Lux Absio Bervatum

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Preachy Ivory Tower Assertions

Here's a thing I wrote a while ago and just stumbled across while reorganizing Evernote:
Having empathy for someone who has done an unethical thing is not the same as adopting an aberrant view. Empathy doesn't change unethical acts. But it helps end cycles of distrust and doubt. When we embrace the knowledge that true evil doesn't exist, we empower others to widen their perspectives. If you see someone as a villain, that perception is likely to manifest in a negative way. And, unfortunately, it's easy to slip into that black-and-white way of thinking. It's a great shortcut. Who's bad? Who's good? Alright, disregard the bad people, trust the good people, and--whew! That's enough thinking for today! 
Having empathy and being open-minded takes effort. Humans are naturally inclined to conserve their effort. Nature rewards it. Nature says, "Prepare for the worst! Don't waste energy! Be vigilant!" It's an effective strategy for maximizing survival. But survival isn't everything. It's possible to excel at self-preservation while being completely miserable.
Also, have you seen this thing? The Hedonistic Imperative.