'have we stopped caring about caring?'
I'm not talking about how we don't act very nicely toward one another as humans inhabiting the same ground, but rather ... how is it we have come to consider it a benefit to be immune to the lives of others?
I'm fairly certain that we have to learn and practice how to cut ourselves off. I'm not convinced we are born this way. This process happens slowly and with method, and I've even heard people justify the need for it: "you'll get hurt," "it will only cause you pain," "you'll just want to get involved." Well, yeah. Isn't that the point?
It's harder to send people to the gas chambers when you know their first names (Schindler's List) and it's easier to be polite and leave a nice tip, when you can remember waiting tables to put yourself through school.
Since when did not opening our hearts make us better human beings? This schooling in prejudice, distance, and 'not my business' is when we could really afford to skip class.
As Krznaric points out, greater empathy and an openness to caring about how it feels to live the experience of another, has not left us wimpering in the corner, ruined by the sheer weight of too much feeling ...but in fact spearheaded the social movements that amongst other things, ended slavery. It could be the key to why we know about the need for action on climate change but don't do it. After all, lack of empathy brought us the Crusades and the brutal conquest of South America.
If we are to put on new glasses today to see the world differently, why not slip on someone else's shoes too and offer ourselves the gift of deeper connection with others?
What have you got to lose except your aloneness?
Roman joins me on the radio to discuss "Empathy, the Radical Art of Living" on Friday the 30th of April.
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