Tag Archives: The Golden Rule

the trouble with …

 

 

‘The Trouble With Empathy’

 

 

 

Therefore, all such things as you wish men might do to you, so do to them as well: for this is the Law and the prophets.

Matthew 7:12

And just as you wish men should do to you, do likewise to them.

Luke 6:31

 

The New Testament: A Translation, by David Bentley Hart

 

No man is an Iland, intire of itselfe; every man
is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine;
if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe
is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as
well as if a Manor of thy friends or of thine
owne were; any mans death diminishes me,
because I am involved in Mankinde;
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

— MEDITATION XVII, Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, and severall steps in my Sicknes, by John Donne

 

 

No man is an island
No man stands alone
Each man’s joy is joy to me
Each man’s grief is my own

— Joan Baez, “No Man Is An Island” (lyrics)

 

 

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Re;

“The Trouble With Empathy: Can we really be taught to feel each other’s pain?”

By Molly Worthen

op-ed

The New York Times

September 4, 2020

 

The trouble with this 1,990-word essay is that it attempts to dissect a topic that needs no more analysis or exposition other than perhaps to state the obvious. See the quotations above. There is such a thing as cumulative or received wisdom. The wisdom of the ages.

 

 

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Statements from the op-ed follow, in ITALICS. My “commentary” is in ALL CAPS.

 

 

[I]n recent years, empathy — whether we can achieve it; whether it does the good we think — has become a vexed topic.

WHY? TOO BAD JESUS LACKED THE REQUISITE EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE TO BE ABLE TO DISCUSS IT OTHER THAN SIMPLISTICALLY.

 

When we attempt to step into the shoes of those very different from us, do we do more harm than good?

NO.

 

… skeptics say that what seems like empathy often may be another form of presumption, condescension or domination.

NOT TRUE, IF ONE IS TALKING ABOUT GENUINE EMPATHY, WHICH REQUIRES CONNECTING WITH AN OTHER (SOMEONE WHO IS NOT YOU).

OBVIOUSLY, THIS TAKES EFFORT ON THE EMPATHIZER’S PART.

 

If an author of European descent writes a novel from the perspective of Indigenous people, is it an empathic journey, or an imperialist incursion?

IT’S A NOVEL.

 

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   September 2020