“Are emotions necessary for human survival? Why or why not?”
I think open ended questions like this tend to require specification in order to actually understand and approach the topic. This question, for example, is vague in regards to the word ‘human’. Are we talking about survival of the human race or individuals? Also, what constitutes as ’emotions’?
My short answer to this question is that no, I don’t think emotions are necessary. I believe that the human race would live on if we suddenly were stripped of all emotion. Of course, society wouldn’t be the same, and it would probably turn into something that isn’t really recognizable as ‘human’, but I don’t think lack of emotion would lead tot he extinction of the human race.
But there is more going on here. To the individual, I think emotions are very important. a person can’t function correctly if they have their emotions mixed up, and though sociopathy isn’t a lack of emotions, there are perceivable similarities as to how somebody without any emotion would behave. If we were all sociopaths that didn’t feel anything, our world would start to more closely resemble a science fiction world ruled by artificial intelligence: mechanical efficiency valued over everything else. Technically, the individual could survive without emotions, too, but in so doing a piece of what society calls ‘humanity’ is lost.
So I guess what I’m saying is that I think emotions actually hold us back from what we as a sentient race are truly capable of, but at the same time I think emotions as a whole provide justification for our existence. Without emotions, what is the point of living? We may accomplish great things, but if it costs our humanity to do that, is it worth it?
I don’t like sitting on the fence with questions like this, but I feel like this one in particular is one that requires more scrutiny. I say ‘no’ its not necessary for survival, but immediately after that say ‘yes’ and preface it with ‘human’ survival, because I believe that we are a product of our emotions. As functioning life forms I think we can technically manage with very little, but at the same time I also believe there is more to life than waking up and taking care of responsibilities before going back to bed. As an artist, I’m not afraid to make that stereotypical comment regarding the fact that one has not truly lived if you haven’t seen both great sadness and joy.
It’s strange, because I define my life by the opposite of those idioms. I value efficiency and bluntness, but at the same time criticize it for not being human. Perhaps its because I believe we should all have the choice to do as we will, and it isn’t my fault if people choose poorly focusing on things that aren’t really important.
As always, my opinion could be based on false logic, but I think we could all benefit from asking ourselves questions like this from time to time.