Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Empathy; double edged doodad

People tend to get worked up, feel self righteous, while identifying the downtrodden. Sometimes they assume some group is more beat down and powerless than they really are. I guess that is more a manifestation of a superiority complex and a need to appear benevolent than it is a true indication of empathy.

Even so, I've seen and known people in certain circumstances which tended to earn them the scorn of those who think they know what that situation is like to live, but they do not know. Some people are incapable of imagining any condition of life feels differently than their own. They are ignorant, and either totally lack imagination or brains, or something.

The thing that tends to happen when it becomes open season on judgement of a group, where they become the scapegoats of frustration, is that a lot of unjust things happen. If you can paint such vitriol with the brush of egalitarianism or self righteousness, then any values which go by the wayside are unnoticed.

That is much of what is happening with this class rhetoric which has provided a release for so many who just need something to blame and hate because life is a bit more tense than it ought to be. Rich is evil, therefore we should cut them down to size by confiscating their wealth for ourselves. That is as unfair, and cruel as some of the games which are played on the poor and ignorant.

Payment selling was designed to financially rape the poor. If they weren't ignorant, and greedy, it would not work. The guy making ten grand a year ought to know he cannot afford a twenty five thousand dollar car. But, if someone says they'll carry the note or the lease, he'll sink himself into it. The only reason why is that he is too greedy to use his head, and/or he does not realize that just because someone will allow him to do it does not mean it makes sense. In this case there is a bit of reality denying and greed on both sides of the board. "He signed the contract!". Yea, but you knew he was a half wit or otherwise highly unaware. I've been there. It is an ugly thing, and those jobs wear thin.

Empathy, or lack of it, cuts both ways. I'm highly empathetic to people who have made a lot of money through very consistent, disciplined effort and planning. Many times they are very bright. To think they do not deserve it because someone else is poor is a very stupid thing. One person creating and accumulating wealth does not make someone else poor. We are putting thievery and dishonesty aside for now.

When I hear this 99% talk, I still wonder what exactly that means, why is it nobler to be part of the average mass than of the exceptional few, and how you can decide that everyone is to be grouped in terms of income. Some mega wealthy people are evil, and some are not. Many of the self proclaimed 99% are greedy bastards who want to control the wealth of others, and some are not.

Maybe "we are the 99%" means we aren't the 1% who live under a bridge, in prison or have a terminal disease. Hadn't considered that, but it is a bit heartless and cruel to then protest that 1% of struggling unfortunates.

I'm pretty sure they are talking about money though. It gets confusing. People raising hell about the greedy rich, while they advocate spending the money of the rich on things they deem worthy, and which will benefit them. Sort of like the extortionist calling the miser greedy. In some cases the thief calling the victim greedy.

Just because someone has wealth does not mean they in no circumstances deserve empathy. It may be a surprise to some to know that even the wealthy feel pain, have hearts, heartbreak and cannot do everything they'd like for some of their loved ones. They cannot cure the incurable or ward off mortality. They are not by definition evil.

I've met as many (more, in reality) people of meager means who were evil and violent, unfeeling and lacking conscience as those who had some wealth. I feel far safer walking down an ultra wealthy street than I do a street in a housing project. That fact alone causes me to conclude that poverty is by no means a virtue, nor does it necessarily spawn decency and compassion.

I could be in poverty at any minute. I wouldn't think it would give me the right to mug people, be violent or destroy that which others have created and worked to build. I'd ignore licensing and zoning laws if I had to make myself a shelter. I'd ignore licensing laws if I had to sell trinkets on the corner trying to get a foothold.

Who knows, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the rich should hate everyone and anyone who wants to be richer should hate those who are. They all deserve the wrath; rich and poor alike. Nervy bastards.

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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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