When I consider the lack of cooperation in society, I tell myself it is due to ignorance of our interdependent nature. I am often moved by little insects, like bees. The laws of nature dictate that they work together in order to survive, since they are endowed with an instinctive sense of social responsibility. They have no constitution, laws, police, religion, or moral education, but they faithfully work together because of their nature. There are times when they might fight, but in general the entire colony survives thanks to cooperation. Human beings have constitutions, elaborate legal systems and police forces, religions, remarkable intelligence, and hearts endowed with the ability to love. But despite these extraordinary qualities, in actual practice we lag behind the smallest of insects. In some ways, I feel that we are poorer than the bees.
… We have thrown ourselves so frantically into [the pursuit of material progress] that we have neglected to pay attention to the essential human needs of love, kindness, cooperation, and caring. It is clear to me that an authentic sense of responsibility can emerge only if we develop compassion. Only a spontaneous feeling of empathy toward others can motivate us to act on their behalf.
The fourteenth Dalai Lama, from the excerpt collection My Spiritual Journey.