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Is empathy outdated?

Is empathy outdated?
(01-18-2019, 06:49 PM)robvalue Wrote: I think it’s somewhat circular when it comes to yourself. If you have empathy, this will run counter to any attempts you make to try and diminish your empathy. In everyday life this seems an unlikely course of events; it would probably mostly happen as a result of necessity in dire situations. So generally you’re stuck with having it or not, whatever the "best" option may be. There’s no doubt empathy can hamstring you. I know I have too much, more than has any practical use. But there’s not much I can do about it without trying to traumatise myself or something. I’d rather just accept who I am, unless a time comes when this would prove to be a serious problem.

What someone could do is to try and diminish the empathy of their offspring, if they deemed it to be somehow a bad trait. I would imagine this would be unlikely to happen if the parents had empathy themselves. A psychopath however may well want to do this.

It all comes down to what you’re trying to achieve, and again this is somewhat circular. If you have empathy, you’ll probably want to achieve goals which satisfy that empathy. It can be hard to overrule this in favour of a different kind of goal, but no doubt this has happened in "greater good" situations. Not having empathy is certainly helpful in making objective decisions, but the kind of outcomes such a person has in mind will likely not be what other people want, most of the time. In some extreme situations a psychopath can be just what is needed however, when their own self-interest lines up with the good of the group, and no one else could/would go through with what needs doing.

Yeah, I didn't think there was a solution.  I just see people in the United States in the 21st century absolutely killing it in terms of the necessities.  Food, security, shelter, reproduction, entertainment, comfort, etc...  And we're a bunch of sad sacks.  Just a cloud of malaise blanking the populace, and it's such a waste.  A beautiful sunny day in the park, but some lady is crying because a Guatemalan kid died a couple thousand miles away.

It's not a matter of fixing this.  Just remarking on what is happening.  That likely the pinnacle of human existence, and people are still sad/angry.  I wonder if there were times when it was just a 50 person tribe, if despite the increased difficulties of surviving, they were happier thanks to their ignorance of the rest of the world.
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Is empathy outdated?
(01-19-2019, 05:52 PM)jerryg Wrote:
(01-18-2019, 08:47 PM)JesseB Wrote:
(01-18-2019, 04:06 PM)jerryg Wrote: A LOT of people out there really care about random strangers.  A really lot.  That's why the local news always leads with car accidents and the national news loves it some tragedies.  Why politicians always tell stories about about Bertha, who's 84 on a fixed income and has to chose between her medicine and lunch.  Hell, fictional characters suffering makes people cry.  People dedicate their lives to protecting animals.  And you can even read in this thread, several people have talked about how they experience all this.

The connections many people feel to everything they know about is incredibly strong.  Strong enough to heavily influence their quality of life.  I think what you're mistaking with political empathy, is that a lot of people do want to help, and just don't have the resources to so practically.  So they feel bad/angry/helpless.

Prove it. Buy me enough food to eat for a year.... Didn't think so.....

Ah, it's not about "random" strangers, and it might not even be about caring. Most of the time these "random" acts of kindness are for the brownie points. The ones that are legit you never hear about cause a true act of kindness doesn't get bragged about later.

Crying doesn't mean you care dude. It's not some great expense to cry and say "Oh how horrible for you." You know what show's people you care? Money. Why? Crying doesn't do shit. Money keeps a fucker from starving to death. Guess how I know this?


I'm not saddled with this particular affliction. so I don't mind if you starve to death.  

But this isn't about you starving to death.  This is about how you starving to death would negatively impact others, even though almost nobody should care if you starve to death.  I'm sure it'd ruin the evening of multiple posters on this forum.  Or if somebody did a news story about your death, random folks would see that and feel lousy.  

My contention, is that that the negative reaction to you starving to death is unnecessary.  We needed it back in the day, because losing a person in your tribe mattered.  But now that there's 8 billion of us, losing you should be inconsequential, and it shouldn't put a damper on anyone's mood outside those with an vested interest in you not dying.

That's what's outdated.  A lot of people are negatively affected by something bad happening to you now for no practical purpose.  I think that's counterproductive to our interests.

Eh, my death would affect no one. There's not a damn person alive that would be that tore up at my death. Fuck if I actually died, none of you would ever even fucking know. Now that's just me. 

But I think you missed the point. All I was saying is nice words, saying you'll "pray" for someone, crying, screaming "OH THE HUMANITY!" in an overly dramatic way to draw attention specifically to yourself and not the actual people hurting..... that shit is low energy, it's low cost, it's pretty worthless and meaningless. People think empathy is these worthless meaningless gestures and that's kinda lame.... idk clearly I'm the ONLY one that thinks so though.... I think what's more meaningful is actually fucking doing something. Or as they used to say. Put your money where your mouth is. Doesn't mean give me money literally (which I did technically point out), it just means if you ain't doing something your "empathy" isn't worth shit, so put up or shut up. Seriously people in need don't want your fucking empty sympathy. Promise you that.
The universe doesn't give a fuck about you. Don't cry though, at least I do.
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Is empathy outdated?
Sounds like you think empathy in its current form is outdated.
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Is empathy outdated?
(01-19-2019, 11:11 PM)jerryg Wrote: Sounds like you think empathy in its current form is outdated.

Maybe.... personally though I don't think that's empathy at all. I think it's just stupid people that don't really understand the concept of empathy, or fake people that are full of shit.

But then the closest thing to the bible I have is "Catcher in the Rye" so of course I would think that way....
The universe doesn't give a fuck about you. Don't cry though, at least I do.
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Is empathy outdated?
(01-18-2019, 04:06 PM)jerryg Wrote:
(01-17-2019, 10:51 PM)Grandizer Wrote:
(01-17-2019, 02:28 PM)jerryg Wrote: I wasn't saying that it didn't still have a purpose.  I'm saying that it didn't scale with the number of people we are aware of.  Caring about everyone in your 50 person tribe is great.  Losing sleep or feeling sad because you read a story about a boy in Thailand who's trapped in a well is bad (in my opinion).

I say outdated meaning it needs to be updated to deal with the fact we are aware of 8 billion people now.

But how many people out there really care about random strangers all around the world in the same sense that they care about the select few people they intimately know? Sure, there is what I call a "political" kind of empathy/sympathy (which is genuine but is not so intense as to cause unnecessary psychological crippling to one's self when those random others suffer greatly), but this doesn't serve the same purpose as personal caring about family and friends. The former is partly borne out of the conditioned social attitude that everyone has rights and deserve to live and be happy (and this thinking is in our best interests overall as a species); the latter is borne out of affection and the joy of bonding with the people you really care about. Political empathy means we want everyone to be happy (but I'll only bother to help if I'm the right person to do so and/or I'm running for president or something); personal empathy means I want nothing but what's best for the select few people I love (and I will make effort to be there for them when needed and not to harm them).

A LOT of people out there really care about random strangers.  A really lot.  That's why the local news always leads with car accidents and the national news loves it some tragedies.  Why politicians always tell stories about about Bertha, who's 84 on a fixed income and has to chose between her medicine and lunch.

Yes, the care is generally genuine, but I disagree it's strong enough to generally move people to go out of their way to help. They'll only help when it's convenient for them.

Also, a number of them might think they care when in fact what they're feeling rather is something like guilt (and so is more about themselves than about others).

Quote:Hell, fictional characters suffering makes people cry.

Yes, it's called being emotionally attached to them after spending a good amount of time bonding with them. I'm not sure, however, if this proves your point, since they're not actually suffering.

Quote:People dedicate their lives to protecting animals.

Sure, I'm not saying there aren't what one would call "saints" or whatever. But what are the stats? What is the proportion of the population that care about animals so much they dedicate their lives to protecting them? I bet most people who say they care about animals a lot (including me) don't go out of their way to make sure as many animals as possible are safe.

Quote:And you can even read in this thread, several people have talked about how they experience all this.

Several? I noted a couple, but as Jesse said, crying intensely for hearing about someone's suffering isn't necessarily an indicator that they care about that someone so strongly that they will do anything they can to help even when it's inconvenient for them. Yes, they care enough to cry, but beyond that is another matter.

Quote:The connections many people feel to everything they know about is incredibly strong. Strong enough to heavily influence their quality of life.  I think what you're mistaking with political empathy, is that a lot of people do want to help, and just don't have the resources to so practically.  So they feel bad/angry/helpless.

I didn't say that people generally don't want to help when they hear of someone suffering, they just don't want to exert themselves in doing so. They want to help but only if it's convenient enough for them to do so. For most people, family and close friends generally come first before anyone else. The former group are the ones they'll make sacrifices for.

So all that said, there is nothing outdated about caring for other people because most people don't kill/exert themselves in caring for random others anyway. They'll just care enough, and there's nothing bad about caring to a reasonable extent and circumstantially. Because take away any caring for random others, and no one will be moved to feed the starving children or donate money for sufferers of cancer or whatever. What's beneficial about that?
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Is empathy outdated?
I used to think this and i turned out to be wrong, someone debated it with me and i failed my arguments didn't hold and if my arguments didn't hold i am wrong. 
So empathy isn't out dated i didn't ever think it being outdated but i often wondered if it was needed turns out it's very needed. I Sorta agree with dom to a extent.
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Is empathy outdated?
(01-19-2019, 06:01 PM)jerryg Wrote: I just see people in the United States in the 21st century absolutely killing it in terms of the necessities.  Food, security, shelter, reproduction, entertainment, comfort, etc...  And we're a bunch of sad sacks.  Just a cloud of malaise blanking the populace, and it's such a waste.  A beautiful sunny day in the park, but some lady is crying because a Guatemalan kid died a couple thousand miles away.

It's not a matter of fixing this.  Just remarking on what is happening.  That likely the pinnacle of human existence, and people are still sad/angry.  I wonder if there were times when it was just a 50 person tribe, if despite the increased difficulties of surviving, they were happier thanks to their ignorance of the rest of the world.

This is a very interesting issue. Apropos of your point, I was minding my own business this past week when my wife ran across covert video obtained at a dairy farm in Indiana showing extreme cruelty to the animals there. It caught her attention because the farm runs a big public attraction where you can buy ice cream and see the cows being milked and such, and she'd taken her children there many times over the years. I'd even visited it once.

At any rate, this completely upset her and she is now all anti-dairy. She showed me the damned video and I thought, well, this is an anomaly. But then I did a very straightforward Google search, which quickly convinced me that dairy farming is inherently cruel and not really fixable. Heifers must bear a calf about once a year to keep producing milk; the offspring are taken at birth, and males are sold to the veal industry. One of those things that once you know it you can't un-know it. And that's only the start of it.

And now all of a sudden I am faced with the ethical dilemma that (1) I love milk (2) enjoy a lot of dairy products and (3) if I don't want to participate in this cruelty I have to completely change those eating habits. And besides, like everything else relating to food in my dotage, the stuff I enjoy probably isn't good for me anyway. Even though we buy BST-free milk, etc., it's not ideal for me to be drinking much of it due to diabetes and so forth.

So because of info I would likely never have found out in the pre-Internet era, my whole eating profile just changed and it's just One More Damned Thing I have to deal with. A big hit to quality of life at least for awhile. And it's not that this by itself is such a big deal but it seems like it's just this steady drumbeat of stuff that adds up and exasperates and exhausts me. I'm way more aware of kids in cages at the borders (meets the legal definition of the term "concentration camp"), animal cruelty, a couple of lesbian women beaten to a bloody pulp in the UK the other day, and on and on it goes.

I find myself indulging in willful ignorance at times to try to keep the list of new things I have to cope / empathize with down to a dull roar.

Since 2016 my son has died, Trump has risen to power, and then all this smaller but still significant stuff keeps presenting itself for attention and outrage. How much can one person even take??

I guess I'm going to find out ...
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Is empathy outdated?
The rate of the changes caused by climate change will increase in years to come, so the problem of how fast we can all adapt will get worse.
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Is empathy outdated?
I'm not sure if I would want to live in a world where empathy is outdated.
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