Saturday, January 7, 2017

no empathy > forced empathy

There is a lot of stuff in the air but it's certainly not empathy. That particular element is clearly missing. Which is ironic given how connected everybody is nowadays thanks to the advent of online world. Maybe the overflow of information is causing this but the numbing process is remarkable. You read about villages starving in Syria and you feel bad for a while. You then read about the famine situation in Yemen and you feel bad about that too. Then you read some other news items that makes you lose faith in humanity. But when you're done reading and reacting, you realize how little you can do to help. No, not due to lack of means but due to lack of motive. For some reason, you've taught yourself that feeling bad is tantamount to helping others. A guilt trip alone makes all the emotional payments. This might be the excuse behind people turning against jokes of late. Offensive jokes, to be precise. Especially on social media. Especially when a joke is the most useless weapon of mass destruction. Especially when we know that taking offence is the easiest thing ever. For instance, i take offence to the way you breathe. I can't stand it. But then, it's not your problem. It's mine. If a person makes an offensive joke, it doesn't come with the caveat that others should respond. In fact, the best response to such senseless expression should be absolute lack of response. Nothing craves attention as much as a joke does. A so-called offensive one, more so. When you react, what you're basically doing is letting your self-righteousness get the better of you. Offensive jokes are often eviscerated for their lack of empathy. But that's merely a matter of perception, mainly because grandstanding doesn't let the offended party think straight through their heavy emotions. Just last month, people were screaming against the Supreme Court's decision to implement national anthems in cinema halls. The reason cited for this outrage was forced patriotism. When you arouse a mob against an offensive joke, aren't you unwittingly practising forced empathy? Besides, the greatest joke is the fact that we are getting riled up a silly joke—in the Internet Age where it's in abundance—that doesn't even merit our time.

1 comment:

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