What would the world be like without empathy?

Let us reflect for a moment.

What is empathy? In the simplest terms, it is the ability to have compassion, to be able to understand another person’s emotional state, to be in a position to imagine and feel that person’s perspective on oneself. It is a skill, not an emotion. 

Now imagine a world without feeling empathy. In view of international mobility an employer would not understand that a student is abroad for the first time and is terrified by his situation and needs to be understood.  On the other hand, a student without empathy would not be able to get along in a group, entering into permanent relations and dialogue would be impossible. Without empathy, we would not react to the hurt of others or to brutality.  In a world without empathy, people would have to work 100% and study with the highest grades, there would be no excuses, no bad days, no dismissals due to bad moods, no excuses due to lack of skills. Nobody would try to understand us, so there would be no allowances. There would probably be no holidays, no understanding for overworked workers. We would be left alone with our problems, because no one would care what we felt, what hurt us.  We would stop hugging, patting each other on the shoulder and comforting each other. I think that its complete absence in our lives would lead to human catastrophe.

I have good news for you! that empathy is in our world, it is still doing ok and, what is more, it can be taken care of, can be learned, as long as we do not have brain changes that prevent us from doing so.  Empathy can be hereditary, but more importantly it can be stimulated by the environment, and I think that empathy is crucial right now, in a world where it is so needed .                              

I wrote that empathy is doing OK. Just OK. I think it is important to support it, pay attention to it and develop it in ourselves and others. First you have to start with yourself. We live in a time, when there is a certain acceptance of non-empathic behavior. Just take your popcorn in your hand and read the comments on social media posts, at school, in the workplace and on the street. How about your emptiness? it is doing well or is it worth working on a bit?  Empathy allows us to be ourselves, to be human with our needs and our imperfections. Feeling is, in my opinion, the opposite of indifference. I’ve been praising empathy a bit, but it’s also worth remembering that hyper-empathic people can get very trapped in their emptiness. And feel too much and too strongly, which can have a negative impact on their mood and worry. It is worth mentioning the two extreme states in order to keep a balance and not to lose ourselves in any of them. But in the end  it is worth feeling in order not to lose what is human.

Marta, Berlink

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