Comment on More human than human by cthomson

Hi Helen
You raise some interesting questions. Empathy as an assumed universal human trait is something that I have been questioning just about every day for the last year. With global events and increasing levels of trolling on social media empathy can appear to be on the decrease. How many humans would pass the Voight-Kampff test in 2017? The Women’s March events worldwide did restore some of my faith (ignoring the male-centric reactions of course) at least.

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  1. I agree empathy seems to be in decline overall. I wonder however, if the seeming decline in general empathy is more indicative that feelings of empathy are more focused in specific people groups or even political preference groups. In other words, we tend to empathize with those who share our same values or come from the same cultural group. Of course this is not a new idea, such has been the case since the beginning of time. But with the increase in social media outlets and platforms for people to express their views, that expression is more visible than it was 10, 15 or 20 year ago. Now you could say, based on that, empathy is on the rise. However, as our feelings of oneness and cohesiveness with a certain group becomes more focused, there may seem to be less concentration on the overall state of being of our societies, which in turn could leave the impression empathy is actually in decline.

    I realize this is all fairly nebulous thinking on my part, so forgive me. I am just wondering if the expansion of social media has allowed us to so pinpoint our loyalties and allows us to more specifically build the parameters of our involvement with each other that we sterilize the connectivity we have with everyone else who may not share our views. This could lead to the conclusion there may be a rise in feelings of alienation and rejection, which in reality may not be the case.

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