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Why is everyone an empath?

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Optimistic Goatman

The woolly enigmatic one
Staff Alumni
SF Supporter
#21
What I'm saying is people have a much more noble view of themselves than they may deserve. If you're living in a peaceful, affluent, Western democracy, has your character ever been truly tested? What war zones or famines or labor camps have you ever had to endure, where you've had to do the unthinkable just to survive? People watch the movie Schindler's list and always identify with either the victim or the hero, never the villain. But in reality, it's more likely you've have ended up as an Auschwitz camp guard than a freedom fighter standing in the streets of Berlin demanding justice for the oppressed.
I can understand your perspective. I can see how it would feel arrogant to say that we would somehow just be better that the mores of the world we grew up in. And yeah, i suppose i can't say with absolute certainty that i would still be the same person in that world. But can you acknowledge that the fact i'm capable of empathising with the people who literally want to kill me or for simply existing as a gay man, or who want to strap me into a chair and electrocute me into not being gay any more, gives me grounds to feel some sense of belief in this idea? For me, i'd say that's how i've personally been most tested in my peaceful, affluent, western democracy.
 

Dark111

FORMER SF SUPPORTER
#22
I can understand your perspective. I can see how it would feel arrogant to say that we would somehow just be better that the mores of the world we grew up in. And yeah, i suppose i can't say with absolute certainty that i would still be the same person in that world. But can you acknowledge that the fact i'm capable of empathising with the people who literally want to kill me or for simply existing as a gay man, or who want to strap me into a chair and electrocute me into not being gay any more, gives me grounds to feel some sense of belief in this idea? For me, i'd say that's how i've personally been most tested in my peaceful, affluent, western democracy.
I was diagnosed with ASPD. If you can empathize with goons like that, you're F'ing Yoda in my books.
 

Lara_C

Staff Alumni
SF Supporter
#24
I agree there are limits to most people's empathy/compassion and that these limits can be manipulated by sowing the seeds of fear etc, but are you saying that any concern people seem to show for you and each other is fake and self serving? How can anyone else convince you these things are real if you've never felt them yourself?
 

Aurelia

Over a low sun, undo the undone.
#30
I agree there are limits to most people's empathy/compassion and that these limits can be manipulated by sowing the seeds of fear etc, but are you saying that any concern people seem to show for you and each other is fake and self serving? How can anyone else convince you these things are real if you've never felt them yourself?
I've felt empathy many a time. And when I do feel it, my BPD makes me experience it much more intensely than many others seem to experience it. However, I still believe that empathy is mostly self-serving. We've evolved to feel empathy because to do so helps our species survive. There's always an end-goal when one demonstrates empathetic behavior, even if it's subconscious or unconscious. While it's true that displays of empathy might benefit the other party involved, it certainly also benefits us in one way or another. And the fact that it does, in fact, benefit us is the true nature of said behavior. That is to say that we are biologically programmed (most of us) to behave in an empathetic fashion. However, self-serving doesn't necessarily mean fake. It just means self-serving.
 

Lara_C

Staff Alumni
SF Supporter
#31
I agree @Aurelia. "Selfish altruism" benefits everyone . It's fake concern for others which does all the harm. Unfortunately, from my experience, predators are often skilled manipulators, deceiving many into trusting them by displays of concern /empathy they don't actually feel.
 

Aurelia

Over a low sun, undo the undone.
#32
I agree @Aurelia. "Selfish altruism" benefits everyone . It's fake concern for others which does all the harm. Unfortunately, from my experience, predators are often skilled manipulators, deceiving many into trusting them by displays of concern /empathy they don't actually feel.
True, but we still have a responsibility to ourselves to not allow ourselves to be continuously victimized. In other words, those who purposely hurt others are no doubt being total dicks, but no matter how badly others may treat us at times, we also can't 100% blame them for our individual circumstances. We help create our own emotions and situations.

Even in such an extreme example like the Holocaust, it's certainly not the victims' fault for what happened to them. It was an entire, for lack of a better word, 'movement' that they had virtually no control over. However, if we look at Anne Frank, she chose to still be optimistic despite her circumstances. She could have easily said, "There's nothing I can do; I have no choice but to feel miserable," and nobody would blame her if she did. But somehow, some way, she was able to persevere, which indicates that it is possible.
 
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Lara_C

Staff Alumni
SF Supporter
#33
True, but we still have a responsibility to ourselves to not allow ourselves to be continuously victimized. In other words, those who purposely hurt others are no doubt being total dicks, but no matter how badly others may treat us at times, we also can't 100% blame them for our individual circumstances. We help create our own emotions and situations.
Agreed, but we can only protect ourselves and those we care about by being aware that predators do exist, and can work themselves into people's lives through deliberate deception in order to use and abuse the misplaced trust in them. In fact, they have attennae for the vulnerable. "Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing ""Trust but verify"
 

Bradamante

Silent dreamer
#34
Just for pure informational purpose:

Empathy (n.)
1908, modeled on German Einfühlung (from ein "in" + Fühlung "feeling"), which was coined 1858 by German philosopher Rudolf Lotze (1817-1881) as a translation of Greek empatheia "passion, state of emotion," from assimilated form of en "in" (see en- (2)) + pathos "feeling" (from PIE root *kwent(h)- "to suffer"). A term from a theory of art appreciation that maintains appreciation depends on the viewer's ability to project his personality into the viewed object.
 

Aurelia

Over a low sun, undo the undone.
#35
Agreed, but we can only protect ourselves and those we care about by being aware that predators do exist, and can work themselves into people's lives through deliberate deception in order to use and abuse the misplaced trust in them. In fact, they have attenae for the vulnerable. "Trust but verify"
Of course. And this can be applied to virtually any area of life. It's oftentimes helpful to be both as informed as possible about a given topic or situation, as well as open-minded enough to potentially accept differing perspectives, especially when either doing so or not may directly affect our personal happiness, contentment, or well-being.
 

MisterBGone

SF Supporter
#36
I can understand your perspective. I can see how it would feel arrogant to say that we would somehow just be better that the mores of the world we grew up in. And yeah, i suppose i can't say with absolute certainty that i would still be the same person in that world. But can you acknowledge that the fact i'm capable of empathising with the people who literally want to kill me or for simply existing as a gay man, or who want to strap me into a chair and electrocute me into not being gay any more, gives me grounds to feel some sense of belief in this idea? For me, i'd say that's how i've personally been most tested in my peaceful, affluent, western democracy.
well— I think we can all acknowledge; (hopefully, more & more “universally,” these-days): that ‘these people,’ //_who feel this way... // can all go fuck them selves right the fuck to death, as far as I’m concerned . ( : thank_you! ; ) that’s just “imho!” Oh where art thou, my precious @marshamallow.?!?. You see I can never quite remember if it’s “humble,” or “honest,” opinion - in mine! :D ...& If I knew how to draw the line through the “to-death,” part; maybe I would (but then again... maybe I wouldn’t!) I do know it is a bit strong — so~*~>•? ;^)...
 

KM76710

Kangaroo Manager
SF Pro
SF Supporter
#37
I can't say to being empathetic. I don't feel for myself so can't feel for others. I can be sympathetic but think I taught myself much of that and even then it depends on the situation. People doing stupid things such as someone goes to a national park and sees wildlife: bears, bison, moose and think they will get within 10 feet to get some dumbass selfie to put online and gets attacked...I am callous enough to not care and feel more for the animal that may be destroyed simply for being its nature. It is not the animal's fault the person was an imbecile.
 

Dark111

FORMER SF SUPPORTER
#38
I agree there are limits to most people's empathy/compassion and that these limits can be manipulated by sowing the seeds of fear etc, but are you saying that any concern people seem to show for you and each other is fake and self serving? How can anyone else convince you these things are real if you've never felt them yourself?
Why would they need to convince me? If it's real, I'll know it's real right off the bat. They're usually just responding the way they think, either consciously or unconsciously, they should respond. But it's real enough to them so they'll put on a real show.
 

Lara_C

Staff Alumni
SF Supporter
#39
So you know it's real because you have felt it in yourself? I don't know how you can be so 100% sure when someone else is faking it - what if you have a mental block and can't feel what another particular person is actually feeling?
 

Dark111

FORMER SF SUPPORTER
#40
So you know it's real because you have felt it in yourself? I don't know how you can be so 100% sure when someone else is faking it - what if you have a mental block and can't feel what another particular person is actually feeling?
You get certain reads on people and it's quite universal. It's very hard to fake fear, for example. When I can't tell if they're faking or acting, it's means they're acting.
 
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