Wednesday, May 26, 2004

empathy, fear and neo-cons (oh, my!)

my response to a colleague's post about the need for us to be more empathetic to other cultures (and anyone other than ourselves, for that matter):

Interesting idea…distribution of empathy, access to empathy…seems like we are bankrupt of the product (empathy), despite the fact that the lines of distribution are in place. Of course, being empathetic means being vulnerable, Lord knows ‘merikans aren’t really keen on doing that right now. The neo-cons are really good at force-feeding fear to all of us. I also think that they are really good at tapping into our cultural conditioning of being abused…they act just like those authoritarian care-givers that many of us were raised with. When someone is confronted with similar behavior as an adult, it is not uncommon for them to just respond like they did all those many years growing up…”I know nothing, the authority is always right, the authority is like God, etc.” I know that despite the fact that intellectually I know that they are lying, self-serving bastards, when they start talking, there is a part of me (emotional) that just goes into some kind of automatic fear of challenging them, conceding that I AM stupid and that they are right.

Alice Miller has written some great material on this.

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