My choice in a book report was, “AGAINST EMPATHY” by Paul Bloom. I chose this book because I have always had Empathy for family, and sometimes more for strangers that seemed to have needed help and never always received it. Paul bloom goes into arduous details on all levels of Empathy and how it could be a hindrance on a holistic approach. The author hints on his radical position but then precedes into a circular argument against it. He then states that “This is a radical position, but it’s not that radical. This isn’t one of those weird pro-psychopathy books.” He then goes on to say “The argument against empathy isn’t that we should be selfish and immoral. It’s the opposite. It’s that if we want to be good and caring people, if we want to make the world a better place, then we better off without empathy.” Finally, he then goes further with this statement, “Or to put it more carefully, we are better off without empathy in a certain sense. Some people use empathy as referring to everything good, as a synonym for morality and kindness and compassion. And many of the pleas that make people make for more empathy just express the view that it would be better if we were nicer to one another. I agree with this!” Basically, this person does not believe in empathy as a bottom line, he just toys and writes about it in a contradictory nature. From beginning to end the book shows this as a reality.
To sum this up and make it relevant to our class on Motivation I can only say that we see all types of motivation in our lives, some good, some bad. We tend to see motivation as a positive thing, but it can be as negative as well. Take for example AGAINST EMPATHY. The motivation that led this person to write a book in this approach could be motivated against a real purpose to help people in need, whether one person or a thousand, or even millions of people. What we can consider a positive manner in help could be disregarded as not an amount help for the whole of the world and its people that all need help. So, if a person decides to help one of his family members but ignore the vast amount of people that are starving around the world has this person not done an empathic deed? Or do we have to look at the sum of the whole in order to truly be considered empathetic? On a Social sphere we can tend to compartmentalize our actions or in-actions as being relevant. As a result, we tend to focus on the needing from the media and news and I believe the closest people in our life’s, mainly family, friends, and people who live in our common area. There weren’t really any favorite parts in this book for me, but mostly useless information from a person who really has shot down empathy as we communicate amongst ourselves.
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