7 thoughts on “The Empathic Civilisation

  1. If you have the time or interest:

    Good natured: The origins of right and wrong in humans and other animals




    An Interview with Frans de Waal
    Greg Ross

    “Are humans inherently selfish? Modern societies would seem to suggest so. The structure of our financial, legal and political lives pits us against one another, and a host of recent issues—the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the “gospel of greed” on Wall Street, our struggles to reform the U.S. health care system—seems to point up a lack of compassion in our culture.

    In The Age of Empathy (Harmony Books, $25.99), primatologist Frans de Waal considers this trend from an evolutionary standpoint and finds evidence that empathy is in fact a valuable natural impulse, a legacy from our primate forebears. “Even though we live in cities and are surrounded by cars and computers,” he writes, “we remain essentially the same animals with the same psychological wants and needs.”

    De Waal teaches psychology at Emory University and directs the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta. American Scientist Online managing editor Greg Ross interviewed him in September 2009.”



    “Two elephants walk together at night. (No, this isn’t a joke—it’s a scene from a wildlife reserve in Thailand.) There is heavy rain and the older elephant slips and falls in the mud. She’s unable to get up. The younger elephant, unrelated to her companion, stays with her for most of the night. The next day a group of mahouts, elephant caretakers from the wildlife reserve, try to hoist the elephant up to her feet with braces and ropes. In all the commotion—a crowd has gathered to watch the rescue—the younger elephant remains by the side of her fallen friend. The mahouts and the crowd shout for her to move out of the way, so they can get better leverage. But she won’t budge. Instead, she burrows her head under the body of the other elephant and tries to lift her up. She does this several times, risking injury in the attempts. Incredibly, the elephant appears to recognize that the mahouts want to help rather than hurt her friend. She times her pushes, or so it seemed to me, with the hoisting of the mahouts.

    Until recently, biologists thought such complex behavior—behavior with an undeniable moral dimension—was exclusive to human beings. As much as anyone in the world, the primatologist Frans de Waal is responsible for changing this perception.”

  2. Strange how antibogan’s mirror neurons don’t seem to help him understand the concerns of people who feel overwhelmed by the dramatic social changes of the last few decades.

    “The first drive is the drive to BELONG”

    And when a child is old enough to recognise themselves in a mirror, they’re old enough to recognise which people “look like me” and feel a greater ‘drive to belong’ with *those* people.

    Want to be honest about evolutionary psychology?
    Humans experience a stress reaction (fight-or-flight) whenever they encounter unfamiliar/strange-looking people (i.e. people who don’t “look like me and my family”).
    Is this why mental and physical diseases caused by *stress* are so out-of-control in our multiracial/multicultural society?

    When our primitive ancestors encountered anyone who didn’t look familiar, it meant one thing: DANGER
    Our societies may have changed, but our instincts and biological reactions have not evolved with them.
    No amount of diversity education will change the automatic reactions of your amygdala.

    There was no such thing as Germany or France until the invention of nation-states?
    But there was such a things as “Germans” and “the French”.
    And had been for centuries.
    Otherwise the political states would never have come into being.
    Those identities were based on common biological and cultural *ancestry*.

    States didn’t destroy religious affinities.
    Religion didn’t destroy blood affinities.
    No new form of “empathy” negates the prior ones, it only adds a further dimension.

    We all came from an “Adam and Eve”.
    antibogan must have loved that bit.

    So we’re all an *extended* family.
    Very, very extended.

    Do you feel the same for your brother as your cousin?
    The same for your cousin as your uncle’s grandmother’s sister?
    The same for your uncle’s grandmother’s sister as a Homo sapiens, distant in kin by 6745 relationships?

    Want to be honest?
    Then empathy for all things is not ever going to be *equal* empathy.

    You’ll have more empathy for *your* children than another’s children.
    More empathy for a human than a dog.
    More empathy for a dog than a lobster.
    More empathy for a lobster than a Venus fly trap.
    More empathy for a Venus fly trap than an ebola virus.

    And possibly more empathy for an ebola virus than this blog.

  3. It’s also extraordinary how multicult experimentalists wilfully overlook the numerous and continued distastrous instances of ‘multiculturalism’, with some historic precedence, around the world…and set upon ripping apart and fracturing a secure and homogenous nation such as Australia, with the intent to fabricate a new “multicultural” society, that this time might ‘work’!

    Why does each foreign group coming here insist on maintaining “their own” identity? On maintaining their “own” community, cultural, social, and indeed racial, groups?
    Getting assistance from corrupt governing bodies and self-loathing liberals all the while!
    Because people cherish THEIR OWN!
    Nation, blood, tradition, heritage, custom, honour and integrity MATTER!
    As does OURS!
    None more so…in our own country…that ours!

    It’s flabbergasting that liberals trumpet the support of alien groups, call for sympathy for alien peoples, while stabbing their own in the back.
    NO foreign people’s well-being takes precedence over our own.

    The reason why we are here is due to the energy and spirit of many generations of our forebears. To throw away that legacy is an insult beyond measure.

    You can be damned sure that the immigrant groups would not tolerate such themselves, nor accept such if they could ever have managed to create a society as sound and successful as Australia.

    Once a great society is lost, it’s lost.
    You’d ought to really start to think about what you’re presuming to be giving away, because it’s NOT yours to do so!

    Having empathy for others (which ONLY White people do in great measure) does NOT mean forfeiting your own existence, standards, integrity and posterity!

    It is our duty to honour, preserve, safeguard, and further our civilisation!

  4. I missed you Scott. Where have you been?

    Now, you say this country is where it’s at due to the energy and spirit of our many forebears. I assume you include the Chinese who arrived here during the gold rush, the Afghans who drove camels in the desert (you know, we named that train after them), the Japanese pearlers of Broome, the Pacific Islanders who worked the canefields and people from many other nations, along with the British, Irish and other Europeans who arrived in the colonial days as convicts. their masters and free settlers. Oh, and let’s not forget the indigenous custodians who looked after the land for tens of thousands of years so that the white man could destroy it in a couple of hundred.

    However, I know you choose to ignore anything but the proud and glorious British history of this country (minus that pesky genocide bit) so i can’t assume you’d include the contributions of other nationalities to Australian history.

  5. Keith said
    “I assume you include the Chinese who arrived here during the gold rush [who were despised and whose presence caused riots]

    the Afghans who drove camels in the desert [all five of them]

    the Japanese pearlers of Broome [all five of them]

    the Pacific Islanders who worked the canefields [which the unions were *so* happy about]

    and people from many other nations [all five of them],

    along with the British, Irish and other Europeans [the other niggling 99%]

    Oh, and let’s not forget the indigenous custodians [who were already here, and therefore have no relevance to any debate about immigration and the ethnic composition of our population]

    who looked after the land for tens of thousands of years [by burning it]
    so that the white man could destroy it in a couple of hundred [If only James Cook hadn’t killed all that megafauna and created the deserts].

    minus that pesky genocide bit [Don’t you just hate it when bacteria and viruses declare war on a particular ethnicity?]

  6. Shockadelic: I assume you include the Chinese who arrived here during the gold rush [who were despised and whose presence caused riots] the Afghans who drove camels in the desert [all five of them]

    You and Scott seem to do nothing but change the topic – what’s the matter oppressed white trash bogan? Can’t address the issue? The topic is whether this country was built by our forbears. You might stick your head in the sand and try to claim that only white Australians built this country but history disproves you. There isn’t a damn thing you can do to disprove that the Chinese were here from the Gold Rush and helped build this country (the fact that they were hated doesn’t disprove this). There isn’t a damn thing you can do to disprove that the Afghan cameleers helped build this country. And why haven’t you quoted from your favourite academic source Wikipedia on the number of Afghans or their contribution to Australia? Hmmm? Let me do it for you.

    “Although the number of Afghans coming to Australia was small (no more than 3000) compared with other ethnic groups, their contribution to this country has been much greater than most people realise. Afghans have made a substantial contribution to South Australia and Australia but history has almost ignored them, and the role they played opening up inland Australia.”

    Nice try Shocky. But fail, again.

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