Midweek open thread—A few videos on the importance of empathy

Midweek open thread—A few videos on the importance of empathy

It’s been an exciting week so far, hasn’t it? And I’m not even talking about my health scare this Monday past!

Something’s broken with Donald Trump’s racist tweets aimed at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Ayanna Pressley. Even our feckless media is calling the tweets what they are: racist. Not “racially charged”. Not “controversial”. But plain “racist”. And once you call an utterance by Trump what it is, that opens the floodgates.

This leads in to this thread’s theme.

We are in the state we are in because important, powerful sectors of this nation have downplayed or outright scoffed at the value of empathy.

Empathy, as I need not remind you (but I will), is not the same thing as sympathy. Sympathy is “this is how your situation makes me feel.” Empathy is “I want to understand how you feel.” Sympathy, though welcome, is ultimately still centered on the self. When you empathize with another human being, you take yourself out of your own bubble and inhabit hers.

Empathy has been at a premium in our interconnected, social media world for a long time. We are quick to judge and quick to anger. (I’m not saying that many things don’t, in fact, require judgment and anger. But that’s become the default position, where minor faux pas are jumped on in an orgy of gleeful recrimination.) We are slow to understanding, slow to acknowledging that we all have pains and joys, and that we are all on this blue marble hung in the firmament, unable to escape one another. Because of that, if we’re to have any future as a species, we must learn the skill of empathy, of walking a mile in someone else’s shoes.

For our midweek open thread, a few views on the urgency of empathy, on its necessity, and how it’s critical to living a fully human life.

Have a good hump day, everyone.



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