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Gifted_With_Languages's avatar

By observing the way our world has gone to in the last couple of decades, would you say that the ability of empathy has drastically decreased in mankind?

Asked by Gifted_With_Languages (1112 points ) January 29th, 2014

Or do you believe that empathy hasn’t decreased but that mankind (generally speaking) simply does not do anything to fight the world issues?‎

I do wish to express my heartfelt thanks for the interest you will show in this debate.

Thank you.

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4 Answers

eno's avatar

Empathy simply means the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It doesn’t mean that compassion should follow. You can understand/share someone’s feelings and still remain utterly indifferent to him/her or empathize in order to exploit the person.

That being said, I would say most have the ability to empathize, but as to what action is most common after one empathizes, I would say there is no dominant one on a world scale.

CWOTUS's avatar

The way our world has gone to… to what?

It seems to me that you’ve already made a determination about the way the world is going – and from the tone of the question it seems to be a direction or way that seems uncaring to you – and now you’re searching for reasons “why it is so bad”.

May I suggest that if you’re looking for bad, and “reasons why so bad” that you’ll never run out of examples or reasons. But if you decide to look the other way, you’ll find a lot of that, too. The world is whatever you decide to find, as trite as that sounds.

It seems to me that you’re stuck in observing “the world issues” that newspaper and television news people always want to sell you – they specialize in that stuff, after all – and losing sight of the good things that many, if not “most”, people do every day.

I’ve said many times in this forum that if you look for “reasons why things are so bad” you’ll never run out of reasons and examples. If you set your mind in that direction it will work that way and provide those things. Instead try looking at things that are “okay” or “beautiful” or “wonderful” or whatever other attribute of the world you would like to see, and invent reasons “how that could be made even better” or brought to more people or to occur more often – again, whatever improvement you would like to see. Let your mind work in that direction instead, and your outlook might improve.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I think that self-awareness and self-absorption has generally gone up, largely for economic reasons. As people cannot depend on family and community for financial an moreal support, they have become much more self-centered.

That, in turn, has affected peoples’ capacity for empathy to others. To some degree, it’s a zero sum game—if I am caring for myself more, I by definition must be caring less for you.

So in general I agree with your thesis.

Cruiser's avatar

I think people are as empathetic as ever….they just have a lot less time nowadays to show it.

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