How do you debate with someone that they should be a more empathetic individual? How do you convince callous people to care? Appeal to their selfishness by trying to explain the benefits of being considerate, of the greater good?
I’ve never required a reason to help others, never needed incentive or threats of punishment in an afterlife for not doing so. Life can be tough, and my motivation is the knowledge that in some small way, I made another’s a little less rough. I’m also so grateful for any consideration I’m shown, and want to return it in kind.
There’s something that makes us more than just slightly advanced biological organisms, a big part of that being our capacity for kindness and understanding. Perhaps some could be content wrapped up in a “fuck you, I’ve got mine” attitude, but how is beyond me, and I’m glad for that.
Human empathy is a beautiful thing, one the world seems to be desperately lacking sometimes. And while there are practical reasons for it, we shouldn’t need them.
As Henry David Thoreau once put it: “Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?”