Empathy and compassion are a weakness. Watch

Cremated_Spatula
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Are they a weakness?

Does society favour more psychopathic traits like narcissism and superficial glib?

Does it always come down to power?
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Cremated_Spatula
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anosmianAcrimony
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Society does favour those who are ruthless and superficially glib. The people who are least empathetic and compassionate, and those who can abandon their scruples most easily, tend to rise to powerful positions in society. The scum rises to the top.

That only makes compassion a weakness insofar as your goal is to acquire as much money and prestige as possible. There are much better, happier things that one can do.
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HuggleyDuck
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I think empathy and compassion are strengths of character, and if society valued them more it would benefit hugely.
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Cremated_Spatula
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(Original post by HuggleyDuck)
I think empathy and compassion are strengths of character, and if society valued them more it would benefit hugely.
I agree, It's much harder to maintain an empathetic view than a callous one.
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Patrick Wallace
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(Original post by Cremated_Spatula)
I agree, It's much harder to maintain an empathetic view than a callous one.
Surely that depends on psychology? I don't find it harder to be empathetic and would struggle to callous. It's just who I am and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in that.
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kka25
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I also don't know :sad:
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Cremated_Spatula
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(Original post by Patrick Wallace)
Surely that depends on psychology? I don't find it harder to be empathetic and would struggle to callous. It's just who I am and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in that.
It is emotionally painful to be empathetic, confusing too. It's simply more hassle than just ignoring everyone else and focusing on your own needs.
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Cremated_Spatula
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(Original post by wsxcde)
a psychopathic individual can be more successful in some areas for sure, though of course not in relationships with others. But as a group empathy is more advantegeous rather than having an entire group with no empathy. Because this causes people to look out for other members of the group, keeping the group stronger and better protected, which is good for an individual in the group. Which is why we evolved empathy I think.

I think in our society today someone who is a complete **** could often have much more success as an individual whilst someone with too much empathy will just find the world too harsh, horrible and probably end up depressed.
Good point.
But this society is more about the individual rather than the group, it feels as if there is little to no community, every man or woman for themselves kind of thing.

Very true, and yet quite a lot of people seem to think depressed people are self-centred and a waste of space.
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Patrick Wallace
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(Original post by Cremated_Spatula)
It is emotionally painful to be empathetic, confusing too. It's simply more hassle than just ignoring everyone else and focusing on your own needs.
I'm not saying it's hassle (I personally don't believe it is but that's just a reflection of my circumstances). What I'm saying is that it's not an on/off switch. I can't just decide on a day to day basis whether I'm going to be empathetic or callous. I'm incapable of changing how I feel and therefore for me it's not hard at all to maintain an empathetic view.
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Afra123
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No, I consider them to be strengths. Human strengths. Emotions and feelings that make us feel and do great things, great actions and help others and change somebody's life.


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Cremated_Spatula
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(Original post by Patrick Wallace)
I'm not saying it's hassle (I personally don't believe it is but that's just a reflection of my circumstances). What I'm saying is that it's not an on/off switch. I can't just decide on a day to day basis whether I'm going to be empathetic or callous. I'm incapable of changing how I feel and therefore for me it's not hard at all to maintain an empathetic view.
No no I didn't mean an on/off switch either. I think things like the news ect grind you down, you get used to the constant flow of bad news and start to become desensitised towards things.

I can't prove which is harder to maintain because it can only be found by truthfully looking within ourselves.

And when I look within myself, I see myself becoming more and more callous as I age.

Is this a bad thing? I don't know.
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Juicy J
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Not a weakness. They are a must in my line of work.

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limetang
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Of course they are. If you remove morality from the equation the only rational way to live is in the way that will benefit you the most.
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icdjabtjk
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or say for another example, there are two people living in a cave, it's a 5 mile walk to the lake to get a drink. Two people with no empathy, one of them is ill one day and cant walk to the lake, so the other goes on his own and drinks what he wants, goes back, later on the ill one dies. The next month the other person left alive becomes ill, cant go to the lake and dies. Compared to two people with empathy, when one is ill the other brings back water for the ill person to drink and they both live.
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NHM713
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(Original post by Cremated_Spatula)
I agree, It's much harder to maintain an empathetic view than a callous one.
Only if have to maintain it, a callous view springs out of defence.
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mojojojo101
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(Original post by wsxcde)
or say for another example, there are two people living in a cave, it's a 5 mile walk to the lake to get a drink. Two people with no empathy, one of them is ill one day and cant walk to the lake, so the other goes on his own and drinks what he wants, goes back, later on the ill one dies. The next month the other person left alive becomes ill, cant go to the lake and dies. Compared to two people with empathy, when one is ill the other brings back water for the ill person to drink and they both live.
Empathy is, by this situation, entirely self interested. By maintaining the strength of the wider community you increase your chances of surviving (comfortably).


The current neo-liberal capitalist paradigm rewards ruthlessness, selfishness and division and empathy and kindness punished. For me, that needs to change.
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Unicorndog
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Selfish_Gene You might find this interesting oh introspective one.
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Cremated_Spatula
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(Original post by wsxcde)
yeah but we have all our rights, many laws and things as a result of group work and empathy too, from a group pov a group without empathy probably wouldnt be able to get very far and would only really be functioning as individuals, like for example if you see a herd of 100 buffalo running away from 1 lion, and the lion catches and kills the weakest one at the back. Every buffalo is just thinking of itself and running away. It does itself a disservice because one day it might be old, or have a bad leg, and then it'll be the one killed by the lion. When if they had empathy, were outraged by this 1 being attacked, 100 buffalo could easily charge 1 lion and kill it. So I think that as a functional group, it's for fundamentally selfish reasons we evolved empathy, it puts us in a better position because it strengthens our group. From the pov of empathy being a strength or weakness I'd say that a group with empathy functions far more intelligently, is far more involved and is stronger, but from the pov of an individual someone with less compassion than most but is living in an overall compassionate group could get away with a lot and basically gets the benefit of the groups empathy whilst not being burdened themselves, or even having more compassionate members taking on a disproportionate burden in their place. But also I mean you might be lonely, not have great relationships and social life if you have no empathy. But you could be quite driven, good at manipulating people, rise to power.. I've watched documentaries about narcissism, egotism and very driven psychopaths before where this is the case.
I agree, but atm I feel like a lot of us lack that group mentality, although I'm not sure if there is any sound remedy for this.
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Cremated_Spatula
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(Original post by NHM713)
Only if have to maintain it, a callous view springs out of defence.
I think I see your point, sometimes it would be in a persons best interests to be callous, or someone could take advantage of them.
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