People can have an amazing capacity to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, as the expression goes. The word for this ability is “empathy,” which is identifying with or even experiencing the thoughts, feelings, or attitudes of another person.
Empathy is naturally much easier for us to feel for people we really care about — and it can be very difficult to have the same feelings for strangers, although we often rise to the occasion in times of disaster.
Though, as usual, our dogs are way ahead of us when it comes to being empathetic, because it’s kind of what they do best.
Empathy is an emotional reaction, but it comes from a place of instinct, or at least it should. You can’t fool... Read More
A week ago, there was another unfortunate mass-shooting that reminds us of the fragility of life.
Now, it’s a myth that we’re the only species that kills its own. Nature is full of examples of that. The difference is that one animal will kill another of its kind for very specific survival reasons — food, territory, or competition over a mate. Humans will murder for those same reasons, but there are two more that are uniquely human motives.
Humans will commit murder over ideas, and will sometimes do it to get something they want. I believe that these two motives come from an excess of our uniquely human dimension: our intellectual approach to the world. The ironic end result is that... Read More