Empathy – A lost art?

“Why should I help anyone but myself?”

This is a question that I hear more and more. I am starting to think that we have become so self-involved that we have lost the ability to empathise.

We have politicians and voters alike asking this question and this is dangerous. Shouldn’t people who lead a country as a whole be concerned with the good of the whole?

I was reading about the Inuit people in my greenlanders-908841_1920child’s history book and the text was explaining that at the centre of their culture is the family.  How the village as a whole support elders who can no longer hunt and young children or the ill, by sharing their share of food and other supplies. The person who wrote the text seemed to explain the concept as if it was foreign. Maybe it’s because I’m Métis and it’s part of our culture to think about 7 generations ahead when making decisions that I don’t understand the “me, myself and I” attitude.

It seems so basic to me. We have to care about one another and take care of one another.

Some people even argue that expecting people to think about the well-being of others is misplaced “entitlement”, that we don’t owe anything to anyone. That a child who loses their parents can’t expect people to help him/her survive or that an elder who contributed all their lives, but is now retired shouldn’t have access to medical treatment if they can’t afford it. Not caring if someone dies or suffers as long as it doesn’t directly affect you, isn’t about personal rights, it just you being a jerk.

We can’t grow as human beings if we are only looking out for ourselves.



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