The term empathy is understood to mean feeling as though you are standing in the shoes of the other, experiencing how they feel, and thus better care for them – or with them.
Is this possible in reality? How can I know how someone feels after the death of their loved one – even though I have experienced such loss myself? Almost like an actor trying to get into the role so he or she can play it better, we attempt to feel another’s loss, but can we really imagine another’s personal experience of horror? Even if we think we can can, we all have different coping mechanisms and abilities to deal with what has hurt us. One person’s depth may be more shallow to another.
The response “how dare you say you know how I feel” is all too accurate.
Can we deal with another’s loss by a training programme. Does learning theory make a caring heart?
Does a man in a luxury home in India or the USA, surrounded by homeless people, not care for them because he has no experience of how they feel? – cold, hungry, and depressed. Is it understanding he lacks? Or does his understanding make him indifferent, and ready to condemn the homeless as unworthy.
‘Politicians dress themselves in Christian robes, but are nakedly amoral. They preach that those downtrodden by mental and physical illness can be saved from the sin of idleness by waiting by their phones to hear if they are needed that day to clean toilets or subway walls. Such work is meant to liberate, and amoral politicians pitch this at the great army of low paid, resentful losers, who must be given people even weaker than themselves to kick, lest they start attacking the mansions of their masters. The downtrodden are not seen as part of humanity, they are nothing more than lumps of clay to be shaped by these plastic (it’s a sin to be idle) Christians, who use religion to justify the mental stoning of of the weak. They do what they must (to manipulate others), and call it by a different name, and, yes, people are fooled, and are so blinded that they can not see that but for fortune they too might be the downtrodden of tomorrow'(l.n.).
C.B. Macpherson describing 17th century attitudes to poverty relief: The Puritan doctrine of the poor,treating poverty as a mark of moral shortcoming, added moral obloquy to the political disregard in which the poor had always been held. The poor might deserve to be helped, but it must be done from a superior moral footing. Objects of solicitude or pity or scorn, and sometimes of fear, the poor were not full members of a moral community (The political theory of possessive individualism, p. 226-7).
This belief is what politicans in many countries have brainwashed people with for many years – the “me, myself, and I syndrome”, or “I’m alright Jack”- driven by capitalist materialism. One’s value is measured by some according to how much wealth one has accumulated. Is this part of a new man-made evolution? The species that will survive will be Homo Etonius, and their close cousins, Homo Bankerius. The one they replace will be Homo Empathicus, and their dependent species, Homo Peasantius.
In effect, we have two types of people- one caring, one materialistic. They with wealth will survive.
Carol Dimon and Lenin Nightingale