Estimated reading time: 1 minute, 59 seconds

I’ve heard too many people speak of “losing our humanity”, and I think I have a problem with their definition of humanity or the way the word is being used. Yes it is human to empathize but we don’t do it universally, not towards everyone everywhere. Humans are naturally biased and selective about their empathy, some more than others. There are several factors that play a role in the selection, and its not always about right versus wrong. Maybe our most intrinsic feelings are towards children, but having something happen to our children is not the same as having something happen to children of a relative, neighbor, a fellow citizen, someone in the next country, or the next continent or the other side of the world. Not only identity, but proximity is a factor. I remember having a conversation back in Dec 2012 with an Egyptian friend living in the US about the horrible school shooting that left 20 children dead. I told her “Yeah but did you hear about the 52 children who died here in Egypt in the train wreck recently?” She said “Yeah but my kids go to school here and it doesn’t feel safe anymore”. Varied degrees of empathy but does it make us any less human? Degrees of media exposure to tragedies like these magnify our feelings about them as well. I only hear about children suffering in other parts of the world, but research into events and history makes us more aware in order to empathize. You mention above that you are “biased” and “refuse to believe”, and that is totally human. So I think it’s more accurate to say I selectively empathize therefore I’m human.