The Devolution of Empathy


“Nothing can be loved or hated unless it is first understood,” – Leonardo Da Vinci


Humanity has a constant fear of the unknown.


I know a lot of people who have a grudge against humanity. Who are disgusted to call themselves human beings. And, when you think about it, it’s easy to see their perspective. Horrible things are plastered all over the news, such as crime, war, murder, death. Because it’s the dirt – the monster, the darkness shadowing our daily lives – that grabs our attention. I, myself, find it difficult sometimes to class myself the same race as those people who will so willingly destroy and murder when others would create and nourish.


Throughout history, we, as a race, have evolved from simple cavemen into the overlords of the earth, and we have created this through our pursuit of art and science. We have evolved because we can understand our world, the inner workings of the planet Earth, and we can build upon the code that defines our planet to innovate and create. We can do all this because we understand the place in which we live. We may have mapped our world to its finest detail, but the human mind is so much more complex. So much left unexplored. Perhaps it’s because our mind is so volatile, so fragile, and so contradictory.


Yes, humanity has created great things, such as art, music, and science, things that will stand for all time,  but we have also created horrible, disgusting things also. Things that cannot be ignored. Things like killing, destroying for personal benefit, discrimination, the social hierarchy. It’s a common truth: We are our own darkest nightmare, but the question is, why? What makes the human race kill itself and the place in which it lives, where a great many other organisms will live in peace?


It’s a huge misunderstanding.


Chain events of destruction were caused thanks to a simple lack of empathy. The Crusades, the Nika Riot, the witch-burnings of the 17th Century, 9/11, the World Wars, all branched from some misunderstanding.


We may be able to understand our world, but we have not made an effort to understand one another. How do you expect the human race to save the planet, become self-sufficient, if they’re killing each other off? How do you expect all races, religions, and people to become accepted if the human race won’t even lift a finger to understand their fellows? How do you expect world peace to happen if the human race keeps on misunderstanding each other and fighting over it?


Humanity has a constant fear of the unknown. We have the fear, we have the compulsion to understand what remains a mystery to us, but when our minds don’t make sense of it, we panic and decide it’s a demon that’s out to kill us. We panic before we understand what the viewpoint is on the other side. What the other person is feeling, thinking, believing. This whole situation is entirely ridiculous. We’re the most intelligent species on this planet, and we will kill ourselves and our planet and the whole universe if we could, because we didn’t stop and think. Is it really that hard? Is it that hard to try and respect the other person’s viewpoint? Even if you don’t understand, is it that hard to stop yourself from discriminating/abusing/killing the person who is different.


I don’t think that’s hard at all. But then again, I am writing this because I don’t understand. Why do other people think it’s okay to do things without thinking of the consequences? Why must the human race fight and bicker over matters they’re misinterpreting each other over?  Why do this society think it is okay to continue this? We think we’re the most advanced race on this planet, but really we’re drunk with power. We can create machines that defy gravity, but we can’t connect with other people? What kind of a race is that?


If we could understand one another, why people think the way they think, and accept that, we wouldn’t have half the problems we have today. No terrorism, no discrimination. But people are too lazy and too stubborn to try and understand. They don’t want to understand the people on the other end.


I’m not saying that the whole human race should learn to love each other. That’s impossible. We are not gods, we are not angels, we are human. We are born with hate. We are born with love. We are a complicated mixture of kindness and malevolence, with a million other things blended in. But if we took the time to comprehend, to try and reach in to the unfathomable abyss of the human brain, we might see things differently. We might be able to see clearly. We might be able to work together, and co-operatively because we know where each person is coming from. We could accept each other flaws because we knew how they came about and how to deal with them. We could celebrate each other’s strengths because we know how important they are. Imagine how far the human race could come if we could do that?


Instead, we’re hitting a brick wall. Terrorism, war, global warming, you name it, we are not progressing any further. We are not as advanced as we think. And it’s because we are over-complicating things to a ridiculous level. And until we can unravel the mess we are in, we will continue to do so. And the knot will get worse. But we couldn’t even begin to untangle ourselves before we understand how the knot was created. Until we can develop the understanding of how the knot works, and solve it.


You see, I’m not asking you to love everyone.

I’m not asking you to hate everyone, either.

I’m asking you to understand.

Or at least try to.


“Nothing can be loved or hated unless it is first understood.”


by I.J.



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