Empathy is long dead. We are in a state of apathy. Most people don’t have the time to empathise because it is easier to judge, but that must not be it. There must be a bigger reason for this, I thought. I remembered one of my school teachers teaching me its definition, which is to put oneself in another person’s soul and by doing so, feel their emotions. How often do we do this? I guess rarely and the reason I believe is because we are caught in our egoist mind.
We associate our personality and worth based on external parameters of money, status, job, colour, gender, race, caste etc. These parameters can be thought of as different ladders and rungs of the ladders can be thought of as people. A lot of people are privileged enough to get to the top or middle rungs without much hard work and just by the randomness of their birth in families at top rungs. Usually, people remain unaware of the randomness of their privileged position and make these ladders as their whole reality.
From this illusory position, when they meet a person, instead of seeing them as a human soul, they tend to see the person’s position on different ladders. It usually forms the basis for their reverence or despication. It is not possible to be empathetic once the veil of different ladders shrouds the vision.
The bigger the gap between rungs, the harder it is to empathise. Only after we let go of these ladders and start considering ourselves as part of one species can we really start being empathetic. We have a long way to go for that to happen and seems like we are heading in the opposite direction.