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Is empathy outdated?
#76

Is empathy outdated?
(01-09-2019, 10:49 PM)Joods Wrote:
(01-09-2019, 03:00 PM)jerryg Wrote: I think it depends on the person.  Because when you hear about chickens in cages, a common complaint is "How would you like it if you were stuck in a cage your whole life."  The person making that argument is empathizing with the chickens.  Now, she's not actually feeling what the chicken is feeling, but she thinks she is.  She's saying "If I were in a cage, that would make me feel bad.  So now I know how the chicken is feeling."  

Which is another interesting aspect of empathy.  I've described it before as someone's ability to make everything about themselves.  By relating every experience in the world to themselves, they become more invested in every experience in the world.  

But if you want to separate sympathy and empathy, that's fine.  pretend I said "Are sympathy and empathy outdated."  I don't think it's too big a deal for an informal discussion.

When you start a thread discussing empathy how you feel it's outdated, then you cite an example, it's very important to have facts straight. 

I have ideas in my head, and unfortunately, I can't get them to other people without using words.  I sort of accept that it's like doing a Swedish to English translation where what I'm thinking of may not have a precise match in the english language.  But in super informal settings like this, I'm just shooting for people to get the gist of what I'm getting at, and see how that goes.  

So while sympathy and empathy may be two separate ideas in the English language, in the original text my brain came up with, the distinction is not particularly important.

To which you rightly say "That cuts the discussion of at the knees!  We can't get anywhere if we don't have precise language."  Which is true, but I'm not that worried about it, again, as this is just recreational thinking.  And I'm more interested about planting a general idea, and seeing what other people think (regardless of interpretation).  I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything, or argue a side.  Just chatting about nonsense with some internet strangers Smile
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#77

Is empathy outdated?
The boot cut jeans I wore in 2006 are outdated. The brick shaped cell phone I used in 1998 is outdated. Empathy, however, is not outdated.

We Homo sapiens evolved to affiliate, attach, cooperate. The ability to empathize is part and parcel of those behaviors. People who show themselves to be wholly unconcerned about other humans and unempathetic tend to be relegated to the fringes of society. This is also true of other groups of social mammals, including apes, who don't have the ability to have philosophical discussions about feelings and behavior. It's in our DNA.

-Teresa
There is in the universe only one true divide, one real binary, life and death. Either you are living or you are not. Everything else is molten, malleable.

-Susan Faludi, In the Darkroom
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#78

Is empathy outdated?
(01-08-2019, 08:24 PM)Dom Wrote: A person who is devoid of all empathy is called a psychopath.

If the world loses empathy, I don't want to be alive.

Good news! With a world full of psychopaths you probably won't be.
Kneel mortal before Whiskey I, Lord of Dalmore, Duke of Jameson, Defender of the Sloshed, and God-Emperor of Holy Terra.
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#79

Is empathy outdated?
I'm a simple man. I think empathy is good and should continue on forever. It's never outdated. Empathy is great. We should help others and feel for them. There isn't a need to make this complicated.

Being able to put yourself in the shoes of others is a very important skill. This is how we get social progress and also how we are able to help many people who don't have all their needs met. Those who are oppressed or are less off need allies who are better off.

Empathy is also something that you just feel. It's very natural (and good) to feel. I don't think people should try to suppress themselves. Especially if it's with things like empathy. Of course, we need to be careful with how we use our money and we can't help everyone, but never ever let your heart grow cold and hard. (Don't do this on purpose anyway. I know trauma is a thing. I don't want this post to get too long.)
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#80

Is empathy outdated?
(01-09-2019, 06:21 PM)abaris Wrote:
(01-09-2019, 06:14 PM)Catholic_Lady Wrote: While I agree with you on Trump being all about himself, I'm sure even he understands that killing innocent people is bad.

At one time he said something about shooting someone on main street and still getting elected. Over the top, of course and not a serious consideration, but no, I don't think he cares that much. There are numerous incidents in his past where he made his utter disregard for the wellbeing of others public. Such as a group of youngsters being falsely accused of murdering someone and when they finally got aquitted, he still publicly demanded capital punishment for them.

He's not unique, though. He's just a sociopathic personality. Earlier in this thread there was a discussion over leading figures often falling into that kind of category.

Trump is exhibit A for the absence of empathy.  He is only believable when he promises to do something cruel.
If it doesn't work, it doesn't matter how fast it doesn't work. ~ ???
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#81

Is empathy outdated?
I'm very much against empathy in the sense that Paul Bloom is:



So the OP may be interested in his book Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion. Paul Bloom literally wrote a book on this topic.
My Argument Against Free Will Wrote:(1) Ultimately, to control your actions you have to originate your original nature.

(2) But you can't originate your original nature—it's already there.

(3) So, ultimately, you can't control your actions.
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#82

Is empathy outdated?
I'm probably not good for conversations like this. The rabbit holes get too deep and abstract for me.
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#83

Is empathy outdated?
And, is empathy outdated?—Hell yes empathy is outdated! Tens of thousands of years outdated, in fact. Empathy was only relevant to primitive tribalistic cultures and it's very irrelevant to the world we live in now. And even when it was relevant it was NEVER moral. Empathy simply drove people to care about their family and friends more than strangers which isn't moral at all as it's completely biased and totally immoral. Empathy also breeds racism, sexism and homophobia.

Compassion is far superior to empathy.

The most moral action to take is often counterintuitive but the morally intuitive option to take is often horribly immoral ... and empathy is purely intuitive.

Empathy does FAR more harm than good. In fact, it's one of the biggest drivers of harm in the world. Again, it's extremely tribalistic. It's the basis for revenge and hatred.

Empathy is basically psychological projection in the name of compassion rather than actual compassion. A truly compassion doesn't have to feel that the other person is in pain they just have to know it ... a truly compassionate person cares about someone even when they can't relate to them. Empathy is very self-absorbed.

And, as you know, psychological projection is a very unhealthy and dysfunctional defense mechanism. Empathy is just that in the name of compassion when in fact it goes very much against compassion the vast majority of the time ... and on the few occasions when it doesn't that's purely down to luck because empathy doesn't actually figure out moral truths. It's purely instinctual and amoral in theory and usually immoral in practice.

(And, again, I'm talking about the sense of "empathy" that Bloom is criticizing).
My Argument Against Free Will Wrote:(1) Ultimately, to control your actions you have to originate your original nature.

(2) But you can't originate your original nature—it's already there.

(3) So, ultimately, you can't control your actions.
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#84

Is empathy outdated?
(01-10-2019, 03:17 PM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote: And, is empathy outdated?—Hell yes empathy is outdated! Tens of thousands of years outdated, in fact. Empathy was only relevant to primitive tribalistic cultures and it's very irrelevant to the world we live in now.

If you see someone dying in the streets and not walk by, that's empathy. The world would be a much worse hellhole than it already is, without empathy. As Dom said, right in the beginning. I wouldn't want to live in a world without empathy. It would be a world of sociopaths where everything has to matter for the individual only, and go screw the rest.

I know how you meant it. But empathy is fars superior to compassion, since it's an instinct that kicks in way before civilisation. It's even present in the animal world.
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#85

Is empathy outdated?
(01-10-2019, 03:08 PM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote: I'm very much against empathy in the sense that Paul Bloom is:



So the OP may be interested in his book Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion. Paul Bloom literally wrote a book on this topic.

I think that Paul Bloom is sort of confusing people about the meaning of words.  If he had called his book Against Rational Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion then his title would have sounded a bit silly.  Is there such a thing as compassion without empathy? I don't think so.

I don't think that anyone really believes the empathy, in and of itself, is a moral guide.  We all know that empathy is abused all the time. A couple of nights ago, Trump asked us to imagine how it feels to be the spouse of a police officer who is killed by an illegal immigrant. Most of us see right through that, obviously. But sure, there are tons and tons of times when empathy is appealed to in a way that abuses rationality, and we don't see it. This is the cognitive biases at work that I was talking about in my first post in this discussion, which regulate our empathy.  Our cognitive biases almost certainly evolved for the purpose of regulating empathy. When empathy might not be in the best interest of our tribe or other in-group that we belong to, the cognitive biases kick in for the benefit of our tribe. 

Our cognitive biases which block empathy or cause us to take empathy to irrational levels are not arguments against empathy. They are simply arguments for awareness concerning the abuse of empathy. It is an argument for being a bit skeptical of empathy.
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#86

Is empathy outdated?
(01-08-2019, 08:24 PM)Dom Wrote: A person who is devoid of all empathy is called a psychopath.

I'd say that a person without conscience is a psychopath.

Not a person without empathy. But if it's a person without cognitive empathy then that applies to plenty of autistic people (myself included) and it certainly doesn't make them psychopaths. It depends what you mean by empathy. Some people use it as a synonym for compassion ... but empathy and compassion are, of course, different.

I'm not able to feel what someone else feels. Doesn't mean that I don't accept that other people feel things ... and that their suffering is just as real and important as mine.

If I was a psychopath then I wouldn't just not feel what they felt but I wouldn't care about what they felt either.

I don't have empathy. But I do have compassion. Psychopaths don't have either.

In fact, psychopaths do have cognitive empathy. They just don't have emotional empathy. It's the cognitive empathy that enables them to manipulate people. I have neither cognitive not emotional empathy but I still have a conscience and compassion. (I barely even feel my own emotions let alone someone elses's).

Compassion, I think, is more than a feeling. It's actively caring about the suffering of others whether you can relate to their suffering or not. Psychopaths don't have that either. They only care about their own stimulation ... sometimes even at the expense of themselves as well as others.
My Argument Against Free Will Wrote:(1) Ultimately, to control your actions you have to originate your original nature.

(2) But you can't originate your original nature—it's already there.

(3) So, ultimately, you can't control your actions.
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#87

Is empathy outdated?
(01-10-2019, 04:46 PM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote:
(01-08-2019, 08:24 PM)Dom Wrote: A person who is devoid of all empathy is called a psychopath.

I'd say that a person without conscience is a psychopath.

Not a person without empathy. But if it's a person without cognitive empathy then that applies to plenty of autistic people (myself included) and it certainly doesn't make them psychopaths. It depends what you mean by empathy. Some people use it as a synonym for compassion ... but empathy and compassion are, of course, different.

I'm not able to feel what someone else feels. Doesn't mean that I don't accept that other people feel things ... and that their suffering is just as real and important as mine.

If I was a psychopath then I wouldn't just not feel what they felt but I wouldn't care about what they felt either.

I don't have empathy. But I do have compassion. Psychopaths don't have either.

In fact, psychopaths do have cognitive empathy. They just don't have emotional empathy. It's the cognitive empathy that enables them to manipulate people. I have neither cognitive not emotional empathy but I still have a conscience and compassion. (I barely even feel my own emotions let alone someone elses's).

Compassion, I think, is more than a feeling. It's actively caring about the suffering of others whether you can relate to their suffering or not. Psychopaths don't have that either. They only care about their own stimulation ... sometimes even at the expense of themselves as well as others.

I think you will feel empathy some day - something will happen to a person or animal in your life that you relate to so closely that you can feel it. I have no good reason to base this on, just the feeling I get from you.
[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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#88

Is empathy outdated?
(01-08-2019, 08:33 PM)Yonadav Wrote: A psychopath is someone who has break from reality.

No, that's psychosis. Psychopathic people are rarely psychotic. In fact they tend to be less likely to be psychotic than the average person, if anything, because they're less emotional and emotions are what often lead to delusions and psychosis.

Psychopaths are very rational and intellectually sane. They're just morally and emotionally insane. They are of sound mind in non-emotional and amoral ways but they are not of sound mind in emotional and moral ways. Part of their brain doesn't work but it's not the rational parts of their brain ... it's the part about caring about others.

Here is a quote from the world's biggest expert on psychopathy pointing out the fact that psychopaths are far from irrational:

“psychopaths are rational and aware of what they are doing and why. Their behavior is the result of choice, freely exercised.”
― Robert D. Hare, Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us

In fact, they're rational.

Again, psychosis is not psychopathy.

The difference between a psychopath and a sociopath is that a psychopath is born. It's a neurological problem. Their brain is simply incapable of caring about others. Whereas with sociopaths they may have cared when they were younger but trauma, abuse and other problems may have caused them to repress their ability to care about others.

Sociopaths are made ... psychopaths are born. Sociopaths also tend to be lower functioning.

Here's another interesting quote about psychopathy from the same expert:

“But isn’t the behavior of psychopaths maladaptive? The answer is that it may be maladaptive for society but it is adaptive for the individuals themselves.”
― Robert D. Hare, Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us
My Argument Against Free Will Wrote:(1) Ultimately, to control your actions you have to originate your original nature.

(2) But you can't originate your original nature—it's already there.

(3) So, ultimately, you can't control your actions.
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#89

Is empathy outdated?
(01-08-2019, 10:33 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: Empathy isn't a result of rational calculation of results

Which is exactly why it's not a good basis for morality.
My Argument Against Free Will Wrote:(1) Ultimately, to control your actions you have to originate your original nature.

(2) But you can't originate your original nature—it's already there.

(3) So, ultimately, you can't control your actions.
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#90

Is empathy outdated?
(01-08-2019, 11:21 PM)Catholic_Lady Wrote:
(01-08-2019, 10:59 PM)Dom Wrote: I happen to be cursed with too much empathy, that extends to everything alive. If it suffers, I suffer. I hate it. And it is not under my control. If I just turn my head and look away, it haunts me in my dreams.

Ugh, solidarity. 

For example, over a year ago a friend of mine, upon hearing I had cats, casually proceeded to tell me his family used to have a pet cat when he was a kid. I made the mistake of asking if they still owned the cat. He proceeded to tell me that once he moved out of the house to go to college, his mom decided she did not wanna take care of the cat anymore and dropped it off at a shelter. It got so depressed it stopped grooming itself and stopped eating. Two weeks later it was euthanized.

I'm not joking when I say I literally cried on my drive home. To this day, that story (and many others about animals and people) still haunts me. When I lay in bed to fall asleep I have to have something on - like a podcast or a TV show I can fall asleep to. Otherwise I'll start thinking of all the horrible things that happen to people/animals and it really affects me.

Anyway, sorry for the tangent. Just wanna say I relate to this so much.

That must be tough. It sounds utterly exhausting at best and distressing at worst.

I've honestly never cried for anyone or anything other than myself.

I'm sure I'd cry a whole lot if I lost someone I love. But only because I'd miss having them around (and I rarely want them around. It's all about quality rather than quantity for me. I'm closer to one of my brothers than any other family member but I still only want to see him about twice a year). So I think even that would be a selfish form of grief on my part.

I don't think that that makes me a psychopath because I do care and I do have a conscience. I just can't relate to people's feelings (I rarely even notice my own feelings ...) ... doesn't mean I don't think that they matter. I think everyone's feelings matter objectively just as much as mine do. I just can only feel mine.
My Argument Against Free Will Wrote:(1) Ultimately, to control your actions you have to originate your original nature.

(2) But you can't originate your original nature—it's already there.

(3) So, ultimately, you can't control your actions.
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#91

Is empathy outdated?
Oh, I should point out that there is one positive thing coming from empathy: I think that empathy is the basis for romantic love. It's also the basis for infatuation and broken hearts, of course, though. But both the best and worst relationships come about through empathy. I just certainly don't think that the best is worth the worst. It would be better if we all had average relationships than to have both the best and the worst. But, I am a cynic and a pessimist, of course. And glad of it.

I just honestly don't think even the greatest and most loving relationship is a price worth to pay for some of the worst behavior in the world. Romantic love alone isn't worth the revenge, hatred, tribalism, pride, shame and heartbreak that goes on in the world.

You may say that romantic love aids sexual reproduction and that the human race might even be more likely to die out without it.

To which I'd then also say: good. If people stopped reproducing and the human race died out then that would, morally speaking, be a VERY good thing. The best thing that could happen to planet earth, in fact. The human species causes far more suffering both towards other humans and animals than there would be without humans.

I'm against humans dying. But I'm very much in favor of extinction through lack of reproduction.

I'm against eugenics ... unless it's applied to everyone in the world.

Of course, if literally all life on earth stopped reproducing that would be even better. If the universe never existed in the first place that would be even better. I don't approve of the destruction of the universe, though, because that would cause a huge amount of suffering.

It's similar to how I don't agree with book burning so I would be very much against people burning every copy of The Bible. But would it be a good thing if The Bible was never written in the first place? Absolutely.

There may be some alien species out there that have no suffering and a lot of happiness ... but I suspect it's very rare indeed and it certainly isn't worth the suffering of the rest of the universe.

If you're philosophically inclined then you may think that I'm a negative utilitarian.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_utilitarianism

But I'm not. Not quite. Because I'm a negative consequentialist but I'm not a utilitarian so I can't be a negative utilitarian.

But we're getting into philosophy there and that's another subforum!
My Argument Against Free Will Wrote:(1) Ultimately, to control your actions you have to originate your original nature.

(2) But you can't originate your original nature—it's already there.

(3) So, ultimately, you can't control your actions.
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#92

Is empathy outdated?
(01-09-2019, 01:00 AM)tomilay Wrote: In the last big genocide in Rwanda, regular people butchered neighbors, colleagues, spouses, parents, friends etc. 

When one group butchers another group ... it's important to note that that's empathy-driven behavior.

It's just a more extreme version of when one group of football fans hates another group of football fans. Yet another example of empathy-driven behavior.
My Argument Against Free Will Wrote:(1) Ultimately, to control your actions you have to originate your original nature.

(2) But you can't originate your original nature—it's already there.

(3) So, ultimately, you can't control your actions.
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#93

Is empathy outdated?
(01-09-2019, 01:24 AM)tomilay Wrote:
(01-08-2019, 10:33 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: You're arguing from effect to cause. That innocent person is no less dead simply because you believe in your god; your belief doesn't change a single thing except your own behavior. Objective reasons for not killing innocents are easily reasoned or found.

Empathy isn't a result of rational calculation of results, it is a wellspring inside a person. Some folk have it, some folk have to learn it, and some folk never learn it. I'd be willing to bet that there is a correspondence in those three groupings between how they came to empathy (or didn't), and where they are in life, because assholes make enemies.

I'll also add that it can be just as well unlearned.  Folks who have it can be deprogrammed.

And thank fuck for that! Otherwise ethical philosophy would be doomed!

Like I said, the most ethical behavior is often counterintuitive and against empathy. The most compassionate thing to do often goes against what your feelings are telling you. Feelings are very biased things and bias is very much the enemy of morality.

People's feelings are ultimately what matter... but they're not the guide.

Suffering matters. Trying to reduce suffering by basing your actions on intuition and emotion ... not so much. Knowing that the other person is suffering and rationally trying to reduce it is a lot better than feeling what the other person feels and then acting based on emotional urges ... which often hurts them more than helps them. And feeling the anger of others and hatred of others only increases your own and ends up with you grouping up with others who have the same feelings ... and attacking others who have different feelings. Empathy is almost always very tribalistic and when it isn't it's too broad to be as helpful (feeling the pain of every lifeform you come across, and even those you think about and don't even come across ... isn't the best way to actually help those lifeforms).
My Argument Against Free Will Wrote:(1) Ultimately, to control your actions you have to originate your original nature.

(2) But you can't originate your original nature—it's already there.

(3) So, ultimately, you can't control your actions.
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#94

Is empathy outdated?
(01-10-2019, 05:53 PM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote:
(01-09-2019, 01:00 AM)tomilay Wrote: In the last big genocide in Rwanda, regular people butchered neighbors, colleagues, spouses, parents, friends etc. 

When one group butchers another group ... it's important to note that that's empathy-driven behavior.

It's just a more extreme version of when one group of football fans hates another group of football fans. Yet another example of empathy-driven behavior.

It is not empathy driven behavior. It is cognitive bias driven behavior. Cognitive bias isn't empathy. Cognitive bias short circuits empathy and causes antipathy. Take the example that I gave above about Trump abusing empathy by asking people to imagine the hurt felt by the spouse of a policeman who is murdered by an illegal immigrant. We can feel empathy for the spouse of a police officer who is murdered by an illegal immigrant without feeling antipathy toward illegal immigrants. That is what a rational person without a cognitive bias against immigrants would do. But a cognitive bias against illegal immigrants will cause a person to feel antipathy toward illegal immigrants rather than empathy for the spouse of the murdered policeman.
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#95

Is empathy outdated?
(01-09-2019, 01:15 AM)Dānu Wrote: The question that I've considered is, once we gain enough insight into human biology and brains in order to re-engineer the human species, and specifically to set the level of empathy or sensitivity, how would you determine what the appropriate amount or sensitivity of empathy should be?

I'd just turn it off completely, without a doubt, because I'm against empathy and I think it does more harm than good. And a little bit of harm caused by a little bit of empathy is worse than no harm caused by no empathy.

But then again: I'm biased because it's turned off for me and I consider myself a much better person than most people with empathy ... and I think that that is no coincidence.

I really think we need to move away from empathy as a value and towards compassion. Compassion is so much better and so much more important.

Compassion has all empathy's strengths without any of its weaknesses ... and then some. It's transcendent and unbiased. It allows you to care about people whose feelings you can't relate to. It is the direct opposite of tribalism—it's all-encompassing.

I think that the more we can move away from empathy and towards compassion, the better. Compassion is just sympathy on a higher and more objective level. And even sympathy is more effective than empathy because it doesn't necessarily imply having to feel the other person's feelings. But compassion makes it very clear that it transcends all that. Compassion rocks! Compassion FTW!
My Argument Against Free Will Wrote:(1) Ultimately, to control your actions you have to originate your original nature.

(2) But you can't originate your original nature—it's already there.

(3) So, ultimately, you can't control your actions.
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#96

Is empathy outdated?
(01-10-2019, 06:07 PM)Yonadav Wrote: It is not empathy driven behavior. It is cognitive bias driven behavior. Cognitive bias isn't empathy.

It absolutely is empathy-driven behavior and empathy absolutely motivates people to have that cognitive bias.

We have very much evolved to have more empathy for those we are genetically related to or are close friends with and to not have empathy for strangers.

It's possible to have empathy for a wider group ... but it's hard to actually help anyone when you feel that much pain for so many people and lifeforms ... and even when you can it's not an objective guide.

To transcend all that and to objectively care for the suffering of everyone and all lifeforms without being bogged down or moved around by irrational and potentially harmful feelings of empathy is far superior. That is compassion and compassion is greater than empathy.

Hatred and anger are driven by empathy. Revenge is driven by empathy.

It absolutely is empathy-driven behavior... you're just literally defining empathy as a good thing by definition which isn't an argument for empathy. Empathy doesn't have an argument for itself it just has "touchy feels good because touchy feels". Empathy doesn't just include all the good stuff it includes the bad stuff as well. People very much do do bad things for empathetic reasons. Empathy isn't compassion. Empathy is feeling the feelings of others and that can lead to both good and bad things ... it's not any sort of basis for doing the right thing. Instinct isn't a guide for good behavior. It's a guide for primitive and tribalistic behavior.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions ... and those good intentions are usually empathy-driven. And that's that. Righteous indignation is often unrighteous and just an example of one mob being violent towards another mob, both mobs thinking they're in the right and both mobs are feeling a lot of empathy for people but just disagreeing (and certainly not disagreeing in a rational, detached, dispassionate and compassionate way as they should).

Compassion is transcendent and dispassionate ... empathy is attached and primitive. It's collective rather than individualistic. And all correct ethical theories are individualistic and care about individuals.

That's another problem: Empathy drives people to care about groups rather than persons and individuals. When more people suffer people tend to feel more pain and that's logically incoherent because only individuals suffer; not a mass person. There's a consciousness barrier between us all and empathy is based on the delusion that there isn't. All it really is is psychological projection but it unwittingly pretends to be telepathic without realizing it. No one can really feel the feelings of anyone but themselves for real—it's logically and metaphysically impossible to do that. That's not any more possible than a square with five sides is possible.

Empathy is responsible for dividing us into separate races, genders and sexualitiy and pretending that those differences matter. It's responsible for all the shitty identity politics going on today. It's responsible for virtue signalling and illiberal behavior in the name of liberty. It's responsible for a lot of hypocrisy, self-delusion and self-deception (after all, psychological projection is a form of self-deception, and empathy is nothing more than psychological projection with a positive connotation—a positive connotation it isn't really worthy of when it comes to its terrible track record).

It's responsible for almost all the bad behavior that a human can do but most animals can't. Pretty much anytime humans get together in groups and unreflectingly do bad things in the name of a greater good that they haven't thought through properly—that's empathy causing that.
My Argument Against Free Will Wrote:(1) Ultimately, to control your actions you have to originate your original nature.

(2) But you can't originate your original nature—it's already there.

(3) So, ultimately, you can't control your actions.
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#97

Is empathy outdated?
(01-10-2019, 06:12 PM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote:
(01-09-2019, 01:15 AM)Dānu Wrote: The question that I've considered is, once we gain enough insight into human biology and brains in order to re-engineer the human species, and specifically to set the level of empathy or sensitivity, how would you determine what the appropriate amount or sensitivity of empathy should be?

I'd just turn it off completely, without a doubt, because I'm against empathy and I think it does more harm than good. And a little bit of harm caused by a little bit of empathy is worse than no harm caused by no empathy.

But then again: I'm biased because it's turned off for me and I consider myself a much better person than most people with empathy ... and I think that that is no coincidence.

I really think we need to move away from empathy as a value and towards compassion. Compassion is so much better and so much more important.

Compassion has all empathy's strengths without any of its weaknesses ... and then some. It's transcendent and unbiased. It allows you to care about people whose feelings you can't relate to. It is the direct opposite of tribalism—it's all-encompassing.

I think that the more we can move away from empathy and towards compassion, the better. Compassion is just sympathy on a higher and more objective level. And even sympathy is more effective than empathy because it doesn't necessarily imply having to feel the other person's feelings. But compassion makes it very clear that it transcends all that. Compassion rocks! Compassion FTW!

The shortcoming of compassion, is that there's not a lot of motivation to be compassionate.  I don't think it's coincidental that Empathy is about self-interest.  The same way the "Golden Rule"  (do unto others as you'd have them do unto you) also makes everything about you.   

You're absolutely right, that a compassionate population would probably have the best results, but how would that come about?  What's the driver that pushes people towards that mentality in the absence of empathy rather than say "fuck everyone else, I'll do what's best for me."?
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#98

Is empathy outdated?
(01-10-2019, 06:23 PM)jerryg Wrote: The shortcoming of compassion, is that there's not a lot of motivation to be compassionate.

And that's no coincidence.

This is because we haven't evolved to be moral or compassionate. We've evolved to be amoral and empathetic. We've evolved to care about our own genes—which includes our own genes in others ... and includes other people who don't share our genes but are able to help our genes if we help them. We scratch their genes' backs and they scratch our genes' backs.

People across the world? Genuine compassion? Non-tribalistic behavior?

We certainly DO lack motivation for that.

The fact that the most moral behavior, and compassion, lacks motivation but the most immoral behavior and empathy has plenty of motivation is exactly why the world is so fucked.

 
Quote:I don't think it's coincidental that Empathy is about self-interest.  The same way the "Golden Rule"  (do unto others as you'd have them do unto you) also makes everything about you.

Exactly. Empathy is completely selfish and it deludes itself into thinking it isn't. It's a form of self-deception. It's nothing more than projecting your own suffering onto others. It's caring about the feelings of others only because YOU know what it's like for YOU to have those feelings ... and if you are unable to project your suffering onto them then you don't give a shit about them. If they're an enemy of your suffering, whether it's suffering for yourself directly, or suffering for yourself indirectly projected onto others: you'll demonize them and treat them psychopathically—as naught but objects. Empathy isn't the opposite of psychopathy. It's an example of self-deceived and non-self-aware psychopathy in action; convincing itself that it's a good person. It's what happens when psychopathy gets projected onto a larger scale and becomes groupthink. Many empathetic groups of people have behaved in psychopathic ways to "the other" and that is no coincidence. It's merely psychopathy that is just as purely selfish but it considers the whole group to be itself, and other groups to be the "evil" enemy.

The opposite of psychopathy isn't empathy ... it's compassion. It's the ability to transend the self ... not to project it onto others or amplify it into a group scale.

Quote:You're absolutely right, that a compassionate population would probably have the best results, but how would that come about?

If we neurologically rewired the human population, lol. Otherwise it's not gonna happen. People are too selfish and empathetic. People are too human. The world is fucked because it's human nature to be uncompassionate and selfish. 

Quote: What's the driver that pushes people towards that mentality in the absence of empathy rather than say "fuck everyone else, I'll do what's best for me."?

Ethical philosophy is the driver and yes the vast majority of the people not only aren't interested but they never will be. Evolution pushes people towards empathy, hatred, revenge, tribalism and sexual jealousy ... it doesn't push people towards ethical philosophy.

I think that if everyone were truly compassionate then the human race would involve people being kind to each other from mostly doing no harm to each other ... they would be less ambitious and less social ... and they would only reproduce if it was certain that their children would be equally compassionate towards themselves and others (including other species) ... and if it wasn't certain then they would, rightly, let the human species die out.

I mean, if the morally correct thing to do is to stop reproducing ... then it's no wonder that we haven't evolved to do that lol ... it's impossible in principle for evolution to drive us to do the right thing if the right thing is to do the very thing that goes against our evolution more than anything else (Other than suicide*. But that's another example. If self-euthanization was the morally right thing to do then that's just something that we're never going to be driven to do as a species, by definition, as we're driven by evolution and that's completely against evolution)

*There's another example right there. Suicide is often wrongly considered "selfish" when it's the people who say that that are selfish. Like, such people only say it's selfish because they're thinking about their own pain from missing the person ... rather than actually giving a shit about the suicidal person's feelings. It's ironic that empathy also drives people to have no empathy for the suicidal. This is because empathy is driven by genetics and suicide is anti-genetics (it literally kills off your own genes). Non-suicidal people can't relate to, or empathize with, suicidal people. Everyone who is suicidal gets deemed "selfish" and treated as The Other until such a person themselves becomes suicidal and then they suddenly magically have empathy for suicidal people Toetap
My Argument Against Free Will Wrote:(1) Ultimately, to control your actions you have to originate your original nature.

(2) But you can't originate your original nature—it's already there.

(3) So, ultimately, you can't control your actions.
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#99

Is empathy outdated?
(01-10-2019, 06:21 PM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote:
(01-10-2019, 06:07 PM)Yonadav Wrote: It is not empathy driven behavior. It is cognitive bias driven behavior. Cognitive bias isn't empathy.

It absolutely is empathy-driven behavior and empathy absolutely motivates people to have that cognitive bias.

We have very much evolved to have more empathy for those we are genetically related to or are close friends with and to not have empathy for strangers.

It's possible to have empathy for a wider group ... but it's hard to actually help anyone when you feel that much pain for so many people and lifeforms ... and even when you can it's not an objective guide.

To transcend all that and to objectively care for the suffering of everyone and all lifeforms without being bogged down or moved around by irrational and potentially harmful feelings of empathy is far superior.  That is compassion and compassion is greater than empathy.

Hatred and anger are driven by empathy. Revenge is driven by empathy.

It absolutely is empathy-driven behavior... you're just literally defining empathy as a good thing by definition which isn't an argument for empathy. Empathy doesn't have an argument for itself it just has "touchy feels good because touchy feels". Empathy doesn't just include all the good stuff it includes the bad stuff as well. People very much do do bad things for empathetic reasons. Empathy isn't compassion. Empathy is feeling the feelings of others and that can lead to both good and bad things ... it's not any sort of basis for doing the right thing. Instinct isn't a guide for good behavior. It's a guide for primitive and tribalistic behavior.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions ... and those good intentions are usually empathy-driven. And that's that. Righteous indignation is often unrighteous and just an example of one mob being violent towards another mob, both mobs thinking they're in the right and both mobs are feeling a lot of empathy for people but just disagreeing (and certainly not disagreeing in a rational, detached, dispassionate and compassionate way as they should).

Compassion is transcendent and dispassionate ... empathy is attached and primitive. It's collective rather than individualistic.  And all correct ethical theories are individualistic and care about individuals.

That's another problem: Empathy drives people to care about groups rather than persons and individuals. When more people suffer people tend to feel more pain and that's logically incoherent because only individuals suffer; not a mass person. There's a consciousness barrier between us all and empathy is based on the delusion that there isn't. All it really is is psychological projection but it unwittingly pretends to be telepathic without realizing it. No one can really feel the feelings of anyone but themselves for real—it's logically and metaphysically impossible to do that. That's not any more possible than a square with five sides is possible.

Empathy is responsible for dividing us into separate races, genders and sexualitiy and pretending that those differences matter. It's responsible for all the shitty identity politics going on today. It's responsible for virtue signalling and illiberal behavior in the name of liberty. It's responsible for a lot of hypocrisy, self-delusion and self-deception (after all, psychological projection is a form of self-deception, and empathy is nothing more than psychological projection with a positive connotation—a positive connotation it isn't really worthy of when it comes to its terrible track record).

It's responsible for almost all the bad behavior that a human can do but most animals can't. Pretty much anytime humans get together in groups and unreflectingly do bad things in the name of a greater good that they haven't thought through properly—that's empathy causing that.

You keep making things up, and you are wildly inconsistent. Having less empathy for strangers and feeling antipathy toward them are two entirely different things. You are pretending that antipathy is a kind of empathy. It isn't. Again, the example of Trump asking us to imagine how the spouse of a policeman who is murdered by an illegal immigrant feels. Empathy is the ability to feel their pain. A rational person with no cognitive bias will feel their pain without feeling antipathy toward immigrants.  A person with a cognitive bias will feel antipathy toward immigrants. The first is entirely rational. The second is an irrational response induced by a cognitive bias.

I am not trying to define empathy as a good thing by definition. Empathy can be abused. Empathy can be manipulated. Empathy, in and of itself, is not terribly useful without rationality. We need to be aware of our biases.
 
Also, empathy sans cognitive biases is a very useful tool for understanding the motivations of other people and anticipating their actions.
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Is empathy outdated?
I haven't read all four pages of this thread so I don't know  if the thread has wondered off topic a little bit . 

I have  an over supply of empathy.  I have extra,  so if you want some I've got empathy to spare!  My heart aches for the suffering I see, whether it's in the news, the internet or anywhere.   It especially hit me after having children.  Seeing children in other countries starving to death  would have me in tears.  I don't know if it was hormones or post pregnancy brain or what  but it was a very profound change from my pre motherhood days and  I've never completely gotten over it.
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