Monday, 5 December 2011

My Afternoon Satori

On a rainy and already depressing afternoon, I got trapped by Twitter, in particular, the moronic questions and observations from the Toronto Budget Committee on the subject of libraries.

I've repressed which moran councillor needed to have explained to him why Toronto's liberries have material in ferrin languages and even movies like Pie-rats of the Carrybean. (OK, I'll stop.) But it struck me as surreal that so many of these ijits Just Don't Geddit.

I was pondering for the umpteenth time 'What the fuck is wrong with these people?' when one of my tweeps retweeted this from a smart person named 'TallPolitical'.
Classic right wing failure to empathize. If i can't imagine myself using or wanting this, it can't be worth anything 2 anyone

My brain lit up.

Good Goddess! That's it!

Went googling and found this terrific RSAnimate of a talk by Jeremy Rifkin on 'The Empathic Civilization'. It's almost 11 minutes long but totally worth it.

Brief version: Humans are soft-wired for empathy. Originally, we had empathy just for our blood relations, then our co-religionists (some are still horribly stuck at that stage), then on to our nation states. Why should we stop at this stage, he asks. Why not extend our empathy to everyone and the biosphere to boot?

He goes on to say that if we don't get beyond this stage, we -- and a human-friendly planet -- are fucked.

So. There. The lefties, the liberals -- the ones I call the sane people -- have successfully extended their empathy to the Other. We can actually feel for homeless people, addicted people, poor people, disenfranchised people.

We feel their pain and distress. And we don't like it. We want to do something about it.

Knuckle-dragging right-wing nutjobs are incapable of this evolutionary feat.

They are stunted. They are stuck at the blood-ties or religion or nation state stage. 'Family! [Insert Relevant] Religion! Patriotism!' as a slogan neatly captures it.

Rifkin also points out that if the development of empathy is stifled, other nasties like aggression, selfishness, greed, and violence pop up.


About where we are right now.

The world is being run by a bunch of empathy-deficient morans.

I dunno how, but we sane people have to get it back.

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