Author Topic: Lifehacker - The Importance of Empathy in Everyday Life  (Read 677 times)

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Offline jr2

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Lifehacker - The Importance of Empathy in Everyday Life
Meant to post this earlier, I thought it was good:

http://lifehacker.com/the-importance-of-empathy-in-everyday-life-1791961488

 

Online Nyctaeus

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Re: Lifehacker - The Importance of Empathy in Everyday Life
I wish the author to live few months in post-soviet country like I do. Percentage of opportunists, manipulators, sociopaths and psychopaths in Poland or Ukraine is higher than in England or France for example. All efforts to understand other prople in empathic way ends up in being burned out and internally destroyed. Plus if you're empathic and living in such society, you are likely to attach toxic people to yourself. Empathy also comes with higher sensitivity. If something hurts, it hurts more than average human feel it. Being open this way to people around is one-way ticket to neurosis and depression.

I don't know who the author is, but he has no idea what the empathy actually looks like. Character of Will Graham from Hannibal TV series is actually the best show of empathic skills I've seen so far. Author of the video is actually talking about emotional intelligence.
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Offline Luis Dias

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Re: Lifehacker - The Importance of Empathy in Everyday Life
Empathy is extremely overrated, but I see Nyctaeus has made that point already ;).

Paul Bloom makes the point on his book Against Empathy, and here's a conversation he had with Sam Harris where he expands on his reasonings:

https://soundcloud.com/samharrisorg/56-abusing-dolores-a-conversation-with-paul-bloom


 

Online Nyctaeus

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Re: Lifehacker - The Importance of Empathy in Everyday Life
I was dating empathic girl something like 6-7 years ago. She was talking about auras, chakras, energies and other stuff like that. I found her a little crazy, but also very intelligent. Year ago situation repeated with different kind of girl, much more rational. The first one was extravert and impulsive, while the second was calm, withdrawn and extremly wary. They both proven me numerous times how good are they at reading people, feeling emotional state of others etc. I had this feeling like they read people like open books.

Also both were extremly exhausted and full of hate for people around. Both after few relationships with psychopaths. Always the same scenario - full of kindness and understanding at start, manipulating and lying after few months. I linked them and noticed both girls were just tired of living among people, so they used to avoid big masses and live more outsider-like. Looks like their empathy was something they were actually sentenced to.

I have no idea how exactly this work, expecially being rather science and classic psychology enthusiast rather than some newfangled theories about absorbing emotions from people and enviroment, but I had multiple opportunities to observe how empathy works. Nowadays extended empathic abilities seems to be more like burden.

BTW. Second girl was later diagnosed with borderline and mirror-personality :P.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2017, 11:58:36 am by Nyctaeus »
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Offline Dragon

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Re: Lifehacker - The Importance of Empathy in Everyday Life
I lack empathy and I'm proud of it. :) It really does make my life easier, along with being short on emotions in general. Only recently-ish I understood why most other people are incapable of thinking completely rationally and why things like Overton window are a thing. Emotional baggage causes them to respond by their feelings instead of following an evidence-based reasoning. Morality, ethics and humanitarianism aren't about making making others feel good - they're about making yourself feel good. It's only due to empathy that others figure into it at all. It's about what we think other people think, not what they actually think. Yes, we're all selfish bastards, even when we're not. :) Realizing this is the first step to transcending evolutionary behavioral adaptations and, for lack of better term, "living consciously" (or at least as close as you can get to that in a human body).

If you ever wonder why I'm so jaded, it's because I live in a world built on utter humbug and I know that all too well. Lack of empathy can actually make it easier to get into another person's head, which is especially powerful since you remain uninfluenced by their own feelings. The key here is to realize people pretty much always follow some sort of logic, only most of the time with their emotions as input, as opposed to facts (not only that, for sane people, the logic is generally the most straightforward one possible). I lack the acting skills (or desire, I chose to be a decent person) to put it to full use, but someone who, besides empathy, lacks principles, can (and such people often do) manipulate people at his or her leisure. I mostly use this ability to observe and predict their actions (to my detriment, as it turned out. See my posts in political threads for example where that got me...).

And yeah, it makes living in a post-Soviet country much easier (effective immunity to cons, ads, propaganda and begging. What more could you ask for? :)). I head Russians in particular are even less emphatic and emotional than Poles (which is why I sympathize with them so much. They're easier to understand), so this is probably a Slavic thing. I often get frustrated with Westerners because of that, too. It's not that they can't see or understand certain things, the refuse to do so, just because it doesn't fit their view of what's acceptable.

 

Offline Luis Dias

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Re: Lifehacker - The Importance of Empathy in Everyday Life
Here's Paul Bloom in a shorter interview with some "visuals" so you can empathise more with him while he tells you how empathy is wrong:


 

Offline jr2

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Re: Lifehacker - The Importance of Empathy in Everyday Life
So, just wondering -- this was put in Political Discussion because the topic was viewed as potentially contentious?

 

Offline Beskargam

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Re: Lifehacker - The Importance of Empathy in Everyday Life
I was wondering about that. How does this involves politics at all?

 

Offline The E

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Re: Lifehacker - The Importance of Empathy in Everyday Life
Gonna say that's a mistake. This ain't political.
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Offline karajorma

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Re: Lifehacker - The Importance of Empathy in Everyday Life
Yeah it was a mistake.
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Offline Snarks

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Re: Lifehacker - The Importance of Empathy in Everyday Life
In relation to the Against Empathy book: Can't say this is a startling revelation or anything. I think along the same lines. I prefer systemic solutions over nitpicking cases that appeal to me. Policy making should be driven by statistics and formalized arguments and logic.

In fact, it always annoys me when people make their argument over specific cases, such as claiming crime is out of control by showing a particular news story rather than looking at crime statistics. Simply put, responding to empathy is just another human heuristic that works for the most part in terms of building human society, particularly in our neolithic past, but has serious issues with the complexity of modern human society. I guess this has always felt so obvious to me that I never thought about trying to convince people otherwise.

EDIT: I just wanted to add that there's been stories with themes on this topic. I remember a story about a Chinese emperor feeling a bit of sorrow for conquering all his neighbors and enforcing a single language on them because he understood that he was destroying a distinct part of their culture in-exchange for a stronger unified state. Now whether or not you agree with his decision to enforce a singular language, an important element of the story was that sometimes you have to act against what you feel is good for the good of everyone.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2017, 05:33:14 pm by Snarks »

 
Re: Lifehacker - The Importance of Empathy in Everyday Life
I am not a huge fan of either the OP's article or the Against Empathy book. Not because I don't agree with their premises but because they can't come up with a way to explain that which isn't incredibly obvious for someone who agrees with them and doesn't fall flat for those who don't understand it. Against Empathy is, despite it's name, not actually against empathy, it just makes a case for gaurded decision making when your decisions affect other people in a big way.

This makes me a bit sad because there's several cases to be made for the fact that humans run on a cocktail of chemicals and better understanding how that cocktail of chemicals affects both the way you think and the way others think (and if you think you aren't being affected by those chemicals, you're a classic example of someone who is), but if you haven't already picked up on this after a decade or several of interacting with other human beings and being in a social group then I don't really know how I could explain otherwise. I'm not a psychologist.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2017, 02:35:08 am by -Joshua- »

 

Offline zookeeper

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Re: Lifehacker - The Importance of Empathy in Everyday Life
Having watched the above interview, there doesn't seem to be anything to disagree with said book. But of course the title is misleading, because he's not actually arguing against empathy, but against a certain way of applying it ("dumb empathy" seems like a fitting description). Effective altruism is still rooted in what can be called empathy, and if one lacked empathy altogether then they'd pretty much be what most people would call a sociopath or a psychopath.

 

Offline Snarks

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Re: Lifehacker - The Importance of Empathy in Everyday Life
To be fair, the author admitted that the title was meant to be an attention grabber, and that the real premise of his book comes from the subtitle of: The Case for Rational Compassion.

 
Re: Lifehacker - The Importance of Empathy in Everyday Life
I think this might be a case of people seeing a philosophy and assuming everyone would apply it the same way they do >.> It's quite possible to have empathy and not have your actions driven by emotions. Empathy is what drives me to care about things and set up the 'nominations' for personal resource allocation, so to speak, but it's pragmatic thinking that decides what things actually get spent towards.