Empathy is the sense and the seed of ...

Sun, 26 Dec 2010 Source: Arthur, Patrick Kobina

.... the process of development and progress of a people.

***Lack of empathy defeats the development and progress of a people.***

When most people in Ghana are busy about feeling only themselves and prefer

to rob it in the pain of others to the point that it becomes very difficult

for such people to even choose the right words in stating the case. Many

Ghanaians tend to be too selfish and lack empathy, and the only thing

they know is sympathy and mourning of the dead. It is not a Ghanaian thing

to be proactive and empathic to their fellow human being but for any country

to develop there is the need for empathy. Empathy is defined as a the

imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the

object appears to be infused with it. Sympathy on the other hand, is defined

as a relationship between persons in which the condition of one induces a

parallel or reciprocal condition in another. Feeling sorry for someone when

they are enduring hardship is not as important is making a contribution

that solves problem before they encountered. Development occurs when the

condition of the human being and their environment is consistently and

positively improved to the extent that it makes them perform their duties

with relative ease and also live happier lives. In a large part many

technological innovations provided by talented and insightful people have

contributed the most to the course of human development. Inventors are

driven by their ability to properly placing themselves in the situation of

others, this act then translates itself into the process of generating new

ideas and commitment to converting those ideas into useful products. The

products positively affect the situation of the people who first

inspired the inventors idea in the first place. Empathy should be viewed as

the most powerful intellectual ability that lies between an individual's

creative nature and their ability to benefit society with specific talents

and products.

I am because you are

The bus driver has a job because there is a passenger and the struggles of

teachers nation-wide goes on for sake their students. It is therefore

strange to even think of a situation where a teacher will be satisfied with

testing students at a level which is twenty percent of their possible best.

And why will students complain when the tests from their teacher makes them

feel inadequately prepared all the time. The measure of a teacher's

job should be in their most average students surpassing their limits

because they were trained them to never stop delving deeper for more

creativity and strength. The power of empathy should allow the teacher to

see that these children are being prepared for a future that they are not so

certain of, their lives will be measured by a measure yet unknown. And

therefore in preparing them, there is the need to prevent them from settling

down too quickly, prevent them from getting tired too easily. A failure to

empower them but rather limit them to low standards will be an effort at

programming these children for an obvious defeat.

The sense

The sense because progress and development is all about getting a better

tomorrow than we have today, simple as that. Human growth and prosperity is

driven by specialisation of individuals in providing a specific solution to

societal needs and to do that very well. The development ensemble

cast should all be driven by integrity and empathy, so that each can

identify their own talents and precisely map out how to used it to profit

their fellow human being's needs. There are some whose job will be to

provide clean drinking water and without feeling concerned for those

receiving their product, the end result is that many will receive water that

is dirtier than the untreated water. Those with responsibility of keeping

and transferring our monies, which is the "coolest" but the easiest of all

the jobs, will burden us with waiting in endless queues wasting precious

time that we should otherwise be spent creating more value with our skills.

So without empathy towards one another, can there be a society in the first

place? And can a society even attempt to develop? The obvious answer is that

abject poverty will win, Africa ranks the lowest on the human development

scale, it is because there are far more people in Africa than other places

who do not care about their neighbours. Having concern (not compassion) for

ones neighbour is in our own rational self interest, its not a favour at

all, because time and space is not controlled individually but rather


The seed

The seed because empathy allows one generation to prepare the upcoming one

to survive and do much better. Future challenges arise because life and

living systems are constantly changing which bring with it new challenges.

And so, there are innumerable frontiers for constant discovery and

innovation, so preparing the incoming generation should not be seen as just

making life easier but rather equipping them to survive unknown challenges.

Every empathetic generation should therefore provide tools to the upcoming

one to have a better chance at rising to their own occasions. The tools for

engaging and overcoming that which has the potential to set us back will

remain the same over time, namely, strength, knowledge, wisdom, smartness,

insightfulness, will power, curiosity and tenacity. Poverty prevails when

the fore bearing generation bury all their accomplishments, refusing to arm

their upcoming generation with tools they have discovered for them to do

their own battles. In Ghana the examples are many, how many herbalist

haven't died with all their knowledge of medicinal herbs?

It clear to us fellows that we do ourselves a big favour when care and

empathise with our neighbours. When this happen, then really progress will

begin to happen. I am sure of this because worthier nations are doing that

and actually empathy prevents troubles and wars.



Patrick Kobina Arthur (PhD),



Columnist: Arthur, Patrick Kobina