Empathy Alone Is Not Enough

600.04Comment: In an experiment, participants were allocated a virtual budget and asked to decide how much money they were willing to donate to charity. They were told they could keep any leftover amount not donated. Participants with strong empathy and sympathy traits were naturally more altruistic, so they gave more.

Afterward, the participants were subjected to stress. And right after, they were asked to decide once again how much money they were willing to give to charity. Interestingly, people with low empathy and low sympathy did not change, whatever sum they gave before stayed the same. But those who could empathize significantly reduced the amount.

My Response: Yes. If I have experienced stress, I know what it is like, so I have to protect myself against the stress I have been through.

Question: And the result is to think less about others?

Answer: Yes, it is a natural reaction of the body.

Question: So, if under stress we will not be able to help others anymore? Let’s say I am stressed, but I try not to think about myself and to keep thinking about others.

Answer: If it is real stress, then no.

Question: But you always call for a state where I can come out of myself and think of others. Is this the transition to a different state of being?

Answer: To do this, you need to feel the meaning of life. For what sake we do this. Not just to help another. To help someone else is a very weak motivation.

Question: If I have an inclination to be such a corporeal altruist, to help others, then in an extremely stressful situation will I fail the test?

Answer: Of course! We are human. What do you want from people?

Question: So I won’t help Africa, the poor, or the unfortunate; I will not help anyone. Will I hold tight to my money?

Answer: Yes.

Question: So humanity is not going to advance with all these things?

Answer: No, not on its own.

Question: But how can I rise above it so that I can remain a man with a capital “M” even in a stressful situation?

Answer: To do this, we need to educate people. To do this, we must show the possibility of achieving something thanks to the fact that one neglects his personal interests, his personal wealth, his peace of mind, and can consciously reduce them.

Question: And give the rest to others?

Answer: Yes.

Question: And this must permeate into one’s understanding of the purpose of life?

Answer: This is not the goal of life, but the means.

Question: And what should the purpose of life be in this case for one to become such a person?

Answer: You must put your life on the scale of me or everyone else. Something has to outweigh. That is what the scale is there for.

Question: I have this scale: for my own sake or for others. Will this decision bring me closer to the goal?

Answer: Yes, one small step. And then another and another.

Question: So you are saying this scale is there all the way to the goal?

Answer: All the way to the goal and all the time, every time it becomes more difficult to decide what I can give. It is getting harder to walk on the right side.

Question: So, all the way to the goal one is on this scale—every step?

Answer: That is why it is an ascent.

Question: What is this goal?

Answer: The goal is complete bestowal and love, the quality of the Creator in which you merge with Him.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 3/21/22

Related Material:
How To Learn Empathy
Is It Necessary To Fight With Stress?
The Benefits Of Stress

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