Share good ideas and conversation.   Login or Take a Tour!
comment by bioemerl
bioemerl  ·  969 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Unerased: Counting Transgender Lives

I have empathy, but empathy is something that is triggered when you look at someone sad and dying on the streets, not numbers and abstract concepts. Empathy keeps us from murdering one another, it keeps us helping those who are sick, because we feel their pain when we see them.

What you refer to is not empathy, but "social requirement to express empathy based on abstract concept." I will not claim to feel something I don't, and I think all of the people out there who work themselves up with all their "empathy" on things like this are telling a lie, and a dangerous one at that.

Until we understand that people really don't care when you present them with statistics like this, that our empathy is not this thing that persists in our entire world and thoughts, we will never recognize that we can't rely on it to kick in when dealing with the "big picture." We cannot rely on empathy. It can be overridden by as little as fear of standing out from your group, or the orders of authority. It can be turned to hatred and scorn that leads to genocide. We must rely on knowing how we think, how we act, and arranging our society so that it works as well as possible using that fact, rather than denying it exists.

Empathy doesn't back all human action, and it shouldn't. If it did, we'd have gone extinct long ago when we were starving in an ice age and refused to put our own lives over that of the cute animals we'd have to kill for meat.