Friday, December 20, 2013

Another Gryphen's daughter contribution to IM. This one is pretty fascinating.

Courtesy of Elephant Journal:  

“Empathy is the opposite of Utopia. There is no empathy in heaven, I can tell you before you get there. There isn’t any empathy in heaven because there’s no mortality. There’s no empathy in utopia because there’s no suffering. Empathy is grounded in the acknowledgement of death and the celebration of life and rooting for each other to flourish and be. It’s based on our frailty and imperfections. So when we are talking about building an empathetic civilization we are not talking about utopia, we are talking about the ability of humanity to show solidarity not only with each other but with our fellow creatures who have a one and only life on this planet. We are homo-empathicus.”

In other words the idea that what makes us law abiding, compassionate individuals, with morals, comes from God, or the idea of a god, is pure crap.

What makes us loving, giving, empathetic creatures is our sense of connection to those around us. It is our humanity.

And what can strip that away are the artificial differences created by geographic distance, politics, and religion.

And in the case of religion the belief that this life is only a probationary life before the eternal one that we will enjoy as Christians, also removes the sense of the temporary which activates our empathy.

So when somebody calls us secular humanists, they are not insulting us. They are recognizing how truly wonderful, and loving, and giving we human beings can be.

Oh, and we raise great kids too.


  1. First off, when I was small, I had frequent memories of living in other cultures. Those weren’t genetic memories because my flesh-and-blood relatives hadn’t lived there. They had to be spirit memories or the product of an accurate imagination. I believe they were spirit memories, so we live more than once, but I still have as much empathy as the next guy.

    That said, I enjoyed the video, but the secular humanists have their work cut out. I’ve met plenty of people who fit into society well enough, but are selfish to the core. We, as Community Earth, if I may coin a phrase, have a long way to go. And we shouldn’t stop trying.

  2. Boscoe5:28 AM

    I always wonder how much of a detriment to empathy and morality it is to not have to carry the responsibility for your own words and actions around on your own back because you've got a magical sky dude to forgive you.

    1. There’s that. As long as you can sneak in a “forgive me” on your deathbed, you’re good to go.

      I don’t really see empathy and nonbelief as being linked. Some religious people do kind acts with no thought of reward, it’s just their nature.

    2. Boscoe9:09 AM

      Yeah, I agree, it ultimately has little to do with religion, you're either a caring person or you're not.

      But for believers, I feel it's like Jesus' warning to the rich: It's not that being rich is inherently evil, it's just that being rich makes it easier to indulge and get away with your evil, so it takes way more effort to avoid the pitfalls.

      So if you live in a world where you believe you are inherently flawed and so your creator *expects* you to make mistakes and all you have to do is pray or go to confession in order to make it all better, then you risk having less motivation to avoid doing those bad things in the first place. Whereas a non-believer has to take the weight of their own behavior entirely upon their own conscience, every minute of every day, with only reconciliatory action as a way to make them feel better about their missteps.

      I mean, I've heard plenty of Christians rationalize the behavior of charlatans and scammers like Pat Robertson and Benny Hinn by saying "the good they do outweighs the bad." And I'm certain that's the way Pat and Benny rationalize it to themselves as well.

  3. Anonymous7:55 AM

    I think you are on to something, Darlene. I to had those trace memories. I don't think they were my imagination. I would have had nothing at all to base those memories on. Maybe we just keep doing life over and over until we get it right.


  4. Anonymous9:16 AM

    I have no memories myself, but these funky feelings. Then when I studied Buddhism the concept of reincarnation came up. I had a eureka moment: it all made sense.
    M from Md

  5. Anita Winecooler6:14 PM

    The capacity to empathize with other humans and creatures is based on our shared experiences.
    The artificial borders we create are meaningless in the grand scheme of things, what matters most is that we all laugh and cry in the same language no matter where we're from. What a world we could have if everyone lived this.

    What an amazingly simple, yet complex video clip, thanks for sharing it.


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