No one argues in favor of empathy. That’s because no one needs to: Empathy is an unalloyed good, like sunshine or cake or free valet parking.
Instead we bemoan lack of empathy and nod our heads at the notion that, if only we could feel the pain of our fellow man, then everything would be OK and humanity could, at long last, join hands together in song.
Bah, says Paul Bloom. In his new book, Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion (Ecco), Bloom argues that when it comes to helping one another, our emotions too often spoil everything. Instead of leading us to make smart decisions about how best to use our limited resources altruistically, they cause us to focus on what makes us feel good in the moment.
By Tom Bartlett
Via Edwin Rutsch