Empathy

Part 10 of 10 in the series Virtues

Empathy has been necessary to our survival since prehistoric times: Human beings can thrive only in community. And that is impossible if they cannot read the emotions and intentions of others. In small, everyday matters, too, the same principle holds: A person who tries to jump the line, or drops rubbish in the street, or makes a noise when others are trying to sleep is doing so because he is incapable of conceiving others’ reactions.

Empathy is a prerequisite for communication, collaboration, and social cohesion. If we annul
it, we return to savagery-or cease to exist. Empathy is the best means of improving  any relationship.

Have you ever witnessed a quarrel in which neither party had the least intention
or ability to see things from the other’s point of view? How painful. Yet it happens, and we see it
day after day in the arena of international relations.

Empathy is what is missing most, and what would most help resolve age-old, dangerous racial problems and prejudices. That is why it is so important at this time.

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