Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Empathy and the lack of it...

I was just talking yesterday with a friend and we were lamenting the obvious lack of empathy on occassions in the SA... both of us can count the horror stories or recount conversations about 'them' and 'those people' and the incredible distance we have from the 'poor'. I was contemplating the causes of it and stumbled on this amazing article... check out this quote... "The global capitalist culture with its premium on accumulation and profits not only devalues an empathic disposition but produces a stunted character in which everything is transformed into a commodity, not only things, but individuals themselves. The very capacity to practice empathy (love) is subordinated to our state religion of the market in which each person seeks advantage in an alienating and endless commodity-greedy competition."

Read the whole article, NEUROSCIENCE AND MORAL POLITICS: Chomsky’s Intellectual Progeny
Are humans "wired for empathy"? How does this affect what Chomsky calls the "manufacturing of consent"?
An essay by Gary Olson


Anonymous said...

Hi Danielle

It disturbs me greatly and has for a very long time about this lack of empathy in a movement that was born out of its ministry and care to the poor and is well known for our "charitable" acts.

I dont understand why people dont get it. My heart bleeds for those who live in desperate circumstances, for the children that go to school hungry and dirty and get teased etc etc etc

If we were all to realise that we could make a difference what a difference we could make...

May God stir more hearts and I thank you for your passion and for your willingness to share openly.

God Bless You Rickly

jsi said...

I consider humans are wired to need empathy, hunger and thirst for it, but I do not believe empathy can be an automatic response from a human point of perspective. The selflessness that is required to connect with someone else in the authentic boundaries of empathy is completely opposite to the characteristic of the human nature.

The human nature desires to protect itself.

Empathy comes from the vein of God's divine activity.

God's nature desires to protect others.

Your art portrait is striking and beautiful, an expression of humble compassion, darkness and light shared together. Exquisite.
I pray for you and the ministry in which the Master has called you and you have served. God's work and activity seeks for love, joy and peace to be abundant.

Embrace and enjoy the day God has given you today.

armybarmy said...

yeah - the larger article suggests that empathy is a natural science of our makeup but that consumerism has messed it up... I think the theological flaw is that it was messed up at the fall - we became depraved... sinful and that's when empathy became work... interesting to think about though...

thanks for your thoughts.