I can’t actually feel empathy because my brain and how I am able to think prevents me from doing so. Wallace gives a great example of it in This is Water, “Think about it: there is no experience you have had that you are not the absolute centre of.” What Wallace is saying is true on so many levels. Empathy doesn’t actually exist for this reason; I can’t know what other people feel or how they react to similar situations. That being said, empathy is not the most important thing to learn in college because there’s no real way to teach me something that can’t exist. I am my own main characters in my first person story, the only way to feel empathy is to be omniscient or feel what that person has felt as if I were them. This obviously can’t happen because I am an individual who is only capable of feeling my own experiences. Feeling empathy doesn’t make me happy, it only makes me sorry because I know that someone else has similar problems; but I can’t really know if they are similar, I can only assume from my own experience...
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... I find myself loosing grip of my selflessness, but I’ve had to teach myself that caring is more important than everything else. It’s how those people I watch on the news get out and help those in need, like victims of natural disasters. They have learned to care, something I need in my educational “Food Pyramid” of learning.
Since empathy can’t exist in the natural world you don’t see the poor handing out food to the poor because “they know how it feels”, it’s the rich and the middle class that handout the food. They do it because they care for the future of everyone. I volunteer at an animal shelter because I care about the animals that were abandoned by their owners, not because I’ve been through a similar situation and I’m empathetic. So empathy doesn’t matter as long as I have the ability to care, it’s when I stop being able to care, have I truly lost my way.
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