10 votes

Does Empathy Have A Dark Side?

3 comments

  1. [3]
    moriarty Link
    While I agree with some of the sentiments shared, particularly about empathy burnout, I think his analysis and examples are a little too simplistic. Pathologic uses of empathy, just like other...

    While I agree with some of the sentiments shared, particularly about empathy burnout, I think his analysis and examples are a little too simplistic. Pathologic uses of empathy, just like other pathologies do exist, but the vast majority of people don't fall for these. I also find his equating of terrorists and people with overactive empathy tabloid-y and distasteful. I also disagree with his Ireland example in which teaching kids about both sides of the conflict only served to widen polarisation. My own experience in Israel showed me that teaching both sides the other's narrative served to strengthen understanding and mitigate extremism. Bringing people from both sides of the conflict together to talk as friends and humans and not as political entities served to lower extremism and foster an inclusive attitude. There are multiple programs in Israel that strive to do just that because once you see the other as people and learn to empathize with them, you find that your similarities far outweigh your differences.
    I've been living abroad for many years and worked in international organisations that allowed me to interact with Lebanese, Jordanians and Iranians. The first thing that we can all immediately agree to is trash-talking the local food and bemoaning how we miss our home cuisine (which is all very similar)

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      cadadr Link Parent
      I am always reminded of this following article when I read stuff like this: https://www.npr.org/2017/08/20/544861933/how-one-man-convinced-200-ku-klux-klan-members-to-give-up-their-robes

      I am always reminded of this following article when I read stuff like this: https://www.npr.org/2017/08/20/544861933/how-one-man-convinced-200-ku-klux-klan-members-to-give-up-their-robes

      5 votes
      1. moriarty Link Parent
        This is exactly it. Thanks for posting! You have to develop a conversation or the fear and alienation sets in. Older generations of Israelis and Palestinians got to interact with each other. My...

        This is exactly it. Thanks for posting! You have to develop a conversation or the fear and alienation sets in. Older generations of Israelis and Palestinians got to interact with each other. My dad grew up with many Arab-Israeli childhood friends, he speaks fluent Arabic (and so does my mom. Us children are angry they never taught us). But younger generations, ever since the first and second intifadas never spoke to the other, which allowed their leaders to paint them as monsters and that feeling festered. When you do speak, you realise they are just like you. Organisations like The Mourning Families Forum or Combatants for Peace are doing God's work in bringing people together, which is just as important as their actual advocacy.

        4 votes