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kurczak

Section Moderator
WB
I can maybe feel some empathy towards random angry people on Twitter, but the professional cancellers in NYT, Vox etc get what they deserve. Maybe they are lonely and dissatisfied with life, but so is almost everyone. They have positions of power and with power come responsibility.
 
Yeah but my response would be to that it's sad that they can't express empathy in a more healthy way, I guess.
As someone who's been on the receiving end of those kinds of people multiple times I find it hard to believe that what they really need is more outlets for empathy. All their empathetic moralising is just for show. In real life a lot of them are genuinely unhinged, egocentric and manipulative. Whether that's the result of abuse or not, I think it's too naïve to just say it's just a side effect of an alienating society. People who gleefully engage in harassment campaigns and obsessively scour people's lives for ancient drama need CBT (preferably both kinds) and probably paternal counselling more than a reversion of the erosion of society.
 

Nega-Brutus

Sergeant at Arms
Solutions are hardly ever that simple, I guess.

I've been thinking about abuse a bit, also in relation to my mother, and I recognise the narcasicsim, obsessiveness, etc for what it is. But it's also becoming clear to me how abusers have usually been victims of abuse. Building a defensive, hostile view of the world cultivates other toxic characteristics within yourself, which all together end up manifesting as the abuse of other people in turn, I kinda suspect.

It's not excusable, but also kinda tragic. Maybe I'm projecting my personal experience with an abused person onto the twitter crowd. It's probably a multitude of reasons.

@kurczak yeah I agree.
 

Antonis

Marquis
WBWF&SVCNW
Hmmm, I don't know, this is some really ground-breaking stuff. If you have (strong) feelings, you might also develop aggressive ones. If you don't have feelings, you won't feel anything.
I'm sold.
 

kurczak

Section Moderator
WB
Instead, the research suggests that we ought to start making a clearer distinction between empathy and its apparent synonym: “compassion”. If empathy is about stepping into someone’s shoes, compassion is instead “a feeling of concern for another person’s suffering which is accompanied by the motivation to help”, according to Singer and Klimecki. To be compassionate, it does not mean you have to share somebody’s feelings. It is more about the idea of extending kindness towards others.


Bloom uses the example of an adult comforting a child who is terrified of a small, barking dog. The adult doesn’t need to feel the child’s fear to help. “There can be compassion for the child, a desire to make his or her distress go away, without any shared experience or empathic distress,” he writes.
Ok maybe I am autistic after all, but I'm not buying that people actually casually feel others' emotions. When someone's telling me about something awful that happened to them, say a car crash, I feel angst, which I think is a fear that something like that may happen to me too, my stomach crunches, the hair stands up, maybe I get a little nauseous, but I don't feel the pain of my bones being crushed, or the animalistic adrenaline rush of the fear of imminent death. What I am feeling, is not what they felt, it is a not a copy, it's a different emotion.

I sure as hell don't feel the baby's fear of the dog. I feel deep-seated annoyance at the baby's high pitched cry and I am evolutionarily compelled to do anything to remove the cause of the baby's cry.

Lol, kindness. That's a word that everybody and their soccer mom like to shill these days. But when you get into specifics, you find out that what they mean is what BACK IN MY DAY was just common courtesy or being friends. An early 30s casual friend of mine was literally moved to tears when I offered to help her with taxes. And she's "normal"', no particular damage, not some abused runt or anything. I listened to some podcast the other day and somebody was gave an example of the much needed kindness that he saw someone who was obviously lost and went to him and asked where he's trying to get and then gave him directions. Holy ****, is society really that bad that this is seen as going out of your way and making he world a better place? Has everyone but me been a psychopath all along?
 

MadVader

Duke
M&BWB
People blabber about every banal thing they do on social media as if it's interesting or above and beyond ordinary mortal courtesy. Maybe the norms haven't changed. Maybe some people are more conscious about human interactions and talk about it. Who knows?
About your previous "I don't feel what you feel, yuck" rant about the car crash example, you are trying to avoid the identification with the sheer fear when they knew they were going to crash or the helplessness and pain when they were hurt. But I bet you still feel those feelings for a moment, then repress them quickly because they are horrifying feelings. There's your empathy. Unless you are autistic or a psycho.
 

DanAngleland

Grandmaster Knight
M&BWBWF&SNW
I think I experience these things more in the way that Kurczak describes, but then I am a little bit autistic according to a test that I had. I suspect though that you might be misinterpreting what Kurczak said, Mad (I may call you Mad, may I not? We have been forum members for a long time, after all; using your full name seems overly formal). What you describe as identifying with the fear you realise the person must have felt in the past event they describe to you is not the same as feeling those emotions yourself, though you might conciously try to imagine what it would be like, or even have a stronger emotion if hearing of that event reminds you of a similar experience you have had yourself, but that would still be distinct from feeling what the other person is feeling or did feel when they went through the incident.

I think one's reaction to such things can depend on what mood you are in and what relationship you have with the person relating the story; here's an extreme example- if my mind is resolutely on something else and an unknown person with whom I have no rapport starts telling me about their horrible near death experience apropos of nothing, I might not genuinely feel much more than recognition that it would have been an unpleasant situation to be in, and only offer condolences or sympathy, or whatever seems to be the correct response, out of the logical reasoning that the person must have suffered and it is only appropriate to be considerate regarding a sensitive matter. It doesn't mean I have shared their pain, or even necessarily cared to a notable extent. Conversely if I respect, like, or even simply know a person well and the subject comes up naturally, then I might feel a bit of genuine care and empathy for that person, though I don't think that is anything like feeling what they felt or even being able to do more than guess at just how they would have felt (and how they feel reflecting on it, while they talk to me), even if I'd been in a similar situation before myself (because no two incidents are the same, nor are two people).
 

Adorno

Bedroom Assassin
Archduke
WBNWM&BVC
I read a psychological study once, on empathy in children.
A child was told a story about a girl who was afraid of heights. Later in the story the girl is invited on a ferris wheel that goes high in the air.
The child is then asked if the girl would like that. Some children spontaniously think 'yes', because that's what they would want.
The empathic child however understands this and say the girl would be scared.
The study showed that empathy is part of normal development, and older children more easily understood the girl was afraid.
 

MadVader

Duke
M&BWB
I think I experience these things more in the way that Kurczak describes, but then I am a little bit autistic according to a test that I had. I suspect though that you might be misinterpreting what Kurczak said, Mad (I may call you Mad, may I not? We have been forum members for a long time, after all; using your full name seems overly formal). What you describe as identifying with the fear you realise the person must have felt in the past event they describe to you is not the same as feeling those emotions yourself, though you might conciously try to imagine what it would be like, or even have a stronger emotion if hearing of that event reminds you of a similar experience you have had yourself, but that would still be distinct from feeling what the other person is feeling or did feel when they went through the incident.
I'm not sure what to make of this...er, Dan. The feelings of the empathizer would never copy those of the empathee, yes, but is this relevant? I think you are talking about the intensity here, which could range from autistic to nervous wreck. But if we care about the person enough to feel something that's similar to what they are feeling, rather than being indifferent, it's still empathy, no?

It's possible that a person can't care enough for anyone to react with empathy. If there's a pattern of people telling you that you lack empathy, you may be one of them. Another sign is if you approve of the "**** your feelings" worldview. Get a real diagnosis from Rams (moron/autistic).

Kurczak struck an alternative argument because she's a contrarian and that's not the most serious motivation for arguing, so I can't tell how genuine her views are. She may argue the opposite the next week if that's the contrarian thing to do then. But she is a cold-hearted right-winger and you can bet she has a diminished capacity for empathy compared to us bleeding heart liberals, and tries to justify her lack of feelings as if it's a norm. Rams knows better.
 

Nega-Brutus

Sergeant at Arms
Ok maybe I am autistic after all, but I'm not buying that people actually casually feel others' emotions. When someone's telling me about something awful that happened to them, say a car crash, I feel angst, which I think is a fear that something like that may happen to me too, my stomach crunches, the hair stands up, maybe I get a little nauseous...
That's empathy. There is no immediate threat to you, yet someone else's experience gets an emotional reaction out of you. Feeling the threat makes you able to relate better to the threatened person. But you will never be able to produce a 1:1 copy of the real experience. The argument empaths propose is that you can extend empathy consciously by proactively trying to; hence, you should extend empathy proactively, because it would help you recognize threats posed to other people; which abstracted in a society would mean that threats are recognized better, hence society is geared better towards minimizing harms, hence harms will be minimized. The counterargument is that everything gets overly moralized, and empathy is tiresome. Still, empathy is good is for no other reason than because it helps achieve mutual understandings a bit better.

For the record I never thought you were autistic, I just got irritated that you were really quick to strawman the **** out of me when I presented an unconventional perspective to you, when I make a decent effort to try to understand you when we have disagreements.

Why is everyone so mean has it always been like that?
Read the forum before 2010. It's weird. Some people enjoy the stimuli you get from hurting someone or bringing them down a lil in some way; it's exciting and fun in small doses. But it cultivates a toxic culture. I don't know how to interpret it or what the correct position is here, personally.

She may argue the opposite the next week if that's the contrarian thing to do then. But she is a cold-hearted right-winger and you can bet she has a diminished capacity for empathy compared to us bleeding heart liberals, and tries to justify her lack of feelings as if it's a norm.
I'm a moron/autist myself to a degree, for the record. But I think that what might seem so reasonable and self-evident to us is not necessarily shared with the majority of people, really. Kurczak in my view is not more or less progressive than any other white person in the US. I don't think we should hold the majority of people to our standards. We should acknowledge the standards of the majority and work within those parameters(?) when we advocate for something, if that makes sense. That's my view.
 
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MadVader

Duke
M&BWB
Why is everyone so mean has it always been like that?
That's passive aggressive! :razz:
Seriously, be specific, this isn't helping.
I'm a moron/autist myself to a degree, for the record. But I think that what might seems so reasonable and self-evident to us is not necessarily shared with the majority of people, really. Kurczak in my view is not more or less progressive than any other white person in the US. I don't think we should hold the majority of people to our standards. We should acknowledge the standards of the majority and work within those parameters(?) when we advocate for something, if that makes sense. That's my view.
I think you are high most of the time. It's obvious that we judge everything by the norms of our social circle which may or may not be a national average on the left-right axis. The other thing we do is that we assume our position is centric and therefore reasonable (I keep seeing this online when a far-rightist calls everyone leftists - his assumption is that he is centric, because he lives in a far-right bubble).
So I don't actually believe K is some kind of a psycho outlier, but I use hyperbole and humor to make a point, and the point here is the distinction between people who hold back on empathy and those that are more engaging. What's the norm? I don't know.
 

Captured Joe

Marquis
I find myself getting actual respect for the Erdoganist Party of the Netherlands. I honestly would take Direct Rule from Ankara over another year of Rutte Doctrine...
 
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