Empathic World

Commentaries

Expositions and explanations on each topic area.

Some of what are here may be a rehash or revision of old, out-of-date items in the Archive section.


The Community Garden As An Empathic World
Text-slide show (PDF, 8 pages, 65KB) 2015.5.29



It's time to change the world.

2015.5.29

It’s time to change the world towards an empathic world. The change would be done by us, not by waiting for others to do it, not by waiting for some leader to say so, but by enough of us doing so.

The world can be changed by following one guiding principle: empathy. We can change everything in one overnight motion, if we so choose. But until that point in time, each of us can be empathic and practice empathic behaviors now and every day. Most people react to others' behaviors and so behaving empathically now (instead of competitively) may have others react empathically—thus setting a pattern and spreading empathy that way, as well.

More than at any time before, we have the knowledge and know-how to transform our world as peacefully and as smoothly as possible.

More and more people are realizing that the current systems, regardless of the social, political and economic methods, do not work any more, if it ever truly did—depending on your point of view. From history and our own observations in our lifetime, we see the same patterns over and over again, perhaps re-emerging in different forms, but with the same consequences: poverty, hunger, homelessness, human trafficking, collateral damage and personal financial stress.

In our modern time, even with what we know and what we can do, these problems still persist. These are systemic problems, while the overarching tendencies of racism, ethnic conflicts, religious conflicts, hatred, revenge, violence, greed, hoarding, and the lust for power and control are the behaviors conditioned by the world we live in (a competitive world). The consequences of such competitive behaviors result in the systemic problems that continue on and on.

So, then, what’s the solution, especially to these systemic problems? And what’s the solution that would be to the benefit and betterment of everyone, or as many people as possible? An empathic world.

Basically, an empathic world is where empathy is the core foundation of life. Healthy empathy and empathic behaviors become the everyday norm. In empathy, individuals are given the greatest leeway to individual freedom, and communities are as supportive as possible since they would, after all, be made up of individuals who would be mostly empathic in their everyday.

The opposite of an empathic world is the kind of world we have today, a competitive world. While psychopathy may be a more direct opposite to empathy, in terms of describing the world, competitive is the more suitable term with which we can ascribe the various characteristics of our current world. The competitive world is what gives the psychopath the greatest opportunity in which to flourish. Not only that, the psychopathic attributes (fearless, can do anything, no shame, etc.) are what so many people look up to mainly because everyone lives in and must comply with the ways of the competitive world. We compete over everything, for ownership, for money, for profit, for better job, better pay, and so on and so forth. We are constantly in an “earn or starve” mode, fighting for our share, fighting for our due. This pits us against each other, one group against another, one ethnicity against another, one religion against another, one nation against another. To successfully compete against others, you must therefore either turn off or mute your empathy (turn off any compassion or consideration for the opponent). The psychopaths automatically have their empathy in the off switch, a huge advantage, and most people have their empathy, however small or large, neglected, distorted or dysfunctional. Their empathy has never been given a chance to develop and strengthen.

Very, very few people are either fully empathic or fully psychopathic. Most of us are somewhere in between. Those few who may be more strongly empathic can at times steer things towards empathy (not all such people), and those more psychopathic, towards competition and/or human misery in general (and not all such people—nice/non-harming psychopaths do exist mainly due to a loving upbringing). The rest of us tend to be swayed by the dominant conditions and by whoever may be dominant or influential in our lives (whether empathic or psychopathic/competitiveness).

For those who may be flummoxed by the competitive-psychopathy relationship, basically, when you compete, you are going against others. By having to go against others, you are invariably in conflict with them (whether a game, an argument, or war). Either you win and they lose, or they win and you lose. The more you engage your empathy in competition, the more compassion and considerate-ness towards your opponent may put you at a disadvantage (in war, this can be lethal if you hesitate to shoot them before they shoot you). The psychopath or near-psychopath has their empathy off or non-functioning, or muted. Therefore, psychopaths (especially high functioning, generally non-violent psychopaths) may have advantages, or less mental-emotional obstacles, in competing against others.

To effectively change the world, the four main root causes of the competitive world will have to be replaced with the four main root causes of an empathic world. The four root causes of the competitive world are ownership, means of exchange, leadership over others, and competition. The four root causes of an empathic world are empathy (empathy for others), self-empathy (empathy for self), empathy for all things (resources, nature, life, the planet), and free flow of personal energy (which would include the free flow of empathy).

The swiftest way to initiate an overall change is by first replacing all means of exchange (barter, trade, currency, money, credit, debt, labor) with the free flow of personal energy (where the essentials for life are freely accessible). That would trigger all the other root causes to change over. For this to happen as quickly as possible and as peacefully as possible, more than enough people need to know what to do. The purpose of these writings are to help spread that information. These writings are meant as a guide, if anything, to understand our current competitive world and a possible empathic world. It is in general, tries to cover as many areas as possible, and tries to provide details where it can.

To be clear, an empathic world will not be a utopia. A utopia is not possible since it means a perfect society, and as humans, we are far from perfect and are constantly going through struggles, challenges and constantly learning and advancing. A perfect society would always stay the same which for humanity and life in general means stagnation and eventual putrefaction. A society of robots may have their utopia, but not humans. In an empathic world, while the systemic problems will have nearly completely disappeared, on the other hand, individual or small group problems will not disappear, including murders, abuses, accidents, jealousy, anger, catastrophic errors, sociopathic and psychopathic acts. Not only that, there are things that we will pursue perhaps even more vigorously in an empathic world, including pursuing our curiosity, seeking challenges, risk taking, thrill seeking, skirting with danger, exploring the unknown, exploring the universe and seeking all sorts of experiences. We want to be free and we want to feel alive. People will push the boundaries of human abilities.

In an empathic world, we will struggle and make mistakes, but our general mode will be that of thriving and advancing instead of surviving and fighting against one another. There are many other ways in which to motivate people other than through fear and fighting. They would include individual freedom, freedom to self-express, belonging and connectivity with others, purpose and continual honing and achievement in skills and abilities in pursuing one’s purpose, one’s passion.

In our competitive world, people assume that if people have free food and all, they will become lazy with no motivation to do anything. In a competitive world, conditions make that a likelihood but it is a symptom, not human nature. It only seems to be human nature because given the same condition, we tend to get the same resulting behavior. Here are some things to consider:

Laziness is about personal energy, including the mental, physical and emotional state. Generally, laziness is one characteristic due to exhaustion and attrition from persistent long-term pressures of work, especially strenuous or abusive work environments, financial strains, and family and/or relationship stressors. The healthier and greater that personal energy, the more likely for movement, activity and the interaction (doing things) with others. The foundation for greater personal energy includes healthy foods, healthy relations with others, minimal stress, open to challenges and empathy.

Boredom is an issue of creative imaginative thinking, including the inability to think divergently. When the mind is unable to come up with various ways of self-interaction, such as daydreaming or adapting to the situation and engaging with what's at hand—example: having to wait in line, using one's surroundings (outdoor scenery or indoor visuals/architect) to use one’s imagination. Of course, now a days, people can use their mobile device to preoccupy themselves.
Other factors:
Upbringing—encouraged open mind or self-restricting mind.
Boundaries of normality (acceptability, fit in, peer pressure, image, what others think).
Stressors (work; pressures financial, social, etc.).

Complacency is related to the sense of purpose, as well as the stressors in life which may keep people complacent especially if they've achieved or are in a comfortable place.

Apathy is one of the symptoms of prolonged stress ending up with no capacity to deal with or do anything.

Self-sabotage may come from a lack of or having an out-of-sync awareness.

Hoarding comes mainly from a place of fear, as well as, from probable imbalances in life, physiologically and/or relationships.

Greed is the abstraction of hoarding (physical stuff to the non-physical things, such as money, power and control) and the addiction to the seemingly limitless possibility of the accumulation of the non-physical stuff: wealth, control of assets and resources, and power over others, over nature and all else.

As people become exposed to this understanding, more and more will help spread the word and more and more will be ready for the change to an empathic world.

Not everyone will want to make things better for everybody else. Those with the most to lose (money, power, control) may be the most who’ll likely oppose it, even if it means that in the end they’ll have more than they need. They’ll just not have the power and control they have now and so they will either fight to their own calamitous end or eventually adapt. They may be addicted to power and control, so they may have to be treated for the addiction, empathically, similarly to how others suffering from various addictions may be treated (with empathy rather than punitively).

Some of these people may be clinically psychopathic, meaning that while they are not serial killers, their inability to feel what others feel, whether totally or partially, allows them to make decisions that indirectly harm other people, sometimes masses of other people. Some refer to this kind of decision-making ability in a competitive world as “having what it takes” or “being able to make the hard decisions” or “being able to handle the ‘truth’” where the ‘truth’ is knowing that the ‘real world’ is supposedly a very harsh and brutal place. They are in effect perpetuating a very harsh and brutal world and their justifications include such belief as, “a few have to suffer or die for the sake of the many” while the result is also set up to benefit the select few, themselves, at the expense of the many, i.e., how the so called “real world” behaves. The observations matches their rhetoric, and their behavior perpetuates the observations. And the masses end up in a continuous cycle of self-repression: where we force ourselves and others to "earn or starve" thereby perpetuating the competitive world.

It’s time to let go of the belief that competition is good and instead focus on empathy: empathy for self, empathy for others, and empathy for all else.

However, since many will not know where to start or believe that they can’t do anything, not right now, then simply awareness will do. Our current condition drives our thinking and behaviors, but awareness can help people to break free of the current condition and begin shifting the root causes to create an empathic condition.