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Thread: Today I saved the life of a helpless robin.

  1. Top | #11
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    The only lessen here is humans have empathy.

    And we should create societies that express that fact.

    Nature is cruel and uncaring and unforgiving.

    That is knowledge a person should have very early in life.

  2. Top | #12
    My Brane Hertz spikepipsqueak's Avatar
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    You could not possibly have done more for that bird and as you say, another time you will have more knowledge and experience.

    That sort of compassion is exactly the sort of thing we need to wave at Christians who claim that without god there is no morality.

    .

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    Quote Originally Posted by spikepipsqueak View Post
    You could not possibly have done more for that bird and as you say, another time you will have more knowledge and experience.

    That sort of compassion is exactly the sort of thing we need to wave at Christians who claim that without god there is no morality.

    .
    This is true and it's not just the tiny helpless creatures that we have compassion for, many of us find joy in helping those who live in poverty or simply need a little emotional support from friends. There is joy in helping others. No gods required.

  4. Top | #14
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    There is usually a limit to our empathy.

    It can extend to small birds.

    But what about the insects the bird is eating?

    Do we care about that life?

  5. Top | #15
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    In the age of modern genetic knowledge you want morality to be constrained to particular religious underpinnings? It's the 21st century. Open a book.

  6. Top | #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by untermensche View Post
    There is usually a limit to our empathy.

    It can extend to small birds.

    But what about the insects the bird is eating?

    Do we care about that life?
    Of course we do. They are food for the birds and frogs who we love. I do sometimes feel a little bit sorry for the bugs that I vacuum up when they make it into my house, but I will happily swat a mosquito who bites me. Did anyone here say that our empathy is unlimited? I didn't think so. In fact, maybe you missed the point. I think the point is that humans are often happy to rescue helpless little creatures, not that humans are empathetic all of the time.

    For example, neighbors might not care about each other until there is a disaster or tragedy, then suddenly they join together to help the victims of the disaster.

    And, some humans totally lack empathy. We usually refer to them as sociopaths, or psychopaths, a condition that is a brain disorder, according to a book I read about psychopathy. That is why I can feel both disgust and empathy for a psychopath. I don't think they can help what they are, but I'm not interested in discussing psychopathy, so I'll leave it at that.

  7. Top | #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by untermensche View Post
    There is usually a limit to our empathy.

    It can extend to small birds.

    But what about the insects the bird is eating?

    Do we care about that life?
    Of course we do. They are food for the birds and frogs who we love. I do sometimes feel a little bit sorry for the bugs that I vacuum up when they make it into my house, but I will happily swat a mosquito who bites me. Did anyone here say that our empathy is unlimited? I didn't think so. In fact, maybe you missed the point. I think the point is that humans are often happy to rescue helpless little creatures, not that humans are empathetic all of the time.

    For example, neighbors might not care about each other until there is a disaster or tragedy, then suddenly they join together to help the victims of the disaster.

    And, some humans totally lack empathy. We usually refer to them as sociopaths, or psychopaths, a condition that is a brain disorder, according to a book I read about psychopathy. That is why I can feel both disgust and empathy for a psychopath. I don't think they can help what they are, but I'm not interested in discussing psychopathy, so I'll leave it at that.
    Humans have the capacity to have empathy. Even for insects. Even for other humans.

    But humans are free.

    They can easily ignore their feelings too.

    The good feelings that come from tragedy that unite people don't last long.

    I remember 911.

  8. Top | #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by spikepipsqueak View Post
    You could not possibly have done more for that bird and as you say, another time you will have more knowledge and experience.

    That sort of compassion is exactly the sort of thing we need to wave at Christians who claim that without god there is no morality.

    .
    I have a walking stick. I walk with it every day. It is a fairly stout seeming young tree, and I have been pouring free time and spending the majority of my personal allotment of artistic insanity on it. I have chucked countless hours into the pursuit of this, killed a fair number of trees, and put more calluses into my hands working knives and saws and sandpaper than I would have liked. Far more, in fact, than I would have had I actually EVER used a proper carving or sanding tool, or even had access to a sharper than "dull" saw blade; I didn't.

    Now, it being by virtue of what it is, namely a piece of stout wood a hand shorter than I am tall, this thing is shaped like a weapon. Had I not spent all the hours of work on this labor of love, it would, in fact, be a weapon.

    But here's the rub: after years of work, this thing is not, in fact, a weapon any longer. Sure, I could swing it like one, but it would destroy all that it is.

    But yet, whenever I have the power to express that it is a weapon, whenever I am offered with the opportunity to view it from that perspective, I feel both me, and the work I have done to make it what it is (a piece of art) less, and it is merely defiled.

    So too, the joy I get from helping others. Surely it IS a comfort when someone would claim I lack empathy because I have no god. But as with my staff, I feel like I have walked through a swamp and had the bugs there drink their fill of me, and had the mud there found a home on me to look at my love as a weapon against anything or anyone, even an insult I know will come back again and again like a bad penny, and all for the sake of merely having thought of it, not even having done it.

    Perhaps I should instead, when I think of that question, ask "do I have enough empathy?" And allow myself the doubt.

    Instead, I will fashion a different weapon, an actual weapon against such: "Gods are not the reason we have empathy. Empathy is merely the byproduct of the Social Paradigm, and so Empathy is born in the question of whether you have it, and the honest acceptance that 'I do not have enough!'; if you assume you have it, take it for granted because 'gods', perhaps you are the one who lack it. So, gods do not grant empathy; rather, they take it away and replace it with a lie."

  9. Top | #19
    Formerly Joedad
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    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by untermensche View Post
    There is usually a limit to our empathy.

    It can extend to small birds.

    But what about the insects the bird is eating?

    Do we care about that life?
    Of course we do. They are food for the birds and frogs who we love. I do sometimes feel a little bit sorry for the bugs that I vacuum up when they make it into my house, but I will happily swat a mosquito who bites me. Did anyone here say that our empathy is unlimited? I didn't think so. In fact, maybe you missed the point. I think the point is that humans are often happy to rescue helpless little creatures, not that humans are empathetic all of the time.

    For example, neighbors might not care about each other until there is a disaster or tragedy, then suddenly they join together to help the victims of the disaster.

    And, some humans totally lack empathy. We usually refer to them as sociopaths, or psychopaths, a condition that is a brain disorder, according to a book I read about psychopathy. That is why I can feel both disgust and empathy for a psychopath. I don't think they can help what they are, but I'm not interested in discussing psychopathy, so I'll leave it at that.
    Yep. Some of us seem to constantly separate the good from the perfect. Everything is perfect or it's broken. A little empathy isn't anything good because it isn't complete empathy. Therefore a little empathy is something bad. That is certainly a mental disorder, at least by today's standards. Maybe it wasn't a disorder 250,000 human years ago.

  10. Top | #20
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    It is not about good or bad.

    It is about the strangeness of caring about the bird but not the living things the bird is eating.

    You have some birds that eat small mammals.

    Do we feel empathy for the bird or the mammal?

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