Today I sat down to eat a bowl of broccoli and cheddar soup and a book was sitting in front of me. Not my book. Just a book someone had left. The Age Of Empathy by Frans de Waal.
I have read a fair amount of books that talk about the human tendency and capacity for empathy. Iacoboni, Goldman, a few others. But I don't see much empathy around me.
And I think this might have something to do with another human tendency: to use language and to abstract.
I think that language can smother empathy sometimes. Because when we label things we don't need to spend a lot of time or effort trying to empathize with them.
Zizek, Adorno, Goldman, Iacoboni, Collingwood, and others will hopefully assist me in this essay.
I believe that this writing will help me in Part II of my big essay 'Art, Zen, and Insurrection'. But I also think that it is important to take on this topic in its own right.
I recently wrote an essay called 'On The Inadequacy Of Generalization And The Richness Of language'. I hinted at these issues in that essay. But that was a sloppy essay written on a day when I was slightly hungover. I'd like to take a closer look at this.
I care a lot about empathy.
And I also love words.
I know they have the tendency to clash. But I want to bring them together.