Monday, July 18, 2011

The virtue of empathy

This from the new book The Science of Evil: “When our empathy is switched off, we are solely in the “I” mode. In such a state we relate only to things or to people as if they were just things. Most of us are capable of doing this occasionally. We might be quite capable of focusing on our work without sparing a thought for the homeless person outside our office. But whether we are in this state transiently or permanently, there is no ‘thou’ visible – at least, not a thou with different thoughts and feelings. Treating other people as if they were just objects is one of the worst things you can do to another human being, to ignore their subjectivity, their thoughts and feelings.”

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