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The Problem Of Empathy

Koldo

Outstanding Member
Israel faces some risks....
- Continued violent retribution for oppression of Palestinians.

As it already is. In other words, nothing changes.

- The war could expand to include other countries.

It could have happened already by now and it didn't. The world is once again showing it is not interested in directly engaging into somebody else's conflict.

- USA could reduce support.

Maybe. And probably an increased support latter on down the road if the terrorist attacks increase.
 

Revoltingest

Pragmatic Libertarian
Premium Member
As it already is. In other words, nothing changes.
A great many fervent believers never make
the connection between actions & likely
consequences.
It could have happened already by now and it didn't. The world is once again showing it is not interested in directly engaging into somebody else's conflict.
The world is fickle.
Countries can change their minds.
Maybe. And probably an increased support latter on down the road if the terrorist attacks increase.
My tax dollars are no only regularly
wasted, they even pursue evil.
 

We Never Know

No Slack
Israel faces some risks....
- Continued violent retribution for oppression of Palestinians.
- The war could expand to include other countries.
- USA could reduce support.

"The war could expand to include other countries"

The fear mongers said the same about the Russia/Ukraine war.
 

Revoltingest

Pragmatic Libertarian
Premium Member
"The war could expand to include other countries"

The fear mongers said the same about the Russia/Ukraine war.
Heads in the sand say that wars cannot possibly expand.
Russia invaded & occupied parts of Georgia, & Crimea.
Then it invaded Ukraine.
Now....
 

Evangelicalhumanist

"Truth" isn't a thing...
Premium Member
If solving the conflict is one's goal, rather than apologetics,
then the p-I types must give more weight to both current
events, & the history that inexorably led to violent armed
resistance, eg, the Oct 7 Hamas attack.
If solving the conflict is one's goal (and it really should be, in my view), then I agree, except that I would have to add that the p-p types must also give weight to history.

However, the big problem with giving too much weight to history is that it focuses all attention on grievances, for which most people want apologies and retribution (or at least reparations). That's a formidable barrier to overcome.

Focusing on human needs and the future is, in my view, the only way forward. That begins with getting both sides to articulate what it is that they perceive they need (not want, need). Both sides need a place to call home, for instance. Both sides need their human rights respected (let's just call that "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" for now -- which would include the means to the pursuit of happiness), and then posing the question, over and over and over again, "How can your need (one at a time) be satisfied without forfeiting mine?"

That could end up in a two-state or one-state solution, in the latter case where, as in Canada, the rights of a minority (like our primarily French province Quebec) are constitutionally protected. Who knows, one day you could even have an Israeli Jew, and a Palestinian Muslim and a Christian all working in the same office, clinic or construction project. It has been known to happen elsewhere.
 

We Never Know

No Slack
Heads in the sand say that wars cannot possibly expand.
Russia invaded & occupied parts of Georgia, & Crimea.
Then it invaded Ukraine.
Now....
That was ten months ago and even Moldova rejected it as propaganda.
The fear mongers like to keep the fear alive.
 

Revoltingest

Pragmatic Libertarian
Premium Member
If solving the conflict is one's goal (and it really should be, in my view), then I agree, except that I would have to add that the p-p types must also give weight to history.
And they do.
But each side focuses upon different history.
Should it go back to when God supposedly
gave Palestine to the Jews?
Or back to when Israel was created, & 80%
of Palestinians were evicted, their land
stolen, & many killed?
Or to recent events when about 1,400 died
in Israel, & over 11,000 died in Gaza?

History has some value, if examined for the
purpose of crafting a peaceful solution.
But Israel's & USA's governments care only
about that which justifies the status quo.
However, the big problem with giving too much weight to history is that it focuses all attention on grievances, for which most people want apologies and retribution (or at least reparations). That's a formidable barrier to overcome.
See above.
Focusing on human needs and the future is, in my view, the only way forward. That begins with getting both sides to articulate what it is that they perceive they need (not want, need). Both sides need a place to call home, for instance. Both sides need their human rights respected (let's just call that "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" for now -- which would include the means to the pursuit of happiness), and then posing the question, over and over and over again, "How can your need (one at a time) be satisfied without forfeiting mine?"

That could end up in a two-state or one-state solution, in the latter case where, as in Canada, the rights of a minority (like our primarily French province Quebec) are constitutionally protected. Who knows, one day you could even have an Israeli Jew, and a Palestinian Muslim and a Christian all working in the same office, clinic or construction project. It has been known to happen elsewhere.
Now you're on the right track.
But you're just a show tune whistling,
limp wristed, nobody, internet gadfly.
And I'm even less than that.
How will we convince others?
 

Evangelicalhumanist

"Truth" isn't a thing...
Premium Member
Now you're on the right track.
But you're just a show tune whistling,
limp wristed, nobody, internet gadfly.
And I'm even less than that.
How will we convince others?
If either of us knew that, we wouldn't be the nobodies we are. The world needs a person with the personal integrity and courage of Jimmy Carter, who after the 6-day war and Yom Kippur war peace negotiations stalled, hosted Egypt and Israel fro 14 days, resulting in the the Camp David Accords. These meetings gave a basic plan for reinvigorating the peace process based on a Geneva Peace Conference and had presented three main objectives for Arab–Israeli peace: Arab recognition of Israel's right to exist in peace, Israel's withdrawal from occupied territories gained in the Six-Day War through negotiating efforts with neighboring Arab nations to ensure that Israel's security would not be threatened and securing an undivided Jerusalem. The second of the Camp David Accords finally got Israel and Egypt to normalize relations by recognizing one another, and exchange ambassadors. Further, to meet their various needs, Israel left Sinai and Egypt (with oversight from the UN) agreed to demilitarize it. Trade was opened up by guaranteeing Israel access to the Suez Canal and other nearby waterways.

At this point, I don't know who that brave person is. There's an election too close for Biden to take such a risk, and I don't see his Sec. State Anthony Blinken as being equivalent to Carter's Cyrus Vance.
 

icehorse

......unaffiliated...... anti-dogmatist
Premium Member
The empathy spectrum....
Some have little. Some have much. Most are in the middle.
But empathy has more dimensions than a linear range.

A few points to consider:

1 - Amongst humans' many brain bugs is that it's easier for us to empathize with individuals than with large groups.
2 - In mass casualty events doctors often must to triage. They do not have the resources to try to save everyone so they are forced to make gut wrenching decisions about who to try to save and who to let die.
3 - As a utilitarian, I think that when we try to solve problems we have to look for truly long term solutions that benefit the most people for the longest periods of time.
4 - Yesterday I was spray painting outside, and a bee got in the way of some paint being sprayed. I decided the most empathetic thing I could do was smush the bee, and not allow him to suffer, covered in paint.

To me, points 2, 3, and 4 all show empathy.
 

wellwisher

Well-Known Member
Empathy allows us to walk a mile in another person's shoes. But walking that walk, does not mean that those shoes will always fit.

Empathy is similar to unconditional love where we try to be open and understanding. Next, we use conditional love in terms of our value system, to see if these shoes fit, or whether we need to take them off and try to encourage the other to do the same.

I may be able to empathize with a drunk, but I may not see that lifestyle as optimized for me. It may be better to get them to empathize with a healthier lifestyle by stating the pros and cons. However, they may be an emotional thinker, so the facts are not at the top of their list of priories, compared to the feelings they have or need to have, that drinking allows.

A disconnect between reason and emotion can make it harder to empathize, even if you try. Instead you agree to disagree.
 

Evangelicalhumanist

"Truth" isn't a thing...
Premium Member
If either of us knew that, we wouldn't be the nobodies we are. The world needs a person with the personal integrity and courage of Jimmy Carter, who after the 6-day war and Yom Kippur war peace negotiations stalled, hosted Egypt and Israel fro 14 days, resulting in the the Camp David Accords. These meetings gave a basic plan for reinvigorating the peace process based on a Geneva Peace Conference and had presented three main objectives for Arab–Israeli peace: Arab recognition of Israel's right to exist in peace, Israel's withdrawal from occupied territories gained in the Six-Day War through negotiating efforts with neighboring Arab nations to ensure that Israel's security would not be threatened and securing an undivided Jerusalem. The second of the Camp David Accords finally got Israel and Egypt to normalize relations by recognizing one another, and exchange ambassadors. Further, to meet their various needs, Israel left Sinai and Egypt (with oversight from the UN) agreed to demilitarize it. Trade was opened up by guaranteeing Israel access to the Suez Canal and other nearby waterways.

At this point, I don't know who that brave person is. There's an election too close for Biden to take such a risk, and I don't see his Sec. State Anthony Blinken as being equivalent to Carter's Cyrus Vance.
The more that I think about this, the more I become convinced that the west now has to take a more honest stance than it has in the past -- and that is to finally state some obvious truths: yes, what Hamas did on Oct 7 was horrendous, yes, the decades long Arab warfare against Israel has required Israel's firm response. But we must also admit that Israel has not been innocent (as @Revoltingest has been at great pains to show) -- Palestinians have been horribly treated, endless Israeli "settlers" are simply stealing Palestinian land (as, I'm pretty sure, was the case during the not-so-historical Joshua period).

That is, although I am in no position to say "to what degree," I have to admit that both sides have done great wrong.

So I think we are a place where the west simply cannot give Israel blanket permission to bomb its way out of a situation it is at least partly responsible for. I say "partly" while not pretending to know how little or great that might be. And thus, I think the west (by which right now I mean primarily the US, but also Canada and Britain which have both been easy on Israel) must let Israel know that they will no longer support its present unabated aggression, and that it must begin seeking ways to negotiate. And that if it does not, then our support will dry up very quickly.

Even more, I think it may be appropriate for Israel to include in its negotiation overtures a few notes about how Gaza can begin immediately to begin, with Israel's help, rebuilding.
 

Revoltingest

Pragmatic Libertarian
Premium Member
The more that I think about this, the more I become convinced that the west now has to take a more honest stance than it has in the past -- and that is to finally state some obvious truths: yes, what Hamas did on Oct 7 was horrendous, yes, the decades long Arab warfare against Israel has required Israel's firm response. But we must also admit that Israel has not been innocent (as @Revoltingest has been at great pains to show) -- Palestinians have been horribly treated, endless Israeli "settlers" are simply stealing Palestinian land (as, I'm pretty sure, was the case during the not-so-historical Joshua period).

That is, although I am in no position to say "to what degree," I have to admit that both sides have done great wrong.

So I think we are a place where the west simply cannot give Israel blanket permission to bomb its way out of a situation it is at least partly responsible for. I say "partly" while not pretending to know how little or great that might be. And thus, I think the west (by which right now I mean primarily the US, but also Canada and Britain which have both been easy on Israel) must let Israel know that they will no longer support its present unabated aggression, and that it must begin seeking ways to negotiate. And that if it does not, then our support will dry up very quickly.

Even more, I think it may be appropriate for Israel to include in its negotiation overtures a few notes about how Gaza can begin immediately to begin, with Israel's help, rebuilding.
Odd that you alerted me, but
still see no notification of it.

Before any negotiations begin, Israel must
end at least the war crimes. Better still the
oppression & apartheid.
Then, the negotiation should also address
stolen lands, occupied lands, & compensation.
 

Little Dragon

Well-Known Member
The mere act of understanding someone else's plight doesn't entail compassion. There must also be a concern and worry for their situation.
True, an evil person can feel and know your pain perfectly well, which is why they enjoy causing it.
 

sayak83

Veteran Member
Staff member
Premium Member
Caution: Long post. Multiple issues.
Some simplifying assumptions for brevity.
These are opinions about group tendencies.
This is a discussion, not debate forum.

The empathy spectrum....
Some have little. Some have much. Most are in the middle.
But empathy has more dimensions than a linear range.
The "parochial empathy" phenomenon resembles a vector,
ie it has both magnitude and direction.
Ref....
Can Empathy Actually Be Harmful? | SPSP
Excerpted....
....some research shows that people do not show empathy equally to others. In fact, people often exhibit an empathy bias, meaning that they are more empathetic to those who are similar to them in some way (an ingroup member) than to those with whom they share less in common (an outgroup member). These groups can refer to any social category a person considers themselves to be a part of, some more superficial such as being a student at a particular university or a fan of a certain sports team, and some deeply defining such as race, gender, or religion. This resulting "empathy gap" is known as parochial empathy, and unlike the empathy one extends to people similar to oneself, it can have very negative consequences, especially when it goes beyond feelings and actually leads to disparities in how we treat different social groups. For instance, other research on different types of groups has shown that parochial empathy can predict things like prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory behavior towards immigrants.
......End of excerpt.

Adding to empathy complexity is individual variation
in the extent to which empathy or values govern their
views on politics & religion. It might be viewed as the
old notion of left brain (rational) vs right brain (feeling).

Where is this leading?
The Israel vs Hamas / Israel vs Palestinians conflict.
And the 2 major sides taken finding little in common.

I notice that arguments between pro-Palestinian (p-P)
& pro-Israel (p-I) advocates tend to exhibit parochial
empathy.
- p-I advocates focus upon what happened, ie, 1,400
killed & 200+ kidnapped by Hamas.
- p-P advocates focus upon 11,000 Palestinians killed,
many times more maimed, & hundreds of thousands
made homeless.

If posters are limited to parochial empathy, there
will be no reconciliation. That must be understood
by both sides if it's ever to be overcome.

For those who place values above empathy, the
other significant difference behind this divide is that
the Hamas attack on civilians largely ended last month.
But Israel's attack on Palestinian civilians continues.
To p-I types, it's history.
To p-P types, it's a current event.
If solving the conflict is one's goal, rather than apologetics,
then the p-I types must give more weight to both current
events, & the history that inexorably led to violent armed
resistance, eg, the Oct 7 Hamas attack.


There....that'll get things going.
Now, let's treat this thread differently from the
others. We won't describe each other as evil,
anti-semites, islamophobes, or poopy heads.
If we are being rational, I care more for the tigers, the polar bears and other plants and animal species who are close to extinction due to human action. I care more for the impending 6th Mass extinction event that will be caused by the actions of a single species through a mix of intention and negligence and apathy. At my more rational moments I confess to feel very little empathy for myself and my kind. It is extremely tragic what is happening to the civilians who are caught in these conflicts, but as long as we continue to allow our identities to be governed by our affiliation to nation states and act in accordance with what their selfish politicians say is "right", we will continue to wallow in this endless violence while we continue to carelessly destroy the living Matrix to which we owe our existence.
 

Revoltingest

Pragmatic Libertarian
Premium Member
Posted on another thread....
Some of our most fervent fellow posters could
possibly learn some tolerance if the switched
their news sources. It could ease the self focused
parochial empathy...provide some for the "other".

NPR has actually been doing a good balanced
job of interviewing both Israeli & Palestinian
victims of violence & loss, each of whom expresses
sympathy for the other side, eschewing hostility,
& wanting only peaceful co-existence.
 

Brickjectivity

wind and rain touch not this brain
Staff member
Premium Member
Most people experience false empathy a lot, temporary empathy a lot, and selective empathy. This is normal. For this reason: empathy must be earned. I have to earn empathy from other people. They will give me a little, but I have to show that I am deserving. People that don't earn empathy or do it poorly: they don't get a lot. There is just isn't that much to go around. Thus, we choose with whom we will empathize, and generally we choose those who also feel empathy. They deserve it more.
 
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