lördag 10 september 2011

Empathy without pity

I believe a good starting point is to admit that ANOTHER PERSON'S SUFFERING is that person's suffering and not our own. "Oh, so you broke your leg and it hurts, well that's too bad for you but it doesn't mean that MY LEG hurts." Empathy then becomes an attitude of GRACEFULNESS more than a co-emotion (which it is not), almost like a gratitude that the suffering of others doesn't affect us. And from this point can we act to support MENTALLY and PRACTICALLY. And will want to do so as an act of affirmation of who we are. In Christianity, it is only God who is allowed to act with such freedom. But in Mazdayasna philosophy this choice comes to all of us. YOU ARE YOUR CHOICES and nothing but your choices.

2011/9/8 Special Kain

If we choose to pity someone who is frustrated and hurt - e.g. someone who has just been dumped by his girlfriend and now believes that he'll never be loved again -, we actually confirm their pessimistic outlook: "Yes, your situation truly is unbearably sad, you are a poor victim, you are helpless, and you don't have the strength nor the brains to change things." In other words, we simply refuse to see their potential.

But if we really want to actually help them, we would say something like: "Yes, it is perfectly OK to be sad; it is true that some people sometimes are lucky and others are unlucky; but your being a victim is your own choice; you have the potential to see things from a different angle and make the best out of whatever happens to you." In other words, pity is misanthropy at its most cynical.

This doesn't mean that we should be heartless and cruel to people who already suffer. It doesn't mean that we would disrespect their feelings or that we wouldn't take them seriously. We actually choose to see the good in people and their potential. I believe that it is our OBLIGATION and DUTY to help those in need, when necessary, and that we therefore should do away with pity.

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