“Don’t judge my path if you haven’t walked my journey.”
I have spoken at great length of relativism, as it serves the purpose of explaining my disdain of critics. That somewhat lends a great perspective into what I am saying now. Empathy is the topic, and it is something that has come up to my attention in light of recent events. I have not changed my views on it, but certainly there has been many more discoveries.
So, empathy, defined as the ability to recognise and acknowledge degrees of emotions being experienced by another being. The keyword here is ‘recognise’ and ‘experience’. lest it be confused with sympathy. One is very personal, while the other is not. This distinction is not often made, and thus frequently leads to the two being mixed with each other. Empathy is essentially “walking a mile in someone’s shoe”. This is far from a new concept, and has been far touted across generations. We see this in movies all the time, usually making the villain one without empathy, often the oppressor of some sort, while the protagonist(s) the men of the people, something the audience can relate to. A lot of this is done because it sells, however. Fiction has never been confined to common sense, let alone the truth. The more prominent ones were usually made with the social climate in mind, and ironically enough, empathy.
I participate in charity events, a lot of them. Those are where I get a lot of my shirts, not because I am that cheap, but because the merchandise given are perfectly presentable and durable apparel. Sidetracking aside, I do not do charity to help whoever it’s for. Call me whatever you want, but I’m there to hear stories. Everyone has one, some plenty. Once in a while, I learn of one that really intrigues me, and makes everything worthwhile. I place a high emphasis on gaining perspective, because nothing is quite like the experience of changing your views completely. Furthermore, I do not necessarily have to agree with them, or even have sympathy for them, as there are plenty who deserve none; but every time there’s a talk, I am presented a glance into a completely different world. The world exists so differently for everyone, and that interests me. I do not wish to learn to better myself, but to draw existence as the art I want it to be.
I realise fully how abstract all of that sounds, and honestly it is the best description I can come up with without restricting myself to common means. Regardless, it brings me to my larger point: Do I really need empathy to judge others? It is something I notice being said quite often. Apparently because I am not from the same place they are, born in the same way they did and spent my childhood the same way they did, their actions are above my judgement. It is a pretty thing to say, but unfortunately the world does not spin like that. It is a collective whole of all being, influence by all of those interactions and aspirations. What exactly does a perspective into someone’s life grant me? I can understand why someone did what they did, but that does not somehow validate those things. People tend to think that if I’m judging someone, I must presume to at a moral highground. This is simply nonsensical. The reason we have laws and norms is so that logic and objectivity can be applied to situations that need dispute. Judges have never been picked for anything else, because it introduces bias. The reason human empathy is required in the court room sometimes isn’t because they are a good thing, but because the justice system itself is flawed and a personal touch can make things fair, like they should be.
In a context where there aren’t defined rules and regulations, the last thing I would want to judge others upon is empathy. Just because someone is a poor family’s only child, raised up after years of hard work, dedication and sacrifice, does not somehow render that person’s action above judgement. Empathy is for marketing and customer targeting, and some other obscure reasons that perhaps are similar to mine. However, that should be the end of it. That’s also part of the reason why I don’t talk about my characteristics or preferences, whether I chose them or not. They introduces bias, and as someone with a strong sense of opinions, the last thing I want people to do is empathise with me. What I say and what I do should be judged as they are, instead of the person they are attached to.
I understand fully that there will be other kinds of bias, we all have them. Where we live, the social climate we frequent, those we call associates, our hobbies, our characteristics, all of them introduce bias. However, that’s quite alright. It’s what make everyone unique, and that’s how everyone’s opinions should be. If you feel like pointing out how I am asserting my opinion rather strongly and calling those who disagree wrong, feel free.
I don’t actually have an idea of where I got that picture.