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Response to EFerrari (Reply #162)

Mon Jun 25, 2012, 05:34 PM

164. No, you said that we can teach empathy.

(Setting aside the inherent premise for the moment) Everything you learn is trapped in your frontal lobes. In a conflict between recalling the empathy lessons and the impulse of wanting your 13 year old friends to laugh at your jokes, the impulse always wins.

Coming back to the basic premise, I dispute that you can learn empathy. You might learn something about others which makes you feel more or less empathetic toward them, but you don't learn the emotion, and besides, the stories about the others which were intended to make you feel more empathy toward them are still trapped behind the front-brain firewall.

Adolescence is a period in which the best case scenario is that the kids don't do something so stupid that it stays with them into adulthood, when they can reflect on their teen years and wonder what they were thinking. All you're trying to do is prevent bad behavior until age 20 or so.

If shame gets the job done, I'm okay with it.

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