I am back Manal. So I needed to do some quick research because ignorant me thought since Abbas was president that Hamas were no longer in power. Very complicated situation but bottom line they have not been voted out, so… (And there is no end to how stupid they are, apparently, and willingness to sacrifice their own people, knowing how Israel would react, but does not absolve Israel)
Anyway, RE teaching empathy, I am unsure it is possible, but people in the ‘caring’ professions (e.g. nursing, therapy, social work) try to develop it as part of their preparation for their jobs. I think there are two aspects to it: the cognitive aspect you talk about relating to understanding own biases, etc. but there is also an affective dimension that is not as logical, but a sensitivity, a feeling. Teaching something not in the sense of telling people how to do it, but helping them recognize it. Was it you who said “access” to our humanity? Because empathy is partly natural and burying it (as Scott said) may be evolutionarily needed for us to survive, but then re-accessing it might help in situations of conflict. I’ll try to explain all this later in another post, maybe.
But RE: why empathize? I think even if it’s your enemy, you gain from empathizing in the sense that you’ll better be able to understand where they’re coming from and reach a solution. The problem is with uni-lateral empathy: it would be ridiculous for the weaker person to empathize when the stronger person continues NOT to. But empathy isn’t always a choice. Do we switch it on and off at will?