Saturday, February 16, 2019

Tattoos and the Soul

The other morning I went for a haircut.  While the barber was cutting my hair, he and a pal of his were talking excitedly about tattoos, a topic I know nothing about. My barber and his friend were discussing the stigma attached to having  tattoos.  They were saying you get put in a box, classified as odd and possibly dangerous.  Or worse.  Something about it was suspicious, tattooing images and symbols on your body, turning yourself into a walking hieroglyph.  

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Empathy and Telepathy

The world would be better off if there was more empathy.   People everywhere and always treat each other abominably.  Many are the reasons for all the abuse, injustice,  and killing: material gain, fanatical ideology, some twisted idea of duty, demented forms of pleasure, and so on.   The victim is objectified, turned into a thing, a cipher; to be used and abused or just destroyed.  What seems to be missing is awareness of what’s going on inside the person being abused or savaged. 

What’s missing we call empathy, and people with a stark deficit in empathy we call psychopaths.  So, to be human, we need more than rational skills. We need to have some sense of the inner side of other people.  We need to cultivate our ability to enter—to feel and imagine—the soul of another human being.  Empathy is our best counterpoint to psychopathy.

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