Emotive Or Apathetic

As humans our emotions have surely evolved. From the time that we were lawless barbarians to the fair, just and humane civilians we call ourselves today. In general, we humans are conditioned from childhood to care for one another and also for other species as well. Parents and educators teach kids to respect wildlife, to not pick flowers, to love animals and always help peers and friends. As we grow into adulthood, so does our interest in others. We express empathy and kindness and do our best to reach out and help. Caring and morality has come to denote our civility.

But the sense of empathy and emotion are not widespread across the globe. when I look at the world, I feel emotions and kindness are analogous to a sense of comfort and wealth. In countries in which the majority of the population have a moderate net worth and have a greater level of education, tend to have greater emotional interest in the welfare of others. It’s evident that those struggling wouldn’t have the means or the interest in others. Families with meager income or those in developing countries are burdened with their own daily responsibilities and survival and unable to express the same level of empathy and care. However, the level of wealth doesn’t necessarily commensurate with emotion. There’s a point at which higher wealth leads to a sense of indifference and disconnect. The affluent become contemptuous and isolated from everyone else. They live, work, shop, dine and spend their time in manicured places where everyone’s desires are taken care of and there’s no exposure to anyone in need.  Anecdotally the wealthy, just as much as the impoverished, have the least sense of empathy and interest in others. In that sense, the affluent are quite like the insolvent in looking the other way in the face of need.

In the past few decades, the world has seen a decline in the number of middle class population. The rich, have certainly become much richer and the poor have equally become poorer and the middle class is being squeezed thin. Where then, does that leave us in our quest for emotion? If the rich and the poor alike are so engaged in their own lives to care about anyone else, our sense of empathy is being compromised. I wonder if it will survive and if not, will we become the inhumane, barbarians that we once were?

Susan Massoudnia