Empathy and life

The world is so interconnected now that really, our planet is one big neighborhood. Lets get to know our neighbors.
The world is so interconnected now that really, our planet is one big neighborhood. Lets get to know our neighbors.

Empathy and responsibility

“We do not need magic to change the world; we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.” - J. K. Rowling

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. ~John Muir, US naturalist and author.

Some years ago I had a salutary lesson in the responsibility we all have towards each other. I love playing music loudly on my hifi and one piece that I particularly love to listen to in “very loud” mode is the Richard Strauss tone poem “Also Sprach Zarathustra”, especially the Introduction. (For anyone who might be interested my favourite recording of this is the Lorin Maazel with the Wiener Philharmoniker on DG from 1983).

One Sunday morning I was listening at high volume to this piece. I thought we were far enough away from any neighbours for them not to be disturbed by the music. However, after a little while there was a knock on the door and two children told me their mother asked if I could please turn the music softer.

Somehow it doesn't matter that we think what we do has no repercussions. A learning for me is that everything we do, small or large, short term or long term, has repercussions, very often ones that we cannot even begin to imagine.

And this is where responsibility comes in. However much I might enjoy something, however much I might think I have a right to it, my enjoyment and my right are limited by my responsibility to my fellows, and, even more, to every living thing on this beautiful planet which we share.

Every decision I make I need to make with the awareness of the impact it might have on others and on the biosphere, because the kind of soap I use, the make of car I buy, the label of the wine that I enjoy with my meal (and, indeed, the nature of the meal itself), all of these have effects, they have consequences.

The plastic bag carelessly thrown out of a car window could very easily end up choking a turtle, which might have mistaken it for a jellyfish, to an agonising death.

Even more, the words I use in communication with others, my attitude to others, to the world around me, these are vital components of making a better world.

Auguries of Innocence

To see a world in a grain of sand,

And a heaven in a wild flower,

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,

And eternity in an hour.

 

A robin redbreast in a cage

Puts all heaven in a rage.

 

A dove-house fill'd with doves and pigeons

Shudders hell thro' all its regions.

 

..............................................

Every night and every morn

Some to misery are born,

Every morn and every night

Some are born to sweet delight.

 

Some are born to sweet delight,

Some are born to endless night.

 

We are led to believe a lie

When we see not thro' the eye,

Which was born in a night to perish in a night,

When the soul slept in beams of light.

 

God appears, and God is light,

To those poor souls who dwell in night;

But does a human form display

To those who dwell in realms of day.

  • William Blake

Dependent on each other in so complex a manner

“The heart has its reasons which reason knows not of.” – Pascal.

"Since all creation is a whole, separateness is an illusion. Like it or not, we are team players. Power comes through cooperation, independence through service, and a greater self through selflessness." - from The Tao of Leadership by John Heider (Bantam, 1986)

Are these truisms that most or all people accept? I'm not sure, and I want to examine some things about empathy and responsibility that might help us understand and do something with that understanding.

In the final paragraph of his great work, On the Origin of Species , Charles Darwin wrote in 1859: “It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner , have all been produced by laws acting around us.” (my italics)

Author and economist Jeremy Rifkin states a similar idea in a Huffington Post article (January 2010): “The biosphere is the narrow band that extends some forty miles from the ocean floor to outer space where living creatures and the Earth's geochemical processes interact to sustain each other. We are learning that the biosphere functions like an indivisible organism. It is the continuous symbiotic relationships between every living creature and between living creatures and the geochemical processes that ensure the survival of the planetary organism and the individual species that live within its biospheric envelope. If every human life, the species as a whole, and all other life-forms are entwined with one another and with the geochemistry of the planet in a rich and complex choreography that sustains life itself, then we are all dependent on and responsible for the health of the whole organism .” (my italics)

To be human is to be mortal, a factor we share with all living organisms. Empathy is the ability to recognise that mortality and its consequences in ourselves and in every other living organism. Every living thing, from the tiniest single-cell organism to the (we like to think) most highly developed animal, humans, has a finite life-span. No amount of rejuvenating creams, anti-oxidants or any other nostrum is going to change that fact. We are all born to die. No question.

What is important is how we use the time between birth and death. Do we spend that time in bitter railing against the inevitability of death, or in apathetic ignoring of that particular elephant which is always with us in the room. Fighting the inevitability of death, ignoring it or denying are less than optimal responses to it. The only creative way is to accept it and deal with the resulting feelings of anger or fear. In accepting it we will be able to see it in other living things, and this will open the way to our acknowledgement of our kinship with all life.

Empathy is the recognition of mortality in ourselves and in other living things, both human and non-human. To empathise is to recognise that, in Rifkin's words, “every human life, the species as a whole, and all other life-forms are entwined with one another and with the geochemistry of the planet in a rich and complex choreography,” and to acknowledge, face and accept that choreography. Empathy is critical to our individual and collective well-being. Not to mention the continuation of human life.

The difficulty many people have with empathy comes I think from two sources or factors. Firstly to accept the inevitability of death is to acknowledge that we are vulnerable, we are not invincible. Secondly, and this is of course not unrelated to the first, empathy introduces the possibility that we might experience change, that change might indeed be expected of us.

The Empathy symbol
The Empathy symbol
Hindu symbol of the universe
Hindu symbol of the universe
Christ Pantocrator. Image from Aquinas and More
Christ Pantocrator. Image from Aquinas and More

Vulnerability - grieving for Margaret

“But while we are thus shrouded by gross earthly veils,

How can the tones of the dancing spheres reach us?” - Rumi

For many people the denial of the inevitability of death means a denial of their emotional life, because dealing with the emotions means entering a world unknown, a world of darkness. Wilson van Dusen (“The Natural Depth in Man”, in Rogers and Stevens, Person to Person Souvenir Press, 1973) wrote of the “inner me”, which he also called l'autre moi , which is distinctly different from the “outer me” and includes “spontaneous associations of thought which arise unbidden when in a social context or alone.” Van Dusen pointed out that “The border of the inner is reached when spontaneous thoughts, feelings, or images arise, perhaps related to the outer situation at hand, but still autonomously surprising in their nature.” Empathy starts here. Daniel Goleman in his great book Emotional Intelligence (Bloomsbury, 1996), wrote, “Empathy builds on self-awareness; the more open we are to our own emotions, the more skilled we will be in reading feelings.”

This is precisely what we have difficulty with. Carl Rogers, in his essay “What it Means to Become a Person” (in On Becoming a Person , Houghton Mifflin, 1995), wrote, “In our daily lives there are a thousand and one reasons for not letting ourselves experience our attitudes fully, reasons from our past and from the present, reasons that reside within the social situation. It seems too dangerous, too potentially damaging, to experience them freely and fully.” And so we immerse ourselves in many avoidance strategies, like the pursuit of efficiency, money, status, power, ideological commitment, sex, ways to fill “the earth and subdue it, rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky, over every living creature that moves on the ground” (Genesis 1: 28). Using these avoidance strategies blunts our sensitivity to not only our own feelings, but those of others. Goleman again: “The emotional notes and chords that weave through people's words and actions – the telling tone of voice or shift in posture, the eloquent silence or telltale tremble – go by unnoted.” Goleman continues: “This failure to register another's feelings is a major deficit in emotional intelligence, and a tragic failing in what it means to be human. For all rapport, the root of caring, stems from emotional attunement, from the capacity for empathy.”

Empathy, then, means to understand, at a very deep level, how another person is feeling, because we experience our own feelings clearly, and can see them in another.

“Now no matter, child, the name:

Sorrow's springs are the same.

Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed

What heart heard of, ghost guessed:

It is the blight man was born for,

It is Margaret you mourn for.”

  • Gerard Manley Hopkins.

The Communist Party symbol. What do you feel when you see it?
The Communist Party symbol. What do you feel when you see it?
Symbol of Islam. What do you feel when you see it?
Symbol of Islam. What do you feel when you see it?
A mirror neuron is a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another. In humans, brain activity consistent with that of mirror neurons has been found in the premotor cortex and the inferior
A mirror neuron is a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another. In humans, brain activity consistent with that of mirror neurons has been found in the premotor cortex and the inferior
A section of DNA. The bases lie horizontally between the two spiraling strands. Image from Wikipedia
A section of DNA. The bases lie horizontally between the two spiraling strands. Image from Wikipedia
Cheyenne Symbol of the Universe Shield. Image from http://www.sacred-geometry.com/Print_Cheyenne_Symbol_of_the_Universe.htm
Cheyenne Symbol of the Universe Shield. Image from http://www.sacred-geometry.com/Print_Cheyenne_Symbol_of_the_Universe.htm
William Irwin Thompson. Under "the Gates" in Central Park, 2005. Photo: Michele Laporte
William Irwin Thompson. Under "the Gates" in Central Park, 2005. Photo: Michele Laporte

Change

From this flows the second aspect of empathy that is not easy to cope with – change. Because if we can understand another person's feelings because we recognise similar feelings in ourselves, it means we are starting to see the world from their point of view, we are moving into their world. This means having to let go of our view of the world, to which we have a strong attachment. We like to be “right” about things and it's very hard to let go of our “rightness”, which is why ideology and religion (though, perhaps, not spirituality) have such a strong hold on us. They tend to confirm us in the “rightness” of our position. But if we start to see the world from another person's perspective, we might have to modify or let go of our perspective. Dangerous stuff!

Change means we can no longer hide behind blame. If I can see the world as my enemy sees it, really understand my enemy's perception of it, can I remain in a state of enmity? If I'm a communist and really take the trouble to understand where the CEO of a large corporation is coming from, what his or her perspective on the world is, am I not in danger of losing the reason for my communist faith? If I as a Christian can really get into the world view of my Muslim neighbour, can I still think that Muslims are terrorists? If I as a black woman can really understand how a white man thinks and feels, can I still live in fear of him? If I, as an older white working class male, can really see the world from the point of view of the young unemployed black man, can I keep my prejudice against young black males?

No, I will have to let go of my need to blame others for my state of being, and start to accept others, and myself. I will have to forgive others, and myself. Because, once I have understood myself and others, once I have shared, to some extent, the world view of another, forgiveness is the only option left. I will have to let go of all those nice, comforting feelings of anger, hate and resentment against others because I will know that whatever anger, hate or resentment I feel, it is coming from me and to find peace I have to let them go, forgive myself and forgive everyone else also.

Empathy can get even more dangerous, really! We share this fragile biosphere with millions and billions of other organisms which carry the breath of life within them. Billions of other organisms have cells encoded with the code of life: DNA. Our life is connected, at a most intimate level, with every other living creature, from the microscopic single-celled amoeba to the most advanced primates.

Part of this vision of the connectedness of all life, indeed the whole universe, was beautifully expressed by William Irwin Thompson in his remarkable book At The Edge of History (Harper, 1979): “Since the mind is part of nature, we make a mistake when we imagine that the act of perception is through a window in which we are on one side and nature on the other. We are in nature, so there is no reason that subjectivity and objectivity should be so dissonantly arranged; it is more than likely that the key in which the nerves and the stars are strung is the same.”

So we are all ultimately part of the large scheme of things, the total system, and what affects a seal in the Arctic will have an impact on the whale in the Antarctic; what affects the turtle in the Gulf of Mexico has an impact on the sloth in Madagascar; what affects the little girl in a New York ghetto affects the Chinese farmer working in the rice paddy. We are not able to escape the bonds of mortality on planet earth, nor the bonds of a common dust in the universe. We are all, people and stars, of the same stuff.

Photo by Tony McGregor
Photo by Tony McGregor

Respect

What is the proper response, the enlightened human response to this connectedness? It is one of humility and awe in the face of the vastness of it all. It is one of respect, respect especially for life.

Of course this respect has to be given in the face of a world in which violence, hatred, disorder and unknowing are the order of the day.

So what is to be done in the face of mobs calling for the execution of a woman caught in adultery (the man in the case doesn't seem to deserve such punishment)? What to do when a man beats his wife's face to a pulp because he thinks she looked too long at another man in the supermarket? What to do when child dies on his mother's back because the doctors were too busy to attend to him? What to do when the oil is gushing out of the well and polluting the once-pristine waters and poisoning the fish on which people have relied for their livelihood for decades?

What to do in the face of the madness of war and the people who incite to war?

It feels too helpless to say that each individual needs to be aware of what is happening and take a stand against disconnectedness.

There are many forces in the world, and they are extremely powerful, trying to force people apart, trying to deny the living connectedness.

A white rhino
A white rhino
Viagra tablets
Viagra tablets

The age of Viagra

The power that seems supreme in the world is money. Just this week poachers killed a rhino in a local game reserve to cut off its horn to be used as medicine in the East. In spite of all the efforts being made to protect these animals they remain at the mercy of money. What parts of themselves did the poachers cut off as they cut off the unfortunate animal's horn? Was the money they were paid enough to balance out the self-amputation? Clearly it was, otherwise they would not have done that. That begs the question about how little a person can think of themselves that any amount of money could recompense them for such self-mutilation.

Another question this incident begs is, is there a need for powdered rhino horn in the age of viagra? What place does powdered rhino horn have when Viagra is available?

In this world, where such things can happen, I have to ask myself, what is my part in that, what role did I play in that brutal assault? Because for sure, I am part of each of the poachers, and I am part of the rhino, and I am part also of those who would pay for that horn. I have to think about that, however difficult and painful. I am a part of the world with all its pain, its injustice, its cruelty, and its beauty and love, and in that I have to make my own sense, and I hope, keep to the decision to respect and love it all.

To quote Thompson again: “...it would seem that we are at one of those moments when the whole meaning of nature, self, and civilisation is overturned in a re-visioning of history as important as any technological invention.”

The reality of our powerlessness

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey

Copyright Notice

The text this page, unless otherwise indicated, is by Tony McGregor, who hereby asserts his copyright on the material. Should you wish to use any of the text feel free to do so with proper attribution and, if possible, a link back to this page. Thank you.

© Tony McGregor 2010

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Comments 95 comments

Kadmiels profile image

Kadmiels 6 years ago from Florida

"The difficulty many people have with empathy comes I think from two sources or factors. Firstly to accept the inevitability of death is to acknowledge that we are vulnerable, we are not invincible. Secondly, and this is of course not unrelated to the first, empathy introduces the possibility that we might experience change, that change might indeed be expected of us."

I think you hit the nail right on the head with this comment.. We are inevitable of death and people do not like to acknowledge that we are forever doomed to die. Because of the current waking moment of their lives is there reality. Second people are afraid to change who they are or are already set in there ways so the idea of having to change themselves means that they have to admit they are a failure to their own mind. This is a hard concept for people to understand.. I am glad you have written this it really struck and cord with me and the understanding. Thanks!


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 6 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

Tony - this has to be one of your finest pieces. I'll come back to read and maybe comment further, but couldn't go out for the evening without at least acknowledging it! Wonderful offering :)


Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Tony I'm just getting to know your work, but this Hub is spectacular in both research and insight. Thank you for introducing me to so many like-minded authors, poets and philosophers. I have Hubbed on similar topics and am drawn particularly to your insights about ideology and religion (versus spirituality) which have such a strong hold on us. To be a truly spiritual being is to embrace everything positive about empathy and just about everything positive in this article. Well done!


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

Excellent, Tony! I think you've elevated empathy to the stature it deserves in our world. Too often, we let feeling rule us without considering the consequences. I love how you've listed out each aspect with such wonderful examples and images. This is a discourse that should be made compulsory reading!


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Kadmiels - thank you so much for that, and glad it struck a chord!

Dave - hope you are enjoying your night out! Your comment is really appreciated.

GL - I have seen some of your Hubs on such subjects and am also impressed. Thank you.

Shalini - your remarks are very kind and much appreciated.

Thanks everyone - this was a labour of love, really, and your visits and comments have made it all the more worthwhile.

Love and peace

Tony


VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 6 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

This is an excellent article, Tony. We are all indeed connected, and I so agree that our actions, deeds and even thoughts affect the whole. I am experiencing a challenge where my heart has been in the right place regarding a family member, but the fruits of that love extended looks weird/unfair to my human perception. Thanks for this, perfect timing as your observations encourages me to reflect.

Have bookmarked this hub!


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Marie - thanks so much for your kind words and for the bookmark! Much appreciated indeed. I hope the issues with the family member get sorted out to your satrisfaction soon. Such things can be very unpleasant.

Love and peace

Tony


mulberry1 profile image

mulberry1 6 years ago

Even that first step seems too much for parts of society it seems. I can't count how many times I've read or heard that those who stop and consider, those who can see things from the "enemy's" point of view, are merely confused, weak minded individuals. The thought that the other side offers an insight we need to understand is almost considered criminal.

I enjoyed reading this. I think sometimes this is part of our larger purpose in life. To understand ourselves and others, to embrace the connection.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Christine - indeed I think that is true and very sad. We miss so much from being stubborn and narrow-minded, don't we?

Thanks for coming by and commenting - as usual your comment is insightful and helpful.

Love and peace

Tony


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 6 years ago from South Africa

Tony, I agree wholeheartedly with everything you’ve ‘said’ in this hub. Once you are able to imagine life in the shoes of another, you change, for sure, your perceptions and prejudices. Do you know the African saying – “A human being is a human being through human beings.” To be more ‘right’ in accordance with your point of view I would take ‘human’ out of the sentence.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Martie - thanks for the great comment. I do know the saying - "umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu." My philosophy prof at Stellenbosch used to say "'n Mens is 'n mens deur mense." That is the core of uBuntu.

Love and peace

Tony


Dame Scribe profile image

Dame Scribe 6 years ago from Canada

I find it strangely funny that sometimes when we 'can't stand' this other person ..deep down it's because we see a reflection of our inner selves. :) Awesome article!


Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 6 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

If a person can place a reflective judgment on theirslves then I can empathize with them other than that it,s business as usual...


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

Since everyone is rightly singing your praises, Young Tony, I shall be facetious.

With regards to your comment

“If I'm a communist and really take the trouble to understand where the CEO of a large corporation is coming from, what his or her perspective on the world is, am I not in danger of losing the reason for my communist faith?”

As a confirmed capitalist, may I just say that had this been the case, meaning had the communists been able to understand the brain of a CEO of a large organisation, such as GOLDMAN SACHS the iron curtain would never have fallen? :-)))


Hummingbird5356 profile image

Hummingbird5356 6 years ago

What you write is very true. All our actions affect others. For instance, only meeting someone new affects their life and people around them.

So as you say, there is a part of us in everyone else. As I sit here and write this I know that there are still many more people that I will meet in my life, thus changing theirs.

We really do need to have empathy for others because we are not here alone on this earth and if we want to live peacefully we must consider them.

As usual a very scholarly piece of writing. Thank you.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Your discussion of self-mutilation is gripping. I won't forget this essay for a long time, Tony.


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 6 years ago from Great Britain

Incredably good hub, even by your high standards. Enjoyed it thoroughly. The William Blake poem was a lovely touch too. (Empathy:- Your pain in my heart:)

Thank you Tony x


equealla profile image

equealla 6 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

Someone said : We are not guilty, we are responsible. You gave me a new dimention of understanding by bringing in empathy. Thank you Tony. Empathy can be the tool that saves the world.

It is just sad that my trying to understand the rhino killer, does not save the poor beast. They have killed another one of these magnificent animals on Friday. She was dead, and they found her with her baby suckling desperately hungry on the dead mommy.

I try, but my understanding and my empathy cannot stretch to the same length in certain cases.

I enjoyed the poem. William, I think, had more wisdom and clarity in his mind, than a thousand people today. He was indeed a master, way upfront of his own, as well as our time.


amillar profile image

amillar 6 years ago from Scotland, UK

This hub reminds me of an old Scottish saying: ‘We’re a’ Jock Tamson’s bairns’, which we should always remember. (Although, Jock might deny it.)


kimh039 profile image

kimh039 6 years ago

Thanks tonymac. Very eloquent.....and deep. I have often been amazed at how some people can rigidly hold on to judgments and perspectives with absolute certainty without even considering alternative viewpoints. Fear of losing that sense of certainty and omnipotence (which never really existed) is a good explanation. I have to admit, I sometimes envy a person who doesn't feel a need to be bothered by considering another's perspective! It's easier - the more traveled road. I like what equealla said above too; guilt and responsibility get confused a lot. Very thought provoking. Thanks!


equealla profile image

equealla 6 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

Tony, Sorry I am using your hub for conversation, but I am totally at loss. Amillar, Who is Jock? I only know Jock of the Bushveld, and he was a dog!

When I was younger we did not have cyber, so I missed some pieces. Please help!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS

As I knew you would when I saw the new hub posted on my list of new hubs by my favorite writers, you've given another brilliant insight and treat to us.

Beginning with the audio mental image of “Also Sprach Zarathustra” playing loudly on your stereo sets the mood as only you could. I first really heard it as background music for the film "2001, A Space Odyssey" - which at that time seemed very distant and futuristic. Now here we are 9 years later than that "DISTANT' future and where are we? No closer to a better world, for sure. Are we? Well, YOU are! It was wonderful that you drew a lesson - not just for "other folks" but for yourself from that loudness being an imposition on others. If only people would practice such self-examination - and self-correction - much of today's woes might be averted!

But empathy should be - and can be - the most natural emotion we feel. We are all akin, we all share the same challenges and tribulations, with minor differences. And we can only really cooperate by recognizing our inter-deptendence. And without cooperation and all that it involves and requires, our species is damned and condemned to destroy itself. It's not like it is a trivial matter!

Carl Rogers - one of my gurus from many years back, along with Alan Watts, Abraham Maslow, and so many more great thinkers and human-being-embracers - and you've quoted Carl Rogers! wow. In fact - you've brought others to my attention I want to find and follow. You have such a great capacity for embracing a profound subject with such warm personal EMPATHY of your own, Tony. Thank you. It's no surprise or wonder than getting here fairly quickly after the notice was posted (I now get the digest of the day's new posts) - I find a LONG list of followers who have posted magnificent comments ahead of me. I'm glad you reach so many of us. And what a small army of empathetic souls we are! WOW.


i scribble profile image

i scribble 6 years ago

Tony,

Very pretty words, and much to think about. So glad I discovered you, or was it you that discovered me first? This must have taken many hours to create, and I appreciate the effort as well as the product. I will bookmark it and hopefully return to reread and ponder, because its almost too much to absorb and process in one sitting.

Here are a few thoughts that occurred to me first time through. I do not expect to escape death through aging, but my son or grandchildren might. I believe it is quite possible that medical research and genetic engineering will be able to halt the aging process in the not so distant future. Will this destroy the need or rationale for empathy that you have so eloquently expressed? Will humanity as a whole become less empathic and more amoral? It seems clear to me that compassion & living by the Golden Rule will be at least as critical as it is in the present. But what will the reality be?


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

DS - yes indeed! And thanks for the kind words.

Mentalist - not sure I understand your comment, but thanks for the visit!

Dimitris - your facetiousness is welcome! And I think to the point!

Hummingbird - thank you for calling my humble writing "scholarly"! I am duly gratified!

Sally - thank you. Glad you found it useful!

Dim - you have touched me, thank you!

Francis - thanks for your kind words too. I find it so hard that these peaceable and beautiful creatures get killed so mercilessly for money. I hurt, really. The saying Jock Tamson's bairns means that under the skin we are all the same. At least that's how I understand it.

Amillar - yes indeed we are all Jock Tamson's bairns indeed!

Kim - thank you so much for a thoughtful contribution here.

Everyone, I am deeply moved that you all took the time to read and comment. I appreciate it very much.

Love and peace

Tony


HSchneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

Bravo Tony! This is a wonderfully insightful Hub which I am only beginning to break down. It is one which I will be re-reading for a long time. There is so much to absorb that I fear I've missed ideas initially. I applied a year ago for a teaching program where I needed to write an essay stating why I would be a good teacher. Empathy was my first criteria for reaching young troubled inner city students. I also believe it to be true throughout our world. You encapsulated this so beautifully. Thank you for this. Please write more on this. I think I may also write some on this subject after reading more extensively on it.


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 6 years ago

hello Tony,

While I understand that there are people who are not emphathetic, it is very sad to know that there are millions of people on our planet who cannot feel empathy. I feel sorry for them. In my mind, to be able to feel empathy is a gift. It allows a feeling of like spirit and kinship.

I thoroughly enjoyed this hub as it gave me so much food for thought.

Well done, thumbs up!


seanorjohn profile image

seanorjohn 6 years ago

Excellent hub Tony. Yes, "no man is an Island". Empathy is the key to understanding our connectedness.


lxxy profile image

lxxy 6 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

Tony, you have much wisdom in your words. Each and every piece I read often leaves me happy with sitting down to enrich myself in your writing.

Thank you.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Nellieanna - thank you so much, dear sister, for your kind comments. I have been a Rogers fan for a long, long time. I had the singular honour of being present at a workshop he ran in Johannesburg in the 80s. It was one of the peak experiences of my life to see the great man in action. He was simply awesome!

i scribble - thanks for the thoughtful and thought-provoking comments. I'm not sure who discovered whom, but I'm glad we're following each other anyway! I think your question about the death thing, I think we will never be immortal. Not in the foreseeable future anyway. I think we will always have to deal with our mortality, even if it is delayed by years. Agree that the "Golden Rule" is also very, very important. Thanks.

HS - I actually am planning to write a possibly shorter Hub (this one was way too long, but I couldn't fit all my thoughts into a shorter one) on the more practical aspects of empathy and how it works. Thanks.

Trish - thank you so much. It is sad that some find it so difficult to step into another person's world. It does take both a willed act of imagination and some courage, so I do understand.

Seanorjohn - thank you so much for the comment. You put it so well.

Ixxy - your words are so kind, thank you.

To all you very good people - thanks for visiting and commenting. You have enriched my day.

Love and peace

Tony


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Thanks Tony! You know you get my Amen Sir! Now keep that “Also Sprach Zarathustra” turned down or I'll send some more kids over there!


valeriebelew profile image

valeriebelew 6 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

Thanks tonymac, for a truly thought provoking hub. I read Goleman's book, Emotional Intelligence, of which you write. The philosphy here also calls to mind that of Martin Luther King Jr., a few years back, when he made the state that he could not be rich when his neighbor was poor. Very good points, here, and uplifting positive read. (:v


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Micky sir, I will, yes sir!

Thank you my good friend. Appreciate your stopping by.

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Valerie - I really appreciate your kind and supportive words. Thank you. Goleman's book is great, isn't it?

Love and peace

Tony


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 6 years ago from Oakley, CA

Ah--very insightful hub! Well said! Funny, 'Thus Sprach Zarathustra' is also one of my favorite pieces. ;-)

I have just written a hub less about empathy, and more about genetic influences, and in a comedic tone, but it moved 'Sally's Trove' to refer me over here for a look at this hub.

I'm glad I followed up on her suggestion. This was a very thought-provoking read! Thanks!


Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 6 years ago from The Other Bangor

Glad there are so many comments already. It gave me a moment, as I scrolled down the page, to stop the tears.

This is such a beautiful hub that I want to cry for joy that you wrote it; cry for sadness at the disconnectedness you so brilliantly describe; cry for the absolute heart-splitting beauty and unity of everything in the biosphere (and out of it, too).

Oh Tony: I agree with Paraglider; this is the best piece you have written and the most sensible, cogent, and logical description of the necessity for empathy to feel the wonder of every single frikkin' cell in creation.

I'm gushing. No apologies.

This is bloody brilliant.

love,

Sheila. (Teresa McG.)


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

The shortage or absence of empathy in this world has long been a source of sorrow to me. Tony, you have written a most important piece and I thank you.

Amazing writing.


reddog1027 profile image

reddog1027 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

An awesome hub tony. One that deserves a second read. It makes me ask myself many questions the first is "How do we as humans balance taking care of "me and mine" in the here and now with making sure that the things we do leave the smallest foot print possible?


SilverGenes 6 years ago

I enjoyed every moment, every word of this very comprehensive hub. It will take more than one reading to absorb all the information you've presented but one thing that stands out to me now is your mention of the unspoken moments, the pauses, the eloquent silence that we so often miss because we do not listen.

I found myself wondering what it is that makes us so afraid to connect. Are we really afraid that if we accept someone else, we lose ourselves?

Your symbols along the side took me by surprise. The symbol of Islam has always reminded me of Cat Stevens' The Boy With the Moon & Star on His Head. A few years ago, one of my students did a photo slideshow to music and this was the music she chose. Her family is Muslim and were new to the country. My daughter was in high school and was listening to a lot of fearful talk at the time. The evening that I was grading the assignment, my daughter wandered by. There in front of her was a family, playing in snow for the first time, joking with one another over dinner and many other little things that families do. My child was forever changed in that moment. She said," Mom, I am so ashamed. They are just like us. They laugh and tease and play just the same." To this day, I thank that young student for sharing her family life so honestly. Empathy is what will save us.

Thank you for an article that I will be back to read many times.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

Tony your thoughts and writings are so true, the whole world is connected, all of the world,s people are tied together, really all anyone of us want is thuth, love, harmony in life, respect, dignity, but the greatest of all is love

Cheers


Tatjana-Mihaela profile image

Tatjana-Mihaela 6 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

Brilliant Hub, Tony. It heals and soothes fires of the soul.

Love and peace


JannyC profile image

JannyC 6 years ago

This was truly beautiful and well written with such a peaceful emotion.


H.C Porter profile image

H.C Porter 6 years ago from Lone Star State

I am so impressed with this hub-I am almost at a loss for words. You touched on so many different ideas and so many different dimensions to the emotional conditioning of humans and how we live our lives due to our emotions. Empathy, Pain, Regret, Compassion, Sorrow, Joy, Fear…Most have the ability to feel it all and make sense of our feelings to some degree.

You are right-we all must accept that we are waiting for death…and that is the story of life. We live life knowing that we are not going to last-so what is the point? To get into Heaven? To avoid our ideas of what Hell will be for us? Work/Love/Multiply/Fight over materials that we can’t do a darn thing with when we are dead/ fighting over power, money/ nonsense.

The way I look at life is simple…When I die, do whatever you wish to do with me-I don’t care, I can’t feel it, I am dead. If I truly lived my life and did right by others, I will be remembered by a few people, which makes life a little less temporary and a little more lasting (alive or dead).

I need to go to bed…I am not sure what I just wrote…lol, GREAT HUB! I WILL COME BACK WHEN I AM MORE LUCID AND ABLE TO FOCUS!


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Lizzy - thanks so much for the visit and the comment. Both much appreciated!

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Sheila - I appreciate your gushing very much! Such high praise from you is indeed an honour, a pearl of great price! I have no words left except a heartfelt thank you!

Love and peace

Tony


ainehannah profile image

ainehannah 6 years ago from Dublin

Wilson van Dusen (“The Natural Depth in Man”, in Rogers and Stevens, Person to Person Souvenir Press, 1973) wrote of the “inner me”, which he also called l'autre moi , which is distinctly different from the “outer me” and includes “spontaneous associations of thought which arise unbidden when in a social context or alone.” Having been introduced to Rifkin by you yesterday, today's gift is just as precious - thank you Tony. It's a very meaty hub, that I'll have to revisit to absorb more, and it's a joy to read. Thanks again.


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

Powerful stuff Tony. Consequences seem to be disregarded these days. The I'm Alright Jack culture flourishes, sadly.

An interesting and thought provoking read.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Laurel - I thank you sincerely. I am grateful for your appreciation.

Love and peace

Tony


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Tonymac04, This is so very deep it will take a few readings me to absorb so I'll bookmark it. I love what you've said and your words, "What is important is how we use the time between birth and death." How brief that time is. Enjoyed your quote from J.K. Rowling - her characters exude a depth of empathy, excepting the self absorbed villians.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

Another great hub from you. I really enjoy read this hub, very inspiring. Thank you very much. Vote this up. Have a good day!

Prasetio


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Carol - thank you so much for visiting and commenting. Your question is a very valid one. I think though that the best way to look after oneself and one's own is to be in good relations with others who cross our paths, through foregiveness and empathy. Forgiving and empathising are wonderful ways to ensure that our "footprint" is as small as is humanly possible. Hope thes few words help!?

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

SG - thanks os much for your wonderful words and tha gorgeous story about your daughter! Glad you found the symbols interesting.

Thanks again. Love and peace

Tony


dawnM profile image

dawnM 6 years ago from Camarillo, CA

very well done on empathy, I do understand that watching my father die from cancer, and feeling the pain of his loss, but it opened me up to others so that I can help them so thank-you for the great advice!


Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 6 years ago from USA

Excellent article Tony and yes empathy is a lost art among so many in our world today. Actually, we live in an "it's all about me" environment which is very sad. I was always taught that "detect and respect=empathy." I was also taught that "what goes around comes around."

Wouldn't it be nice if we all lived by those two simple rules---what a different world this would be!

"Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny."~Tryon Edwards


kaltopsyd profile image

kaltopsyd 6 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

Wow, I learned so much in this Hub. I wasn't aware of the sign for empathy. Now I know. This hub was filled with so many great quotes, poetry and I love the mention of "Also Sprach Zarathustra" in the beginning. I is a great piece. Thank you for a wonderful Hub.


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 6 years ago from Stepping past clutter

How did I miss this one? I cannot believe I did. But perhaps I was meant to read it today. Today our pastor gave an illuminating sermon. In fact the entire service was meditative because there was no music for a change. The organist and choir were off and Father Rick said at the beginning of the service that we needed to focus on listening in a new way. I absolutely loved it all. At the end of the service, I hugged him and said, "It was absolutely perfect for where I am at right now." He could not respond. I was sad because I spent so much time thinking of this that I lost some of what had happened in the service. It was as if he could speak it and set it up for all of us but he was uncertain how to converse about it.

What all this means to me is that change begins with words but the actions that follow the words are very difficult to show. It is the old show me don't tell me thing. Show me you love me, that you walk the talk. I think it hits me because that is where I am working these days.

Empathy is the ability to recognise that mortality and its consequences... we are all flawed and all finite. I love this. I will attempt to live it.

Thanks so much for this packed hub, tonymac.

In God's Time,

Barbara


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Ruby - thanks for you thoughtful comment. I agree about love too.

Tatjana - thanks to you also for the visit and the comment.

JannyC - I really appreciate your kind words.

HCP - I like your comments very much indeed,thank you.

Aine - thank you. The Rifkin vid is great, isn't it?

Dawn - your words bring calm to me, thank you!

Nancy - yes, the thing is to live it.

Kimberley - thanks for stopping by and commenting so thoughtfully.

Barbara - walking the talk is always a challenge. I also find it amazing that some people don't make the connection. Watch out for the Hub that's coming next!

Thanks everyone and I'm sorry not to bde responding individually and for the late response. Lots of family commitments have kept me away from the computer.

Love and peace to you all

Tony


Lisa HW profile image

Lisa HW 6 years ago from Massachusetts

I agree with others who have said (essentially) how nicely done this Hub is.

Separate from all the more important points in your Hub, on that matter of neighbors... I, personally, just think your neighbors should have bitten the bullet and realized that unless we move to an island there will occasionally be music (or other noise) we don't feel like hearing. My neighbor's habit it to (apparently) compulsively use his leaf-blower (for a long, long, time LOL ) at the crack of dawn on weekend mornings. I don't happen to be thrilled with it, but - hey - I don't live on an island. The guy works all week and probably has other plans for his weekend days. Life is short, and there's something to be said for asking whether someone is really hurting anyone/anything or not.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Peg and Prasetio - sorry I seem to have missed your comments. Thanks for coming by and again apologies for responding in one comment to you both! It's very late at night here and I'm trying to get to bed! LOL!

Thanks for you kind words.

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Lisa - thanks so much for the comment. I think you are right about biting the bullet, but still I would not want to be a pain if I can help it!

Love and peace

Tony


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

Wow! I love your writing. A question has been popping up and around my SocialNetwork of friends..."Can Empathy be Learned?, or Is a Person born Empathetic?"


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Lilly - thanks for stopping by and leaving such a lovely compliment. And I hope you have something more to build an answer to the question on!

Love and peace

Tony


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA

I enjoyed reading this thought provoking article. Good hub!


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Thanks for the visit and comment, Coolmon. Much appreciated.

Love and peace

Tony


GarnetBird profile image

GarnetBird 6 years ago from Northern California

Empathy is what makes us compassionate. I agree with so much you have said.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

GB - thank you for your valued visit and comment.

Love and peace

Tony


Medkh9 6 years ago

i really like your hub and the put you put forward your speculations


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Med - thank you so much for visiting and commenting. I appreciate it very much.

Love and peace

Tony


Healing Touch profile image

Healing Touch 6 years ago from Minnetonka, MN

tonymac,

I really appreciated this hub on empathy. I also read your other one and tried to comment, but for some reason the comment section is not even there. So I will say how as a psychotherapist by trade you have captured brilliantly on empathy.

Thanks.

Healing touch


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

I am honoured, Healing Touch, truly honoured by your kind words, thank you.

Love and peace

Tony


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

You have composed a truly outstanding piece of work from the heart here, my friend. I enjoyed reading it; soaking it in. I care about the world; mostly about people. And that is the reason I resolved to make sure people understand what they think they believe in. Oft times, they believe in or do not believe in things they do not understand. It is out of empathy that I write. Thank you.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

James - so glad for your words which are very kind and thoughtful.

Love and peace

Tony


Shinkicker profile image

Shinkicker 6 years ago from Scotland

Fantastic read Tony

A world divided against itself cannot thrive, I suppose.

It's hard for me to grasp the enormity but certainly more people are realising that the world is a complete organism which includes us in connection with everything else.

Thanks


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Stevie - thanks for the visit and the great comment. Much appreciated indeed! The way we are all connected is a huge idea, and I think, a life and eath one. If we don't get it, we won't survive, as you say.

Love and peace

Tony


Tranquilheart profile image

Tranquilheart 6 years ago from Canada

? HUGS ?


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Tranquilheart - Hugs to you too! I'm a great hugger!

Love and peace

Tony


perfectperception profile image

perfectperception 5 years ago from USA

Deep!


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Thank you kindly, Perfectperception. I appreciate your kind word!

Love and peace

Tony


Baileybear 5 years ago

yes, we are vulnerable but not invincible. Sometimes live seems pointless, and other times very worthwhile.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

BB - yes I think our feelings about life fluctuate with mood and outlook. What is required is self-understanding and understanding of others - these would help us feel some point to life.

In some strange paradoxical way our vulnerability is our strength.

Love and peace

Tony


Baileybear 5 years ago

yes, tony. I used to feel ashamed/humiliated that I suffered from a mood disorder and other issues, but I've since made my vulnerability my strength, by confronting it head-on and writing about it. In a way, I've become the hero of my story, not for being happy all the time, but by having the courage to face up to the crap that life throws at us.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

I just love that you've become the hero of your story! That is exactly how it should be, and I sense that you are in a very real way.

Love and peace

Tony


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

When I read about the rhino being killed, I experienced pain, anger and grief as many people cannot understand. I generally feel another living creatures' feelings (to put it simply without getting into spiritual matters) and for a strange reason, ever since I was a little kid I loved rhinos. They represent history and greatness. They are rather unique looking and they're harmless (unless you bother them). As an endangered specie, it is insanity to keep killing the few that are left.

Stories like this make me argue that turning the other cheek no longer works. Impale these bloody poachers and leave them on the side of the road. I am dead serious too ... just like that rhino!

I had other things to say but not anymore ... I will perhaps return later. Thank you for your blog.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Mr Happy - I appreciate how you feel about the poachers, though I might not necessarily agree with your solution! I hope you do return and say more here - your input is appreciated.

Thanks for stopping by.

Love and peace

Tony


fucsia profile image

fucsia 5 years ago

I really like the empathy of this page: I am the world, I am all , I am an important part to all. Our small everyday actions have an impact in the world. Our choices are important. That is why even when we buy a dress we must be consistent with our deepest ideals. And it is also a pleasure live consistently.

I am convinced that if we all look inside our hearts to find the happiness and the love that we have inside there would be no brutality. But this dream can not become real if it is not for me. Each of us plays an important role and in a sense each of us is a creator of the world.

Hub very thoughtful, thanks for writing this page.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Fucsia - thanks so much for stopping by and adding so beautifully to the discussion. I appreciate it very much indeed. Keep the dream alive!

Love and peace

Tony


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Mr. Tony, are you Italian by the way? (I was just curious how a Tony got to South Africa)? A quick assumption (which are generally bad) makes me think Tony is not a very common name in South Africa. You most certainly do not have to give me details, I'm just being the usual extra-curious me.

To begin with, I must thank you for dropping by my popcorn blog. Thank you greatly for your comments, I always appreciate them.

Now, on the poachers. There is a lot to say here and this discussion will have to be tied to morals, ethics, values and such. I stand by what I wrote in my above comment.

I would like to make a parenthesis here and talk about an experience I had last week when I went to my accountant's office. He's a very good man and most of all a trustworthy person (an important trait for an accountant, I would argue). When he told me that he is moving to the UK, I was disappointed. Who's gonna do my taxes?

He told me that I was on my own and that he did not know an accountant that he could trust to recommend to me. He told me of a few accountants he knew and he told me of how they scam their customers. He explained to me how everyone wants to go for the "quick kill" (as were his words).

I worked for many years in the car industry: selling/buying, etc. I also saw the "quick kill" attitude in people selling lemons (cars that will break-down on you after driving it off the lot) and then, playing possum when the customers returned.

This type of mentality is quite common. There are indeed some people out-there ready to rip-you off, even kill you if it is profitable for them. I do not stand for that. If you're the type of person ready to step on others' heads to get higher, better stay away from me.

I am for the most part polite, calm, kind, friendly and outgoing. Thus, when I see nasty people taking advantage of other people or the world around in general, I get upset to say the least.

With that in mind, I wrote in the above comment that turning the other cheek no longer works. You wrote that you disagree with my impaling solution. I do think that it would not take too many impaled poachers to slow-down this trend.

These animals cannot defend themselves from the riffles and night-vision scopes. They do not have the ability to survive in a world where people are hunting them day and night without care of the extinction of different species. And we need these animals. We need them in order to understand ourselves and the world in which we live. Acting like termites is not going to get us anywhere but to our own demise.

I do have to consider that I am much younger than you thus, I know less and I have less experience. Therefore, what does your experience and knowledge say on this topic? What does your heart tell you? Can things continue the way they are?

Those are my thoughts on the poaching situation and God forbid I ever meet one, it would not be good for him/her. I have no empathy for people without empathy. Is that not fair?

I do not think one can teach empathy. You either care about the world around you and Life itself, or you do not. I cannot say that I feel a little bad for that rhino, or that I feel a little bad for Palestinians living in refugee camps for the past thirty-forty years. No, I feel their pain: actual physical pain, distress, sorrow, anger, disillusionment, etc.

I am interested in what you have to say. I do not think I have the best solution(s). I do know though, that whatever we have been doing 'till now is not working well.

All the best.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

My Happy! - Thanks for the comment, which I really appreciate.

Firstly, no, I am not of Italian descent. The name "Tony" is simply a shortening of my full name which is Anthony. My mother was Welsh/English and my father Scottish/Dutch! So I'm a real mixture.

Like you I really do not like people who use others to get ahead. And also like you I have no time at all for the poachers. They are nasty, evil people who are only concerned with making money without concern for anyone or anything else.

The proble is that a rhino horn can getch up to around a million dollars apiece, which makes them highly sought-after and marketable.

The solution I think is to try to cut off the market. People need to be educated and made aware of the fallacious nature of the belief that rhino horn has aphrodisiac properties. When people realise that this belief is total nonsense they will no longer be prepared to pay for it. This belief seems to be prevalent in the East where the horns are disposed of by the poachers.

The South African Government is sending in highly armed patrols to fight the poachers but the problem with that is that the better armed the patrols are the poachers simply improve their technology and we end up in this dreadful cycle.

So we need to contribute to the awareness of the fallacy of the belief. Perhaps we need to make Viagra available very cheaply too! Viagra works while crushed rhino horn does not.

There are a few people accused of poaching who will be appearing in court soon and I will post info here about that when it happens.

The good news is that the Government and conservation authorities are taking this very seriously and working hard to find colutions.

Thanks again for your concern.

Love and peace

Tony


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Thank you for your comments Mr. Tony.

I agree is you education is the key. The only problem is that I am not sure if rhinos will survive before we can educate everyone. Should start dropping Viagra from planes like napalm ...

Education is one way to solve the problem but another way would be to provide work for people. I was thinking about this story in relation to Brazil and the people there who are continuously chopping-off at the rain forest. There's no money, no jobs so we end-up with illegal logging, poachers, etc. To top it all off there's massive corruption within the legal system and so you see, I have very little faith in the system. If convicted, what is the penalty for those poachers where you are? The penalty has to be harsh enough to deter people from wanting that million which you wrote about.

Thank you for the conversation. Cheers!


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

lol Seems like I need some more education. The "is" in the second sentence should be a "with". Just noticed that and a comma after "you" would help.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Mr Happy - "Should start dropping Viagra from planes like napalm ..." I love the thought!

Thanks for your comments, sir. Much appreciated.

Love and peace

Tony


edwin rutsch 5 years ago

May I suggest a further resources to learn more about empathy and compassion.

The Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

The Culture of Empathy website is the largest internet portal for resources and information about the values of empathy and compassion. It contains articles, conferences, definitions, experts, history, interviews,  videos, science and much more about empathy and compassion.

http://CultureOfEmpathy.com

Also, we invite you to post a link to your article about empathy to our Empathy Center Facebook page.

http://Facebook.com/EmpathyCenter

Let's Find 1 Million People Who Want to Build a Culture of Empathy and Compassion

http://Causes.com/Empathy

Warmly,

Edwin


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Edwin - thank you so much. I really appreciate your stopping by and the kind invitation to post a link to your FaceBook page. I have done so and I hope your friends enjoy the article.

I will edit this article to also include the link to the Culture of Empathy page.

Love and peace

Tony


Sembj profile image

Sembj 5 years ago

Awesome - I wish that there was time to read everything I wanted, I keep coming across great pieces of writing from writers I am just coming to know. I think you have it just about right in your summation.

As ever,

Sem


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 3 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Tony max, thinking of you in this most special birthday of your amazing Mahdeebah.


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 18 months ago from Northeast Ohio

What a great, powerful and beautiful Tony. Well written and well said. Voted up!

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