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Johnathan.org • A technology blog produced by Johnathan Lyman covering a variety of tutorials, thoughts, and commentary on all of the technology around us.

Empathy Sebatical

Gabe, the Mac Drifter on Empathy:

Empathy requires us to inhabit the emotions of another person. That can only be done through building our own life experiences as stand-ins for the emotions of a foreign experience. Then we project ourselves into the life of the other. It’s often an unconscious response managed by our mirror neurons.



Since the 2016 election I have lost a lot of my empathy. Perhaps I’ve focused too much attention on my differences with people that cheer for racism or clap for sexism and violence against the dis-empowered. Whatever it is, I can no longer empathize with a large number of people in the world. Empathy can give us joy as easily as it can give us sorrow. I now find it difficult to mirror the joy in other people and this makes me sad. Empathy is one of the characteristics that make us special in the animal kingdom and I feel lesser for it’s frequent absence.

He brings up a good point, especially in the context of, as this New Yorker article puts it, the benevolent dictator Linus Torvalds steeping down as the head cheese over Linux.

I’m not convinced Linus will ever change. Maybe I’ve also lost a lot of my empathy.

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