Tuesday, May 22, 2012
CAN EMPATHY SAVE THE HUMAN RACE?
It seems I often borrow from the blog Squalto’s Rant – and it is true.
Today I have co-opted the following video that he posted.
This is the type of video that if you begin watching you must watch to the end. The premise of the video is that human beings are moving toward empathy for all life on the earth and concern for the earth’s ecology in general.
This is a consummation much to be desired. Jeremy Rifkin is representative of a far left liberal thinker with a great ability to connect with his audience. He leaves you feeling that there is hope for human empathy because of the evolutionary development of the human brain which has been stimulated by the technical advancements is communication.
Being a cynical old fart I tend to see the down side to this argument. Human empathy hasn’t changed much since four million years ago when Australopithecus walked across the savanna in
Africa, picked up a stick, went
over a hill and beat the brains out of his neighbor and fucked his female.
We live in a tribal society and we don’t much concern ourselves for the tribes over the hill. We seek validation from our family, our church, or racial identity or our local or national identity. We decide which cult gratifies us the most and that is where we place our allegiance, while decrying other cults that do not stroke our ego.
Abraham Maslow was an American professor of Psychology who defined the human hierarchy of needs. People develop from the most basic needs of fulfillment toward the highest level of Actualization. People can not move into a higher level until they are secure in the levels below them.
The steps defined are:
PSYCHOLOGICAL: Breathing, food, water, waste, sleep, warmth, freedom from fear and freedom from sickness.
SAFETY: Physical security, family security, psychological security and financial security.
LOVE AND BELONGING: Friendships, family, sexual intimacy, group identity.
SELF-ESTEEM: Self respect, Respect of others.
SELF-ACTUALIZATION: Able to embrace facts and realities, spontaneous, creative, problem solving, caring for others, morality independent of authority and judge the world objectively.
Many people throughout the world today (including in the
are stuck in the SAFETY level – concerned with basic survival.
A good majority in this country are striving to BELONG – to seek gratification through a social network.
Very few of society are secured enough to be striving in the ESTEEM level.
And, an even smaller percentage (which must includes Jeremy Rifkin, - the producer of the video) find themselves secure enough to have reached SELD ACTUALIZATION.
Only the people in the SELF ACTUALIZATION level have the security and ability to be truly empathetic for the human race specifically and all other living things in general.
Add to this the high percentage of blatant human ignorance: The IQ is represented by a Bell Curve.
The top of the curve is declared to be 100 , with fifty percent of the people above the curve and fifty percent below the curve. The up side of the Bell Curve represents from high average to superior intellect – while the down side of the curve represents from average to below average intelligence.
The 100 IQ point shifts according to demographics of population growth. At the present time humans on the down side of the curve are breeding at a faster rate than those on the up side; which constantly skews the intelligence quota of the human race downward.
SELF ACTUALIZATION is not in the reach of everyone. Empathy is a pipe dream – though a beautiful one. But the reality is that the human race is not programmed for the gentleness that empathy would require.
I will watch the video again: maybe a few more times – for there is much presented that stimulates the thought processes. But in the end we live in the real world where human egocentricity has not changed much in four million years.