If we demonstrated empathy for each other, it would be the end of war and injustice. Scientists say we are born with empathy, so what is wrong? If you have empathy (basically, I feel you) you cannot imagine any human being who has none.
Yet scientists tell us that four percent of the population has no empathy, that is, they have no emotional response to inflicting harm on others. They are not “crazy” they KNOW right from wrong and they know most people think right and wrong are important. So they do their really nasty things and lie about them, cover them up, or try to charm their way out of the consequences.
Since the other 96 percent of humanity cannot imagine they exist, they often get away with it. These people, psychiatrists now say, have anti-social personality disorder. They used to say they were sociopaths or psychopaths. Long ago they said they were “moral imbeciles.” There is no cure.
Good thing they are only four percent, you might say. But then again, if you live in a city of 100,000 you are mingling with 4,000 sociopaths on a daily basis.
Here’s a little empathy test. When you look at the little symbols above, do you feel a faint desire to help the sad brown one? If you could turn him into the happy blue one by a computer click, would you do so?
Those are the symbols on my Advanced System Care desktop icon. If I do not run a scan for awhile the sad brown one appears. Sometimes I tell myself, “It’s just a symbol. I’ll run a scan later.” But I feel worse and worse every time I look at it and I feel better when it turns blue and smiles.
It’s kind of silly, I know. But empathy is not silly, it is the end of war and injustice, and worth cultivating.