In times like these, it’s often difficult to determine why we’re drawn to people, circumstances, and events that the masses may not normally be drawn to. In America, the most notable are the events where the good guys suffered great loss, Pearl Harbor, 9/11, Japan’s earthquake, Thailand tsunami, devastating earthquakes in Haiti, and most recently, the event during the Boston Marathon. However, what is slowly dying in the background is the empathy for another person’s soul, the pull on the heart to save another’s life. You see, it’s easy to feel sorrow for the masses, but increasingly difficult to do so for the individual.

America struggles with so much sadness today, not unlike the rest of the world, but fails daily to see it for what it really is or worse, even recognize it. There are millions of homeless people starving, millions of children that won’t be adopted, millions of families torn apart by tragedy, and millions who will live through their old age with no one by their side. But if you see just one homeless person, one unadopted child, one family member facing tragedy, or one lonely person outside of a retirement home, it’s become easy not to feel empathy for them. Why is it that for us to feel conviction to help one another, it requires a global tragedy or mass epidemic? Why is it that we can’t really feel empathy for the individual? Can you not watch the following video without feeling empathy for Paul Cardall?

Sadly, our culture has begun to pre-qualify life by circumstance and not by the individual. “John was a bad guy, so he deserves to be in solitary confinement.” “She’s rich, no need to send her flowers.” “They’re not American’s, send them back to their country for healthcare.” “He spent all his money on drugs, let him rot in prison.” “I don’t know you, why should I care?” The value of a single life has eroded immensely in the last 10-20 years. This is why you see so many people today filled with hatred and have no other way to express it than by pursuing those who they consider weak... those left still filled with empathy. 
They say the character of someone is defined by what they do without recognition, but if you were to take it a step further and say that the character of someone is defined by what you do without recognition and without prequalification, many would find themselves with great character flaws. Have we found ourselves in a country that makes the choice of who deserves to live and who deserves to die based on the circumstances of their life? Isn’t this what we’re hoping to eliminate with proper health care reform?

When did empathy become a “sign of weakness”? Should the circumstances of one’s life really determine how you treat them or how you deem they should be treated? Has America grown cold? Does the individual not matter anymore? 

It may just be that the last thing America has left to fight for will be empathy. Don’t save it up for a tragedy, don’t ignore it to appear strong by society’s standards. Open your eyes and see the world around you, see... the individual.


Sources:
John
6/24/2013 02:44:10 am

People often say they feel bad about something because they're supposed to say it, it's just lip service. Maybe because people are becoming immune to graphic pictures or too busy going from a to b to just stop and think. I mentioned about feeling sorry for someone recently and was told that's because your a softy, I didn't take that as an insult. The media also directs us at times as to who we should feel empathy for.

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Sophie
6/24/2013 05:13:26 am

^Nice comment and nice post.
The thing is, it's become every man for himself and let's just forget about the ones left behind. Which is a real shame.

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B
6/24/2013 06:44:45 am

People used to show more empathy before. Today, unfortunately, the brainwashing from the mainstream media has made people less compassionate. They present more and more and with more emotive words and images the events they consider worthy to show empathy, At the same time, they 'assassinate' people who show empathy for events they don not approve. For example, they are keep talking about Jahar supporters with the worst and most despicable words they could have found.

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John
6/24/2013 07:03:19 am

It's also as if you can justify your own bad behaviour because you think someone else has done wrong, e.g. Parents showing children the blood marks at Watertown and implying that it is a win for America. A man had died at that scene and a cop had been seriously injured people who lived in the area were in danger(according to reports) and children were being brought here like it was a celebration, something to be proud of. How can these children have empathy. The same way some people's response to the bombs were to take pictures and record it rather than help. It's all about show. I honestly believe the world has gone mad.

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Joker
6/24/2013 12:42:41 pm

Those " USA! " chants are embarrassing too.

John
6/24/2013 08:29:27 pm

Those chants were really sickening, nothing about the bombing would make me want to chant. Even the Boston strong is a little too much too soon for me. I understand you don't want to give the perception that the bombings had the effect that the bombers wanted but people have been seriously affected for the rest of their lives but its treated like their ok with it. This is not directed at Jeff Bauman but the reporters: instead of hearing that he was in shock or scared or in pain or confused etc we hear that he immediately woke up and wrote the description of the bomber, true or not, it just eliminated the idea that he is a victim, which is possibly why some people don't have a problem calling him fake.

Shelley
6/24/2013 12:27:40 pm

It is strange today how physical might and violence is considered to be respectable or something that we should strive for and empathy is considered a form of weakness. I felt this coming over society since my adolescence over 20 years ago, and it seems to have taken over. It is a complete lack of respect for anyone or anything. I have been reflecting a lot on our society, and I am afraid that my generation has dragged this ugly trait out into the mainstream making 'softness' laughable. So many people seem to see themselves as the main character in a Schwarzenegger/Willis/Stallone movie - firing off pithy lines as they blow all the other characters away. Scary to see grown ups acting this way.

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Jaci
6/26/2013 12:39:44 pm

On the other side of the coin, so many people feel empathy for Jahar. I am in my late 30's and I have never seen anything like this! Through the Internet, we have really come to know this kid. Not so long ago, we would of read a few articles in the newspaper and coverage on the news. We would have no empathy at all. I've visited sites, where people are posting birthday wishes for him, and on the freeJahar official site, I can't believe how people are expressing love for this family that they never met! On one hand, I think what nice people, on the other hand, I think aren't you going to feel strange if he confesses?
I honestly don't know if he is innocent or guilty, I have never questioned our government before, but there are so many odd things that have happened, and so many inconsistencies that I could believe he is innocent. Watertown with the supposed bombs make me question innocence.
Regardless, when the previous article said Conrad likes to plead guilty, I felt really bad that he may not get a fair chance. If he admits guilt and is proven without a doubt that he is guilty, I will still feel bad that someone with so much life ahead of him threw it away! I really feel I shouldn't feel that way, if he did such a horrible thing to innocent people. But through the Internet, he has become a likable figure.

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Margaret
7/2/2013 12:22:13 am

A human being is a human being regardless of what they've done. A person is more than the worst thing they've ever done.The death penalty benefits no one. Every execution diminishes the humanity of all of us. The measure of a civilization is how it treats its prisoners.




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