Economic Multipliers (49)
Do you know what these are?
They help CREATE wealth in systems.
Empathy is NOT an economic multiplier.
As part of my ‘find more humor in life’ program, I recently watched some old episodes from a series called ‘Doc Martin.'
The ‘humor’ was the extremes of a marginally competent, extraordinarily gossipy and ‘empathetic’ community to a highly competent and waste no time on irrelevant ‘stuff’ which might provide ‘emotional challenges’ doctor.
Since ‘humor’ is many times a ‘catalyst’ for helping people understand how behaviors affect their, their community’s and even their nation’s ability to ‘do anything,’ I thought it would be worth touching upon how people’s perceptions of ‘empathy’ can affect the ability to create wealth. (Note: Some people think that I lack ‘empathy’ but I believe they want me (and you) to be able to empathize with the wrong things).
Empathy (in the New Oxford American Dictionary) is defined as: ‘the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.'
What this definition does not say is that to be ‘empathetic,’ you’re normally expected to be able to relate to negative events.
Gotta tell you: I don’t want you (or me) to have any negative events. I know that they can occur. I know that life can deal people bad hands. I know that you don’t get to choose your family, the community you grow up in or the resources around you that provided your initial base of wealth.
I also know that even on my worst day (there’s more than a bit of a crisis in my life right now), I’m usually having a better day than some people in the world have on their best days and I’ll guarantee that a lot of those people really want you (and me) to know what their lives are like.
If they want you to HAVE their life, they have a wealth destroying philosophy. If they want you to help them make their (and your own) life better, they have a wealth creating philosophy.
Communities filled with people who have ‘wealth creating philosophies’ are the communities that have MUCH greater opportunities to build wealth. The most talented and productive people normally don’t want to live in communities where people wish them harm (and/or are willing to do them harm).
If someone wants you to be able to easily relate to what it’s like to be sick or poor or injured or handicapped or less educated or old or a victim or addicted to something or taken advantage of or … (pick ANY negative event), know that they are NOT wishing you well. And that’s what most people are talking about when they use the word ‘empathy.'
The interesting thing about the ‘Doc Martin’ series is that the ‘doctor character’ is a highly intelligent person who has no social skills whatsoever whose sole goal is to get people well quickly so they stop showing up in his office. The community thinks he’s a ‘cruel’ person because he’s uninterested in ‘chit-chat’ and always tells them what he thinks (with total disregard to how the words might affect people emotionally).
But the nature of cruelty is that it ‘seeks victims.’ (That’s how you can tell if your ‘friends’ are cruel: Do they ‘seek victims?’ If they do, know that they’ll probably someday ‘seek you.’ Seek other ‘friends.’)
The structure of cruelty most often is that it likes a cheering squad: It likes people surrounding it that support abusive actions.
The ‘doctor’ featured in the show might SEEM ‘cruel’ because he lacks the ability to effectively support people’s mental and emotional health … but he ALWAYS cares about their physical health and wants them to be well. He does not ‘seek out’ victims just for the sake of creating problems.
Now, since I do believe health has three components (physical, mental and emotional), it would be impossible for me to ‘side’ with the doctor character. But the whole ‘gist’ of the show is effectively about a community that wants someone to be someone other than who he is. As a result, individuals in the community think it’s appropriate to ‘gang up’ on him.
Gang behavior is normally abusive behavior and I considered the behaviors of many of the ‘people in the community’ characters to be purposefully abusive and destructive (and these are the people that the other people in the community ‘sided with’ … they had their ‘cheering squad’ … and all in the interest of ‘fun,’ of course).
The bottom line is this: If you want people to experience illness because you did, war because you did, hardship because you did, or anything negative ‘because you did,’ you might SAY that you want others to be able to ‘empathize’ with you (or others) but you really don’t want them to do well. And, if you would actually take actions which would prevent them from doing well, you have engaged in abusive and probably to a certain degree, stalking behavior (the selection of a ‘victim’ is a stalking mentality).
If some people consider me to be ‘unempathetic,’ so be it. When it comes right down to it, I want you to be able to relate to what it feels like to build wealth. I want you to be able to relate to what it means to live in peaceful societies where people respect each other’s rights and freedoms. I want you to be able to relate to what it means to build and sustain communities. I want you to be able to relate to what it means to take care of your health and be healthy. I want you to be able to relate to what it means to build and use your base of knowledge over the course of your lifetime (NOT just when you are young and in school). I want you to be able to relate to what it means to have supportive people in your life.
I basically want you to be able to relate to what it’s like to know that you had a pretty good life, that you lived your life well without PURPOSELY creating a bunch of problems and THAT is how you made a difference.
I must admit, I do want you to have empathy … ‘the ability to understand and share the feelings of another’ … but I want that for you because I want GOOD things in your life.
I don’t EVER want you to be able to understand the problems of another person … UNLESS it was you who PURPOSELY created those problems.
Problem creators spend their time making sure everyone ‘can feel their pain.'
Problem solvers spend their time setting up systems whereby the greater percentage of people (if at all possible) don’t feel a lot of pain … and THAT is the nature of wealth creation.
Eleanor Roosevelt once noted that:
'Great minds discuss ideas.
Average minds discuss events.
Small minds discuss people.'
I’ll be the first to admit that there are moments when my mind can shift from great to small in a split second. But, my ‘goal’ (part of my own lifelong educational process) has been to increase the time spent on ideas and decrease the time spent on events and people: I believe there is much more joy and more of everything to be gained in life from the former rather than the latter.
P.S. Even if a person thinks they might be internally cruel, they should always keep in mind that if their DESIRE to be cruel CREATES a victim, they could also possibly become externally poor. I think everyone at some point in time wishes something 'less than well' on some other individual … but most people have the self-control to never act upon those thoughts.