Empathy

I was struck by this quote today from Richard Branson – “People who are inflicting the most pain are often in the most pain themselves.”

The internet should be an empathy machine – it should have made it easier for us to understand other people’s troubles, and take action on them. Instead, it has turned into a mechanism for people to strike out at each other, and put each other down. We have to change that.

We all divide ourselves into “right” and “wrong”, when we should all start with the fact that we are all human. We all feel pain and have trouble in our lives, no matter who we are. The first step towards coming back together as a culture is feeling empathy for each other as people.

 

 

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2 weeks ago

I like the idea that people evolve spiritually as individuals and as a collective. I’m not sure it’s happening, though. The news we get is negative and I think it skews our perceptions. There must be some good stuff going on out there!

2 weeks ago

@bonnierose that’s exactly right, all we ever hear about are the negative things!

2 weeks ago

I typed like 12 different versions citing examples of this, and basically I agree.  The internet is filled with so much hate, which just drives people deeper into their own abyss.  It’s awful what people have become in an online world.

2 weeks ago

@knightwolf it really is – I hope that someday it will skew back the other way, where sites like OD watch out for their community and help people communicate in a rational way.

2 weeks ago

Question…In order to have empathy for someone don’t you sort of have to care about them?  How can we have empathy for anyone if we can’t even look after our own emotions?

2 weeks ago

@jaythesmartone that’s a good question – and I think you’re right, we have to love ourselves first before we can love others.

2 weeks ago

One of my friends says “Hurting people hurt people.” Same thing in a nutshell. So true.

2 weeks ago

@startingover_1 that’s a good one, I will have to use that!

2 weeks ago

Deindividualization.  If people think they can get away with it without being identified they will do bad things

2 weeks ago

@williamthebloody that is true – ultimately, people have to believe they will be held accountable for their actions, but if they can act as a face in a crowd they will do terrible things.

2 weeks ago

I remember when it was very much like that; back when OD started.

2 weeks ago

@ermentrude it was, and I miss that! I hope we can at least make our corner of the internet like that again 🙂

2 weeks ago

To quote a former pastor of mine, “Hurt people hurt people.”

the kindness, understanding, and empathy I’ve always experienced here on OD is why I stay, and why I avoid places like Facebook and Twitter.

2 weeks ago

@gypsywynd exactly!

2 weeks ago

I have been pondering the fact that our world seems to have devolved into black and white.  Everything is a choice between this or that.  There is no in between.  People are bad or good, young or old, smart or dumb, skinny or fat, Democrat or Republican, Christian or not, White or not, Male or not.
I once saw a woman on a talk show who shared an experience she claims to have had.  I say “claims,” because she won’t provide information that would have otherwise made it easily verifiable.  In any case, she claims to have died and Jesus showed her heaven and hell.  “Hell” was seeing/feeling all of the pain that she had caused other people in her life.  “Heaven” was seeing all the pain that led her to inflict such pain onto others.  Because of that perspective, she could forgive herself and thus forgive others.  I guess that’s redemption.
I don’t believe that she was dead for three hours as she claims.  I consider myself a Christian, but I don’t believe that Jesus was anymore divine than Gandhi or the Dhali Lama.   But the last part, about hell being experiencing the pain that she had caused others really affected me.  I’ve sort of adopted that as my philosophy, not just for how I behave, but for how others behave.
I know that people who cause pain are still suffering from pain that has been inflicted on them.  It’s made it easier for me to find peace with many of the ugly things that have happened.
Then again, it also causes me more guilt than I think most people would feel for hanging on to hate for two particular people from my past.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to let go of that, and I can tell you that just thinking about it as I write this has caused a lump to grow in my chest, as if I’d be losing something precious.
I don’t even know if I’m making sense.

2 weeks ago

@oniongirl that totally makes sense – and I like that perception of Hell, that I think is a useful paradigm.

2 weeks ago

I am, on the whole, all about viewing people as we/us. Until someone else’s sense of “we” has them doing harm to those they consider “not us”.
I don’t care what anyone’s sexual orientation or preference is, I don’t care whether or what your religious beliefs may be, so long as whatever it is that guides your attitudes and actions does not result in harm to others. When that becomes the case, I will say something. Every time.

2 weeks ago

@principassapollyanna good for you, the world needs defenders who will speak up!

2 weeks ago

Empathy is being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

2 weeks ago

@womaninthemoon that is exactly it, and so simple.

2 weeks ago

I always think about how unhappy you would be if you spent your life being unpleasant and nasty.  That would be the worst world in my opinion.  Smile and it’s hard to e grumpy.

2 weeks ago

@dlk082244 so true – I work on smiling more, because I think it makes everything better.

2 weeks ago

I agree

 

2 weeks ago

@vetinari thanks!

2 weeks ago

So very true.

2 weeks ago

I agree wholeheartedly.