Our Vanishing Empathy

What should be obvious to many is seen but rarely acknowledged.

The homeless person on the corner, begging for anything to make the miserableness they experience, just a tad less miserable. So few acknowledge the suffering before them, let alone help them with a couple of dollars.

The continuing slaughter of thousands of innocents, many of them children, in Yemen – if even seen on a report on whatever medium, we quickly dismiss.

Our own family members, some of whom are alone, living out their last years in some type of assisted living facility, hoping for a visit from a loved one – most haven’t the time to drive cross town to offer an hour out of their week to console, to visit – to give the human touch.

We know something is desperately wrong with the world at large, but whatever issues that are truly important enough to each of us to acknowledge – that we can either work to change, to disengage from, to scream from the heavens about, to protest, and more… taking them from SEP’s (somebody else’s problems) to something personal that we can change within our circle of lives is something we can all do.

Like most other virtues, we can teach ourselves to practice empathy. It is a fairly easy exercise to do – you imagine yourself in the position that the less fortunate before you is enduring…and then you act accordingly. This, indeed, requires a bit of self-awareness, and admission to ourselves that we alone, lost in our own worlds of doubt, of stupidity, of insecurities and a lifetime spent looking at ourselves first before we look to help another – our apathy can be turned to empathy – if we but choose to do it.

With a high percentage of the population fully and completely engaged with themselves – it is somewhat of an impossible dream to imagine less self-absorbed and more empathic individuals – yet, in its simplicity, it all starts with one of us practicing empathy, and re-igniting a virtue that may be our last hope.

***

Tonight’s musical offering:

“Es Ist ein Ros’ entsprungen” (Praetorius) ~ The Gesualdo Six at Ely Cathedral

The Gesualdo Six sing the beautiful German carol “Es ist ein Ros entsprungen” by Michael Praetorius under the medieval Octagon

Photo credit: http://www.unsplash.com/@anniespratt

 

 

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