Lack of empathy
Two recent posts, one about cultural appropriation and one about serving the medical needs of the destitute, brought one of the most worrisome things about humanity to the forefront of my mind.
Lack of empathy goes farther than just "not being a nice person". To my mind lack of empathy creates most of our social ills.
Lack of empathy allows us to blame others for their misfortune while seeing our own as "bad luck" . Lack of empathy allows us to justify wars and inhumane social policies as "costs of progress". Lack of empathy is behind most social conservative views and policies. Everyone who doesn't belong to whichever group people without empathy belong to are treated as lesser. Any misfortunes they may struggle under are seen as "their fault" in one way or another. "Sarah" who tipples a bit is ok, she just has a problem while anyone outside the chosen group is a lush who deserves all the bad things that happen to them because they chose to drink.
People are biological organisms. A truism of evolution is that the environment dictates the forms lifeforms take. People are shaped by their environments. Do you blame the panda for only eating bamboo?
Being poor is a lack of money, not an indication of moral fitness. Acting "black" and using black slang are cultural phenomenon not signs of intelligence or lack of it. Being gay or transgender or asexual are not choices, they are quirks of our physiology.I could go on for hours but my point is, cultivate empathy. Understand that others experiences are just as valid as your own, no matter how different they are. Lack of empathy and judging one another are two of the biggest roadblocks to people banding together to solve all the problems that plague us. Stop judging, start listening and know who your real enemies are.
Don't know if this relates, but I am waiting for a store to open and listening to NPR. A woman talked about the differences between people and she was stating that in her experience there is a concern. Most people do not realize what class they are in. Many think they are in the middle class but they are actually living in poverty. People do not know how poor they are until something happens and the bottom drops out. But when the bottom drops out we see ourselves as not deserving or requiring help. Personally I know of people, neighbors who have died rather than ask for help. We seem to think we are living in the wild west where everyone needs to just take care of themselves, screw it he other. I have heard people state that they do not want to pay for other peoples health insurance, as if they cannot afford it, then others should not have to make up the difference. How is, and what is insurance if it is not everyone paying into a pot then one gets to take from the pot as needed. Some pay more than they use, some take more than others but have problems others don't have. Do we live in a society where fortune favors the lucky and the rest gets sick and die. If this is the way things are going to be then we should all pray to dog that we do not have another plague, the last large one killed over a million people. What does that do to an economy? How profitable is that?