The Hubris of Empathy

Beware the person who claims to be empathetic; empathy can be a very useless thing. Allow me to explain. Empathy allows you to feel another’s emotions, almost like a sixth sense. But feeling exist solely in the individual reality. At that level, it’s the dumbest shit ever; it’s like I feel your pain, so now we have two miserable people. In my experience, many empathetic people are merely crybabies who can’t seem to get out their individual realities. And they consecrate their empathy with such pride, calling themselves empaths. Watch out for these crazy people.

There’s an undeniable arrogance to empathy. It claims to grasp the emotions of other people; in a sense, it claims to feel what they feel, to hurt for them, almost greater and more powerful than a person can feel for himself! But this is hubris. You can sympathize, but one’s pain is like an iceberg. You may feel their feelings, but without having actually lived through the ordeal, without understanding how a person perceived the event, without understanding the trials they lived through previously, you never understand the true scope of their pain. This is hubris. You claim you know a person, but empathy is merely a window into another person’s soul.

So I have listed two kinds of empaths that I dislike: 1. Those who feel other’s emotions, but they’re stuck feeling them in their own heads. 2. Those who exult their empathy as all knowing, all too capable of reading others as if one can know another emotions and feelings better than the individual. And you may ask Why, Alan, are you shitting on people with empathy? Why are you such a hater? Because I was both of these people! And I want to warn everyone who has been cursed with a strong sense of empathy!

Empathy itself is not enough. You must do something about those feelings. You must help them! You must ask and offer, but you must never impose. And you must never fill in the blanks! If you claim to have empathy, then you are an observer. You are a listener, and you will ask questions to further help them process their emotions. But you must also be honest when you have accumulated enough information. That’s the tricky part. You must know the limitations of your judgement, always put it on trial, but you must also trust your judgement when you affirm the facts and your instincts of a person. It’s a weird balance.

Do not be weakened by empathy, rather sharpen it and be brave with it. Too many empathetic people are cowards. You must say your truths, and you must say it in a conducive manner to help others. Otherwise you’re just adding your own shit to their pile of shit.

I began reading a lot about body language. The guiding principle is that there is no absolute body language that illuminates absolute truth. You must first establish a baseline, a dictionary of a person’s movements. When they deviate from that baseline, then you have a hunch of a change in them. This applies to empathy. You must establish a baseline of a person. But this doesn’t necessarily imply you need too much time to do so.

Empathy, instinct, body language: there’s something so primal, animalistic about them. They delve into the unconsciousness, and I’m absolutely fascinated with these things –this Jungian idea that humans have an inherent, universal programming. I guess I’m interested in tapping into that programming. But yeah watch out for empathetic people, a lot of times they’re just oedipal moms, who claim to know everything, who coddles their kids and everyone. Beware these people too. An empathetic person must accept pain and allow other people to hurt, to not fight their battles for them as well, only to help when one can. Loving someone at times means letting them hurt…