Philosophy · Society/Culture

Numbers, People, and Empathy Fatigue

I’ve had something on my mind for a while, but I found an article that puts the general point much more eloquently (and from a more riveting source) than I am able.

We are inundated with news about suffering people in large numbers, and after a while, we can become desensitized to all of it. As this piece states, we must not ever allow apathy to replace empathy, fatigue to replace active compassion.

Any suffering human in this world could easily have been me, or you, or someone we love. (That doesn’t give them more value somehow — that they could have been us — than they already had.) We are inherently equal. The smelly, ragged beggar asking for change and the Queen of England (or whomever you prefer) have equal value as people…but we tend to lose sight of that because one of them makes us uncomfortable. Because it’s easier to look away than to be emotionally involved.

How many lives have been lost because someone was tired of thinking about the suffering, and chose to look away?