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Allan's Philosophy Podcast

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Empathy vs. Apathy

Being empathetic has just as many negative outcomes as being apathetic. Empathy (caring) has been romanticized ever since we were young as the ideal state of mind. We're all supposed to care about each other. Apathy (not caring) has been implanted in our minds as being bad. Since we should all care about everyone, it is bad to not care about someone or something. Unfortunately, just as the "happily ever afters" we grew up with were wrong, so was this. Caring has just as many bad outcomes as not caring. It sounds ludicrous when you first hear it, but it's true. Empathy leads to pain. Anytime you care about someone or something you give them power. The amount of power depends on the amount of care you give them. If you care about someone absolutely, it's the same as giving some absolute power, and as we all know absolute power corrupts absolutely. Apathy on the other hand allows you to keep all the power. It's a selfish thing to do, but if you don't care about anyone or anything then your as close to invincible as you can get. Being apathetic may even intrigue others to show empathy toward you in hopes that you will return the favor. This gives apathy even more power. However, apathy falls under the same problem as empathy. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. If you block out all feeling and all emotion, you'll end up losing everyone around you, and even though you won't care because you are apathetic, you will lose the power you once had. There's a balance you have to find. A balance between caring and not caring. You have to care enough to keep the people close to you, and not care enough to not let them hurt you. There's a point at which you will be maximizing power, and that point is when you will be the happiest. At that point, you will be having the maximum amount of enjoyment with those around you as you can without setting yourself up to get hurt.

Empathy will make everyone around you happy but hurt you.
Apathy will hurt everyone around you but make you happy.

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