The evolution of empathy by Jeremy Rifkin

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Cuterebra
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31 May 2010, 1:45 pm

Empathy explained cartoon style in a 10-minute video--very interesting.

http://science.videosift.com/video/The- ... of-empathy

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7AWnfFRc7g&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]



Polgara
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31 May 2010, 2:36 pm

It's very interesting, I knew some but not all of that.

I find that I have to deliberately lock away some of my concerns for people in other countries whose plight I am aware of, in order not to fragment myself in a futile effort to address everybody's woes. For this reason I rein in the impulses and choose a few causes in which to invest my time and effort. Therefore I do restrict my efforts to benefit people in my own locality, including those who are here from some of those other places.



ruveyn
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31 May 2010, 2:59 pm

Jeremy Rifkin is a professional liar and a humbug artist. Take everything he says or writes with a grain of salt.

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31 May 2010, 6:19 pm

Oh, get serious!! !!

The whole thing is contingent on some pie in the sky superstition.
It can't work unless there is an "intended goal" in an evolutionary process... which if you understand anything about darwinianism, you know that's the first thing you have to dispense with.

Empathy and Altruism need to be viewed together here, because they are co-memes in a struggle to replicate.
They will replicate, so long as the cost of being altruistic and empathetic are not such that they kill the host (ie, us.. or more specifically our brains)
The changes in society's structure through the evolution of mankind over the past 10 to 30,000 years has been such that yes, populations increased, so we needed a larger base for protection... The benefits from moving outward from your family or tribe and being social, empathetic and altruistic toward each other had sufficient payoffs for allowing the ideas to spread.
As population grew more and more, and domestication of horses allowed some, but limited travel, we were able to form nations, these nations once the first formed became necessary, because if others didn't form into nations, the neighboring nation would just take over the spread out tribes and families.
However, there is no reason why the world WOULD expand to an empathetic world. The benefits cannot be found within it. The need for protection from outsiders, or from nature is no longer there. If we did... would we then need to expand to be empathetic with all the other species, and live in perfect harmony with the whole world, like the so-called druids of ancient times?

Yes you will find many in society that wish to help those unfortunates 10,000 miles away.
Many people sent aid to the Ethopian famine. Many to the Darfur. These however are the failing forms of altruism.
Evolution by natural selection, be it genetic or memetic will eliminate these tendencies.

I might sound cold in saying this. I am not saying what I think should be... only my view of what is... reality, not fantasy. If there was some pie-in-the-sky god looking down and smiling on us, this fantasy might all come out just like this zealot says, but we live in the real universe where make believe is just make believe, and we have to fight to survive, or die trying.



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31 May 2010, 6:34 pm

I dunno--do we have any other choice but to expand our monkeysphere to a global scale? Ultimately, it seems like an alliance of that kind would be the only thing that could save the human species from destroying itself, either directly or indirectly by making the planet uninhabitable.

There was a silly but funny article in Cracked.com (http://www.cracked.com/article_14990_wh ... phere.html) that used the term "monkeysphere," and I have yet to find anything else that quite nails it.



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31 May 2010, 7:34 pm

The article you pointed out though warped in it's presentation, is quite insightful.
It's not htat we have a choice, let alone that we have to choose one certain way.... we don't have a choice.

pseudo-democracy might work for a generally homogeneous population (such as one nation)
However the similarities in the values of people in Pakistan, Canada, Brazil and China are so different.

The monkey sphere can only expand if the group is willing to take on sufficient homogeneity... That won't happen without thought-police.

Perhaps if the world were all aspies it might be possible, because it's emotions that generate the vast variation in human groups.
If NT's have a monkeysphere upper limit of 150 people, Aspies have what? 5.. maybe 2?
outside that monkeysphere to us there are still people who have to worry about, even if they're not important enough to consider fully human, we have to extend a level of respect greater than the NT does... because the 150 people in their monkeysphere are a sufficient enough group that those outside of it need little to no real respect from them.... They might have to pretend at some times .. but that's all.
It's us that need to find real respect, despite our distance from those outside our smaller monkeysphere.
If NTs could do that same thing, just raise the respect for those outside their monkeysphere one level.... Even if it required them to shrink their monkeysphere.... The world would be much better off.

Two things that would help reduce people's monkeyspheres are a) eliminate church, and b) eliminate large work places and return to small business.
Small schools would help.
The internet isn't a problem, because people i talk to on this forum for example.. still aren't human. (at least in the terminology of the article)

Reducing our population would also vastly decrease our need for large monkeyspheres.
A lot of techniques could be used, including education that "you don't need so many damn friends!" Education to create smaller families which can eat up your monkeysphere limit real fast.

If NT's could do that, they MIGHT be able to extend more respect outside their monkeysphere and the world MIGHT be better off.

However, none of this will happen... actually it might... after society truly collapses and has to rise from it's own ashes like the phoenix.