Empathy Is Actually a Choice

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Post by Guest on Sun Jul 12, 2015 3:37 pm

ONE death is a tragedy. One million is a statistic.

You’ve probably heard this saying before. It is thought to capture an unfortunate truth about empathy: While a single crying child or injured puppy tugs at our heartstrings, large numbers of suffering people, as in epidemics, earthquakes and genocides, do not inspire a comparable reaction. Studies have repeatedly confirmed this. It’s a troubling finding because, as recent research has demonstrated, many of us believe that if more lives are at stake, we will — and should — feel more empathy (i.e., vicariously share others’ experiences) and do more to help.

Not only does empathy seem to fail when it is needed most, but it also appears to play favorites. Recent studies have shown that our empathy is dampened or constrained when it comes to people of different races, nationalities or creeds. These results suggest that empathy is a limited resource, like a fossil fuel, which we cannot extend indefinitely or to everyone.


http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/12/opinion/sunday/empathy-is-actually-a-choice.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0

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Post by veya_victaous on Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:19 pm

empathy can be extended infinitely but not if that empathy is 'unrealistic' if it is realistic then yes victor can feel empathy for the rabbit he shoots.

The real difference is Acceptance of the reality that life is not kind. death, the act of killing is an intrinsic part of all sentient lifeforms existence.

It is that people are unrealistic, life consumes life. We are not made in the image of some sky giants with a world filled with unthinking things for us to use and abuse at will. We live in a world filled with other organism that also compete in the crucible of life. That have undergone just as much evolution as ourselves they have struggled to survive for just as long as us.  
Just because the carrot doesn't have a face doesn't make it any less alive, Fungus have been shown to react to physical threats like heat so there is every possibility the feel themselves being peeled and cooked too.


Really we need no further proof than the fact that some humans struggle to extend empathy to their whole species let alone other life forms to show Mankind is still just a bunch of violent hairless apes currently masquerading as 'peaceful' for the benefit of ourselves.

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Post by Guest on Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:10 am

Empathy is instinctive, and I fail to see why people would show less empathy to large numbers than to one. In fact, I distrust people who can only show empathy to one person. Is suffering reduced when it is a large number? Don't you instinctively feel absolute horror the larger the number and feel completely frustrated and rage that you can't do anything about it?

As for empathy being 'vicariously share others’ experiences', no it isn't. Empathy is being able to understand that the experience they are going through would produce certain feelings in yourself, and to feel for the people concerned that they are feeling that pain. You can't share someone else's experience, they are the only ones who can feel it. You can however know the level of pain the experience must cause and have a wish to take that pain away, no matter how much you know you can't.

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Post by veya_victaous on Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:50 am

@Sassy
I would suggest the wish to take it away is not necessary for empathy, it is the 'understanding of the other' that is the empathy. the wish to take it away is 'kindness' or 'sympathy' and correctly they often exist together. Empathy can exist but be over ridden by 'acceptance of fate'.



I found the OP article weird, but I agree with  premise that you can improve you empathy, they suggest for other races (and if you have that problem then you should) but I suggest for 'other life' to the broadest definition ...  

think I am expecting a little bit too much from a violent hairless ape Suspect Suspect Suspect

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Post by Guest on Mon Jul 13, 2015 5:48 am

I think people are completely missing the point of what the study is showing of which there i countless examples of this happenning, which to me has much to do with each country and what it prioritizes in the media of events. You will see a huge outcry to the likes of a Weestern journalist being beheaded by ISIS, but the mass killing of Yazadi's, Christians and Iraqi Soldiers by ISIS willnot envoke the same reaction. his is what the article is talking about in regards to empathy and how a public reacts.

Another example we can look at for the same day the events happened. On January 7th 2015 we had the Charlie Hebdo shootings. ON the very same day there was a bombing in Yemen that killed 3 times as many people yet this received hardly any media attention. Much of this has to do with media attenion and reporting.

When the there is huge natural disasters these are given mass media time and so much empathy is seen with many people giving help through money and aid. You can see a continued pattern here but there clearly is a element of what shocks or angers people more dependent on the nation or culture they come from.

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Post by veya_victaous on Mon Jul 13, 2015 6:16 am

And i think you miss the point that the vast majority of human's suck. they fall hook line and sinker for pretty obvious propaganda that very much plays in the primitive 'my tribe' mentality. So yes it would be expected when looking at overall numbers for there to be institutional racism since our societies up until very recently had been defined by it.

Veya wrote:the fact that some humans struggle to extend empathy to their whole species let alone other life forms, shows Mankind is still just a bunch of violent hairless apes currently masquerading as 'peaceful' for the benefit of ourselves.

Maybe Empathy was never universal in homo sapiens, even today Progress is made by the LW eventually convincing the RW that it is not that bad, it is OK, there is no need to be so scared.


Anyway I think the OP article is an excuse for the fact that "man is not kind" that many (approx 50%) are cowardly selfish people that can only feel empathy when they can directly imagine themselves in the circumstance. a.k.a the right wing

those who are truly empathetic extend it to animals and even plants. So the idea that it even could possibly be finite is only comprehensible to an individual "pretending to have empathy" which in an evolutionary sense humans need to be at least able to pretend they have empathy or else the rest of the tribe will realize they are useless when shit hits the fan.

To those with empathy it is infinite. to go back to the example of Victor and the rabbit, like the native American, he could offer prayers for the Rabbit that's life must be taken to sustain his own. that act in itself shows Empathy, but that empathy did not get in the way of what is necessary.


I have killed the deer.

I have crushed the grasshopper.

And the plants he feeds upon.

I have taken fish from the water.

And birds from the sky.

In my life I have needed death

So that my life can be.

When I die I must give life

To what has nourished me.

The earth receives my body

And gives it to the plants

And to the caterpillars

To the birds

And to the coyotes

Each in its own turn so that

The circle of life is never broken.

- See more at: http://www.blackhawkproductions.com/poetrynative.htm#sthash.dQ9pkIFn.dpuf

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Post by Guest on Mon Jul 13, 2015 6:35 am

Saying humans suck comes from a very deluded perception you have where you yourself place more empathy on machines than you do humans. The very fact that when humans lives are in great peril people rise up to help them shows that your views are at best ignorant or lacking a decent education.

For one in WW2 many groups of people not under direct threat or a problem that was their own rose to the challenge and took on this evil that had descended onto the world. That is people risking their lives for in the vast majority not a cause of their own but of their Governments or other people. People have the empathy its more about how it is portrayed in the media how they will react.

It does not mean that they care less, it is what will grab their attention more than other situations. Your claims to 50% is sheer gibberish also where you seem to have pulled this percentage out of a hat and offer no substance or evidence to your claim. Daily people give money to charities and as seen often help people where they do not need to. They can only do this is they have empathy. The only difference happens on where that empathy is being directed on concentrated on by the media. That is the power of the media it can sway what we concentrate on.

I am very aware and back the beliefs Victor has around hunting and his care for animals, which again you find in many humans their care and empathy for animals. All the evidence points to the fact humans have empathy in abundance but their first point of call for helping others will be those closest to them, ie, their own family. You though seem to fail to understand importance and what will be important to people first and foremost. Materialism has not helped in the world today and neither has the advent of the internet, as it has turned average people into thinking they know many things which as seen you do not. You place poor stereotypes onto people because of your warped perceptions.

There is plenty of good in people and we see it daily, fro holding open a door for someone to even saying good morning. You just need to open your eyes more and you will see empathy in abundance around you. Again the empathy can be swayed in a direction by the media

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Post by veya_victaous on Mon Jul 13, 2015 6:55 am

lol machines, try trees
50% the amount that vote for RW parties Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes

Considering you have admitted once being racist and homophobic
YOU CANT TALK
you don't have natural empathy. by your own admission


these things are incomprehensible to me I cannot understand how one can look at a weed and not see another life. let alone another person just because of the colour of their skin.


And it is 100% they think less, tribal evolution means it was not necessary for them to be intelligent. And media has become really good at being the dominating voice that allows of the convincing of fools.

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Post by Guest on Mon Jul 13, 2015 6:59 am

Claiming RW people have no empathy shows your argument falls apart from the start and why I really fail to understand why I even bother entertaining your ridiculous views.
Like I say you pull out a percentage out of a hat and make an absurd view point that lacks any substance.
So why is it I am not racist and homophobia and yet still right wing?
I was only racist for a short time and both views came more from religious view points than any political view points, showing again your lack of understanding anything.

So after I showed your views were flawed you have nothing to counter. To base how you see things and then not others view as you do shows you actually lack empathy and fail to see why.

I am off to work, debating you is liking listening to some claw their nails across a blackboard.

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Post by Eilzel on Mon Jul 13, 2015 10:27 am

In terms of politics I think LW thinking does show more empathy than RW. Reason being in its purest form RW economic ideology typically blames the poor for their position and want to offer as little help as possible. It is LW ideology that theoretically want to give to the poor via welfare, however economically viable that may or may not be.

But I think empathy is really more apparent in the liberal/conservative split on social issues. Liberals pushed against racism, sexism and homophobia and for more to help the disabled out of empathy, often while more conservative minded people stood against those changes.

This does not mean all RW or conservative people have no empathy of course.

In regards to the OP, I don't think empathy is a 'choice' in the literal sense, but is something that can develop over time. Some never. Children famously have little empathy, but for many adults they never mature in particularly empathetic people at all, possibly due to personal self interest or limited experience with others.

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Post by Guest on Mon Jul 13, 2015 10:34 am

Agree Les, though finding the few RW that have empathy is quite difficult Twisted Evil

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Post by Guest on Mon Jul 13, 2015 10:41 am

Eilzel wrote:In terms of politics I think LW thinking does show more empathy than RW. Reason being in its purest form RW economic ideology typically blames the poor for their position and want to offer as little help as possible. It is LW ideology that theoretically want to give to the poor via welfare, however economically viable that may or may not be.

But I think empathy is really more apparent in the liberal/conservative split on social issues. Liberals pushed against racism, sexism and homophobia and for more to help the disabled out of empathy, often while more conservative minded people stood against those changes.

This does not mean all RW or conservative people have no empathy of course.

In regards to the OP, I don't think empathy is a 'choice' in the literal sense, but is something that can develop over time. Some never. Children famously have little empathy, but for many adults they never mature in particularly empathetic people at all, possibly due to personal self interest or limited experience with others.

Sorry Eilzel that really is a poor claim to make on empathy, because empathy can cover a great many things, not just things you believe people should have empathy for. To say RW people have less empathy than LW for example is basing this on certain issues.
Its a poor generalization.

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Post by Eilzel on Mon Jul 13, 2015 11:53 am

I said based on general political ideology. The lasseiz faire approach of RW politics demonstrates less empathy than the redistribution of wealth so everyone has equal opportunities in life.

I did not say RW people all have less empathy than LW people, I made an observation based on typical political stances.

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Post by veya_victaous on Mon Jul 13, 2015 10:39 pm

Eilzel wrote:I said based on general political ideology. The lasseiz faire approach of RW politics demonstrates less empathy than the redistribution of wealth so everyone has equal opportunities in life.

I did not say RW people all have less empathy than LW people, I made an observation based on typical political stances.

Correct Les
Core RW economic policy by Definition is free market a.k.a everyman for themselves

I think RW people do still have empathy but it is limited like the OP suggests which is why didge thinks it is correct as to him it is correct, his empathy is a limited resource. Cool

I don't think all (or even most) LW people are naturally highly empathetic either. the LW/RW divide still has major 'tribal' elements too it.



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