Knives wrote:I remain alive! And I have come to (finally) make some replies. Sorry about the wait!
Like Andy, we will have to agree to disagree on the topic of empathy. However, mine is for a very different reason (though, yes, I am also a proud, card-carrying member of the religious right -- different flavor than Andy).
My husband and I foster and adopt. I have also become a bit of a specialist in RAD children as we have two. If you do not understand what a RAD child is, I would like to direct you here
The fundamental issue with these kids is that they have no "conscience," no internal empathy whatsoever. All children who are victims of neglect and abuse have attachment issues, but RAD kids are the worst. So, what my husband and I have become through a baptism by fire is instillers of empathy.
Knives wrote:In every society that condones the murder or abuse of one group or another, the first thing to go is empathy - and the re-introduction of empathy is often enough to shatter the system. Slavery. Nazi Germany. Feudalism. Fantacism. I'll reiterate my previous point - when one group wants to oppress another, they make that other group from humans into the enemy, and that's when the entire cycle starts.(
We do agree on this, though I thought by your previous posts that you did not. However, for most historians, it isn't necessarily the empathy
that goes first, but the designation of a human as less than such. I can give you specific historian who argue these points if you wish. Most societies that promote genocide in any way do not get rid of the totality of empathy, but only empathy towards a core group. In fact, to bring up your argument, most leaders promote empathy for their group or their government. De-humanizing becomes the key here, and the result is not a destruction the empathy, but the perversion of it. This is, of course, arguable.
Knives wrote:As far as empathy informing against survival instinct, your argument does not necessarily capture the entire picture. Voluntarily giving up absolute freedom in exchange for certain protections (i.e. forming a culture) is an act motivated both by empathy and self-preservation. Do you need to kill your own food? Tend to your own injuries? Manufacture your own tools? No. Society takes care of these things for you, and it provides many other practical, social, and medical rights and privelages as well. Empathy comes with (or triggers) a number of other emotions, such as guilt, pity, love, friendship, et cetera - all of which are powerful societal motivators to keep everyone playing by the rules that hold it together. So, by creating a layer of protection between the individual and the world, society (an empathic construct, remember) enables a much higher chance of survival than acting soley out of selfish pragmatism.(
With all do respect, NO! No, no no. This was once the view on empathy, conscience, and bonding, but it has been overthrown for years now. Bonding and trust the are keys to empathy. Trust is formed when needs are met, so yes, the society does promote this. However, if a child has all their needs met but does not bond (as a child in the foster system often does) they become un-able to internalize the basic understanding of right from wrong. They know what is right, but they don't care. They have no empathy, and are totally unable to grasp even the most rudimentary of ethical questions. In fact, the need to bond is SO important that it is the primary concern of child placement now.
This isn't philosophical, it's a day to day reality. It takes a loving human to make a loving human. In other words, society has very little to do with it until the child is a pre-teen. If by the age of two, and in the case of my adopted daughter, one, a firm bond hasn't been established, the damage is permanent, not uncontrollable, but permanent. If a child is given all it needs, but no love and no trust, it will turn into a monster, and I am NOT overstating it. I personally know a six year old who was well cared for as she was bounced from foster family to foster family, who tried to poison her adoptive family with liquid plumber in the milk. She was cared for, but broken beyond measure. Society cannot overwhelm the survival instinct or our natural selfishness. Only consistent, loving care from a human can do that. If you want to argue this, please feel free, but be warned, I am an expert on it.