Wed Dec 19, 2012, 12:21 AM
applegrove (72,864 posts)
"Guns and the Decline of the Young Man" by CHRISTY WAMPOLE at the NY Times
Guns and the Decline of the Young Man
by CHRISTY WAMPOLE at the NY Times
A partial solution to these toxic circumstances could be a coordinated cultivation of what might be called an empathic habit. Most people surely felt an impulsive empathy for the parents and survivors involved in the Sandy Hook massacre, as shown by the countless memorial services and candlelight vigils that took place after the murders. But empathy could help best if exercised before rather than after such tragedies.
Empathy could serve many of us: those who have not yet put themselves in the position of a person who is losing their power and those who can aim a gun at someone without imagining themselves on the other end of the barrel. For those of us who belong to a demographic that is doing increasingly better, a trained empathic reflex toward those we know to be losing for our gains could lead to a more deferential attitude on our part and could constitute an invitation for them to stay with us. To delight in their losses and aim at them the question, “How does it feel?” will only trigger a cycle of resentment and plant the seeds for vengeance. It is crucial to accommodate the pain of others.
For a start, feeling needed is undoubtedly essential to each individual. This fact must be addressed at home, at school, in the workplace, and in politics. For example, one could envision the development of a school curriculum that centers around an empathic practice, particularly in courses such as history, social studies, literature, and political science. If students have no access to an empathic model at home, they would at least be exposed to it in the classroom. In the workplace, the C.E.O. must be able to put herself in the position of the lowest ranked employee and vice versa. Victims and victors must engage in the hypothetical practice that forces each to acknowledge the others’ fortunes and misfortunes.
Empathy is difficult because it forces us to feel the suffering of others. It is destabilizing to imagine that if we are lucky or blessed, it just as easily could have gone some other way. For the young men, whose position is in some ways more difficult than that of their fathers and grandfathers, life seems at times to have stacked the cards against them. It is for everyone to realize the capricious nature of history, which never bets consistently on one group over another. We should learn to cast ourselves simultaneously in the role of winner and loser, aggressor and victim.
3 replies, 1137 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
"Guns and the Decline of the Young Man" by CHRISTY WAMPOLE at the NY Times (Original post)
Response to applegrove (Original post)
Wed Dec 19, 2012, 12:49 AM
ComplimentarySwine (515 posts)
1. Casting myself as a victim is a large part of why I want to own guns
I'd rather have a fighting chance if someone decides to make me their victim.
Also, I have a tendency to want things that other people don't want me to have.