Empathy and ideology

Love and friendship go beyond ideological differences. A lot of our problems today are because of our growing reverence for the latter, at the expense of the former.

Ideology in general, be it right, left, top or bottom, diminishes our ability to see people and things as they are; with our perception boxed and shaped rigidly within the confines of a particular ideology.

It also often takes us away from things that really matter - love and kindness. We have lost the ability to communicate, there is just noise, no communication. It is a clear sign of a crisis of empathy. It is a clear sign that we’re astray.

Perhaps a thumb rule like Gandhi ji’s talisman might help.

2 Likes

This is interesting to spend time about thinking. It looks to me that an approach with empathy can be useful when there are equal different groups looking to live together. It can help empathize one with the other.

In case when there is an oppressor and the oppressed among the groups, empathy might not work because that would mean the oppressed group placed immense faith in the goodwill of the oppressor. Of course, the oppressor would be comfortable with the idea of extending empathy until they are asked to forego their privileges. The identities would become relevant, with an ideology originating in the identity.

Another defence for ideology as a system of thought and ideas is that even if one has empathy, articulation of how to extend empathy would lead to some form of a structured thought whose sophistication might not be as simple as a Gandhi’s talisman. Hence executing empathy will move towards embracing ideology at some level or the other.

Ideology does provide a structure to our thoughts, but it is not necessarily the right structure in all situations. Therefore, it is not universally applicable, and therefore runs the risk of turning into a dogma.

We need to be clear about what we value - life or ideology. We must keep reminding ourselves of what our end goal is - peace and harmony.

Do not fight for this idea or that idea, if it is at the cost of the body. Stand by the body. Let it be free to live, and not suffer