Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

anti-empathy trailer

genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

Promo for a book that argues against a much-beloved empathy.

Hard not to feel some empathy, :)



  • howhow Veteran
    edited April 2016

    Lacks emotional intelligence in his selective analysis of what empathy is.
    Has empathy automatically be subject to our ego's playbook.
    Makes no differentiation between worldly empathy and spiritual empathy.

    Where Psychology limits itself to the delusions found within ones sandbox,

    true spirituality must also address the delusional basis for the sandbox itself.

  • Whilst ignorant Mahayana empathy and altruism may be limited, it is stll better than nothing. The altruism and empathy of the Boddhisattva is always more effective because it is tempered by wisdom.

    Sadly those 'we know best what is required', may in fact not understand the repercussions of their 'objective' behavour. Spiritual understanding that @how mentions, is always operating in part independent of ignorance, partial understanding and lesser ideals.

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Venerable Jampa at Sravasti Abbey spoke about something similar a little while ago.....

  • Tee Hee B)

    Thanks @Bunks <3

    What is being described very well by Venerable Jampa and the OP (original post) is idiot compassion. It is basically thinking/emoting oneself into an emotional state AND using this as a substitute for action.

    Who does this? Beginners, metta bhavna as a substitute for action, new age ultra spirituals and lobsters being kind to fish on the off chance of a meal :3

    Compassion is intensity leading to action without emotive attachment and entanglement.

    Seems like a plan ...

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @lobster said:
    Compassion is intensity leading to action without emotive attachment and entanglement.

    Seems like a plan ...

    That seems a little counter intuitive to me... Compassion is defined by dictionaries as:

    sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.
    "the victims should be treated with compassion"
    synonyms: pity, sympathy, feeling, fellow feeling, empathy, understanding, care, concern, solicitude, solicitousness, sensitivity, tender-heartedness, soft-heartedness, warm-heartedness, warmth, love, brotherly love, tenderness, gentleness, mercy, mercifulness, leniency, lenience, tolerance, consideration, kindness, humanity, humaneness, kind-heartedness, charity, benevolence

    It is by definition an emotional experience, a feeling that one experiences often when one identifies with another person one has met. The Buddhist ideal is to experience it without attachment, so that one can let go of it without clinging.

    But redefining it seems to lead to some linguistic pitfalls... It is surprising how often the teaching of concepts in Buddhism with precision comes down to linguistic issues of finding exactly the right wording.

    I recently started a course at a nearby Buddhist centre, and the first twelve sessions are all concerned with learning terms and understanding the linguistics.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited April 2016

    ^^^ Karuna and not metta is usually translated as compassion. It has qualities of wisdom, non attachment, detachment and to be effective may eventually be a non emotive state, more akin to 'right action'.

    Glad to hear you are learning. Soon you might be compassionate enough to teach us hopeless cases ...

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Lol yes, I hope to gain more compassionate views as well as precise understanding. No small goal, but while we are shooting we may as well aim for the moon!

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    Thanks @Bunks Venerable Jampa does a great job, its not something similar though it is exactly addressing the author of the OP video. The author words his idea as though he's promoting a selfish objectivism a la Ayn Rand, but what he is more arguing for is closer to the notion of a detached broad compassion over a reactive, self-absorbed empathy.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    it's funny how English often has so many more words than many other languages, yet with all of them we struggle to find what is captured in far fewer words (or a single word) in other languages. It is all part, I think, of the psychology of the over-thinking, over-analyzing western world. We think more words will help us narrow down the details, but as usually, we miss the forest for the trees.

    It is also difficult to simply take english words as defined in our dictionaries and attempt to apply them exactly to how they have been perhaps unevenly translated out of other languages. We can say "well here is our definition of 'mind.' Now what??" Yet when you talk to a Tibetan, the definition of mind is quite different. So when my teacher, who is Tibetan, talks about mind, I cannot simply tell him "you are wrong, because my dictionary says this." You kind of have to walk 2 worlds with different understandings of the languages when you are practicing within a belief set that is from another part of the world. You can't take your western definitions and try to apply them to poorly-translated Eastern concepts. The understanding has to come from beyond simple dictionary definitions.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    edited April 2016

    Decided to make 2 posts for easier readability, lol.

    Anyhow, the video/article. I think he makes some good points, but because he is writing a book he needs to pick things to focus on, so he picked some definitions to work into his ideas, but those words/definitions can be taken so many ways and from so many angles. I think he makes a good point in saying that people, enjoy the moral high of helping. Another consideration is how poorly that money is used, for example in the Haiti earthquake many millions were donated but mostly misused or not used at all to actually help the people. But yet people don't stop and question it or consider how to better use their charitable efforts. Because they are already past the high of having donated and feeling good about it.

    I tend to participate in local stuff more. We live in a small town and seeing small donations from lost of people resulting in major help for families in the area is nice. the tangible results are there, and it feels like you are actually helping, along with your fellow community members. It strengthens your community bond. Some can't afford to donate but they make a mean lasagna, so they deliver that instead. Sometimes I struggle with wondering if a tangible result is important but the biggest benefit I've seen is that when you help people in that way, and you get to know them a little bit, you more easily see just how alike we all are. How we have the same hopes and fears. And when you bond with people and realize that, it's easier to expand that outwards and realize that everyone else is the same, even the people you dislike the most. Everyone is afraid of something. Everyone loves something. As CTR says, "Everybody loves something. Even if it's burritos." Using those things ars a basis, it's easier to extend compassion to people we have a hard time with. Even if at first it is just in thought.

    But is that desire for a tangible result what keeps us focusing on individual people rather than humanity as a whole? I certainly feel no tangible results from walking instead of driving, or taking shorter showers. It feels hopeless to try to make a difference in global warming by eating less meat while industry is billowing away on astounding levels. Is the desire to focus on one single person (ie the baby in the well from the video) a bad thing? Can't we do both?

Sign In or Register to comment.