Hardwired for a Reason – 2

We have, on the Internet, access to instantaneous global communications. Let’s communicate: human empathy has a unifying purpose. Internet communities are mimicing our hardwired empathy. People are better able, and more willing, to empathize with others who are similar to themselves. In general, empathy increases with similarities in culture and living conditions. Plus, empathy is more likely to occur between individuals who frequently interact. Even if the basic capacity to recognize emotions is innate, and may be achieved to a certain degree unconsciously, the ability to imagine oneself as another person is a sophisticated process which must be nurtured through training to achieve accuracy and intensity.

Empathy does not guarantee benevolence. Psychopathic personalities are sometimes adept at reading emotions, mimicing, and building a convincing friendship while in the process of exploiting others. Yet they do not experience reciprocal emotions or sympathy. Research indicates that components of their neural circuits involved in empathy may be dysfunctional.

The presumption that others have a mind is termed theory of mind; because each human can only prove the existence of his or her own mind through introspection. We have no direct access to another person’s mind. So we must be able to use our mind as a generator of representations to attribute mental states to others and to understanding them as causes of their behavior. If a person does not have a complete theory of mind it may be a sign of cognitive or developmental impairment.

Even though theory of mind appears to be an innate potential ability in humans, it requires social and other forms of experience to develope. Therefore, people with different backgrounds develop different, yet effective, theories of mind.

If we’re so hardwired for understanding and empathy, shouldn’t we be better at getting along?

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2 Comments on “Hardwired for a Reason – 2”

  1. missgypsy Says:

    Empathy IS hard to come by. Poor Sad Lonely Human’s.
    Great Read, I enjoyed your Blog.

  2. My reply on missgypsy’s about blog:

    You’re a very good writer. Your narrative, stream of consciousness voice has an easy, natural flow in both poetry and prose creations. I enjoy your style of writting. You see beneath the surface and you allow your readers to follow you there: but you do it without being too wordy or selfconscious. I don’t know exactly how autobiographical or fictionalized your stories and poems are: but you seem comfortable with yourself and confident of your writing talents. And with good reason. I’m looking forward to reading more of your work. I love Chaotic Love.

    I’m thankful for the comment you made on my blog site: “Empathy IS hard to come by. Poor Sad Lonely Human’s. Great Read, I enjoyed your Blog.”

    I like to believe it’s a good read, anyway. And I’m glad you enjoyed reading it. I’m never truely satisfied with my writting. It seldom comes out the way I intended. I threw a lot of writing away before I finally realized: that’s the way it works for me.

    So I’ve stopped trying to write for myself and started trying to write for the reader. I’m now posting my writing on a blog, hoping to get some reader feedback. I have my best writing ahead of me, I believe. But I’m still going back to rewrite the old stuff until it’s finished: with a beginning, a middle, and an ending. A good ending is the most difficult part to write, for me. I like happy endings. So my stories tend to go on and on looking for one.

    Other writers are also hoping for feedback, I realize as I search the WordPress tags. Many writers are concerned about making a living from writing and they are afraid someone is going to steal their ideas or copy their work. I don’t think like that. I’d love to become rich and famous from writing fiction but that’s not what motivates me to write, or to read. I enjoy the creative process: seeing it in others, and finding it in myself.

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