be a social being, to always rely on one another, whatever we do, we can’t avoid the fact that we need one another, because it is just what life as humans is, because it is just what it is to live as a social beings, to be humans.

But do we really need one another?

All of this philosophical thought that claims we can’t live alone, we always need one another, is to me, not entirely true. What I have just said is very controversial, and people will just assume that I’m a loner or I’m just depressed or anything like that, well let me tell you this, I’m not. I just think that people don’t always need one another, we do to some extent, but not everyone need one another in every day life. Some people like to spend time alone, or could even survive not talking to anyone for days or weeks or months, and nothing is wrong with that, some people just have no time to deal with unnecessary drama that ‘human interactions’ tends to bring. It does not mean that this person, is a freak, it just means that they actually enjoy their own peace, or they feel more peaceful being alone than being with other people.

What about monk?

Monk tends to spend time on its own, they don’t even talk when they meditate, sometimes they spend days or weeks or months just meditate and not talking to anyone. I can only imagine how peaceful it might be. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an expert or anything, I don’t really know how monk live their life, as far as I’m concerned, I could be entirely wrong. But I just think that if its true, if monk could survive being on its own, to meditate for whatever long it takes, then it challenges the claims that all humans are social beings. Because how can we claim “all humans” are social beings when there are just so many people in the world, I don’t know how many billions that is, but I can only imagine there are so many people, that we can’t just categorized them into one single definition, as ‘social beings’.

There are just so many people in the world that putting everyone in one category as ‘social beings’ might not be accurately true

Let me emphasized here that I’m not an expert on this and I could be entirely wrong, but I just think that it is not in our place to classify everyone as social beings, and I don’t think the claim is justifiable. The claim that ‘we need each other’ has been excessively used in many unnecessary situation. I don’t want to get to deep into it because it would be a very long discussion, but I just want to open the possibility that the claims that we humans are social beings and therefore need one another, could be, to some extent, not entirely true. Some people might feel so much better being on their own and can survive without having human interaction.

In the non-extreme way, at least not every human beings need to have deep interaction with other people

Some people just have normal day to day interaction with other people, like interaction with people at work, or interaction with people in the supermarket, but they don’t need deep interaction with human beings in their everyday life. I think this case happens a lot, especially in the 21st century when people tend to be more individualistic than before. I personally think there is nothing wrong for being individualistic. After all, we only can save other people if we can save ourselves. I think it’s more on our human nature, ‘to survive’, than to be a ‘social beings’, because sometimes, to survive means to sacrifice our needs to be a social beings. If one wins over the other then it means our needs to survive is higher than our needs to interact with other people. In this case, not everyone is social beings.

Disclaimer

Again, I want to emphasized that I’m not an expert and I could be entirely wrong, but I just want to express my opinion that saying all human beings are ‘social beings’ seems very debatable to me. Firstly, I think there are so many people in this world that categorizing everyone into one category is just too much. Secondly, there are cases where people don’t interact with each other for certain period of times and still live peacefully. Of course it is just the minority of people that could live peacefully without having to interact with each other. But if there are people that could live peacefully without interaction with other human beings, it undermines the claim that all humans are ‘social beings’. Thirdly, if humans instinct to survive is higher than their needs to interact with other people, then, not everyone is social beings. When people face a situation that related to their survival, whatever it takes, no matter what cost it would be, their survival will come first. If this is true, if this is the case, people could sacrifice their needs to be social being, and shift it to entirely the other way around, by not being a ‘social beings’.

Despite all this …

Eventually, I’m not an expert, and I have no evidence in what I have just written in this blog. I just want to express my opinion and what I think at this moment. I need more research before I can challenge the statement that all human beings are social beings, and I definitely need more understanding on the theory itself. I just think that there is a possibility that the claim is not entirely true. As Karl Popper said, “you have to be open to the idea that your beliefs might be false – because that is the only way that holding onto them can really mean anything”.

“Whenever a theory appears to you as the only possible one, take this as a sign that you have neither understood the theory nor the problem which it was intended to solve.”

– Karl Popper –

One Comment Add yours

  1. Jay says:

    In a short answer: Yes, we are social beings. I would argue very much so.

    Long answer, though: It’s complicated and does indeed have its nuance.

    To me, it seems more that you’re taking issue with the absolutism of the statement. No, indeed not every human can be social every second of every day, or with everyone we meet. Sometimes we’re eating ,sleeping, etc. Sometimes we just don’t like some of the people we meet, or we don’t have time for them. It might even be we’re just not in the mood to speak. However, there will still be interaction unless that person has already chosen to live the life of a hermit. We must buy food, we must work. If we share the house with someone we’ll often at least talk to them. In fact, more often that not, humans tend to be very inclined to socialize with others on the whole. We go out, we form interest groups, we crack jokes at work and blow off steam with our friends; tell our loved ones and family what ails us and allow them to make smile. As you have mentioned, these daily interactions do not have to be deep. Quite the contrary, they often aren’t. That’s more than enough, in my opinion, to stimulate the dopamine release in the brain that comes about from social interaction.

    Take this example: you wish to not interact with someone for an entire day. So you must not go to work, buy the shopping, you must lock yourself in a particular room and interact with no one else. You have your phone? Good, remove it. Or at the least, do not go on social media, do not watch a video on YouTube or any platform that allows comments, do not ring anyone, do not even text anyone. Answer honestly, does that sound easy? Or would you not be craving some interaction before long. Could you imagine doing so day after day?

    Of course, there are introverts, there’s no denying that. People who can put up with an absence of human contact for longer than most and often prefer it. I would argue, however, that they cannot go on indefinitely, or that in many ways they are still interacting, albeit not face to face, where they lack confidence. A shared meme or long text chain is as much social interaction as a chat at a bar, though the dopamine levels may differ. Even if they are particularly misanthropic, or simply capable of withstanding long periods without contact, I would argue they would eventually be welcoming of some social contact. Not that I think they would be able to avoid it much unless they became an aforementioned hermit.

    Regarding monks; you could argue the tradition, West or East, but the endpoint is the same, self imposed limited human contact (note: limited. They often would still live these lifestyles as part of convents or temples with a few other monks, still depending on other social contact) to allow their souls to get closer to God/Nirvana via a more rustic lifestyle. Despite the fact they would still interact with other humans on occasion, it is frequently noted as having taken colossal amounts of discipline to achieve, one reason why it was comparatively rare to become one even amongst holy orders and castes. Perhaps, you think of the yogi when you imagine these types. They truly encapsulate the self discipline needed to live without human interaction. But even then, there are stories of food being left outside their caves or of them demonstrating seemingly superhuman feats to awestruck crowds, so it seems even they could not go forever without some human interaction (even if it being a case of them wishing to socialize rather than needing to).

    Perhaps a better question would be what does an introverted lifestyle have to offer? Without doubt there shouldn’t be any stigma attached it. These people simply prefer infrequent external socialisation. Indeed a high degree of personal autonomy is as desirable and useful (we could debate to which extent) as great personal charisma. You must be able to follow your own path and be able to abide your own presence. After all, if you can’t live with yourself, then that is as much a mental deficit as being unable to socially interact. Given the current state of affairs, the self discipline, patience and ability to happily fill their own time that introverts tend to possess are skills that will be vital to us all now in this period of quarantine. It can certainly be viewed as a test of what we have discussed; are most people able to indure this level of self isolation? Given how often we see in the news another story of more people flouting lockdown, I think we can already see the answer.

    Still, this is only my opinion. As Herr Popper does indeed state, I can’t know everything, and there is bound to be something I be missed or not taken into consideration. Regardless, I liked the article and hope it’s a decent enough answer.

    Hope you had a good day, lockdown not withstanding, and that you are doing well in all this. Have a happy Easter and take care.

    Like

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