469. Innocence (VI)
“Why can’t you have empathy for those poor people in the Channel?” asks a very concerned girl, after seeing a picture of a drowned child washed up on a beach. “I’m a cold bastard me,” says her boyfriend—or, rather, he does not say it but says it by the way he hunkers down in his seat. Yet, what is this thing “empathy” that we are all meant to have or, at least, pretend to have if we want to be “just an ordinary decent human being”?
Despite its ubiquity—or perhaps because it is ubiquitous—“empathy” is a new word and concept. Its usage, according to Google Ngram, only took off around 1940—at about the same time as “Judeo-Christian” entered the language. The concept itself, far from being derived from ancient Greek philosophy, as its Greek form suggests, was developed by an American psychologist in the 1900s; and he based it upon certain German theories of art current in the 1850s, themselves modelled on Hume’s philosophy. So, as they say, this “empathy” is not Lindy—it is a modern development that occurred when science was already decadent, and it was popularised by the quasi-totalitarian state. Just as people in Hungary in 1946 started to learn to speak about “dialectical materialism” if they wanted to get ahead—especially as journalists or intellectuals—so people in the liberal democracies (another neologism) learned that their ancestors practiced something called “Judeo-Christianity” and that “ordinary decent people” have “empathy”.
So it is no surprise that the contemporary left—those people most indoctrinated by regime slogans and catchphrases—are concerned about empathy (lack of). Funnily enough, since the left tends to be narcissistic and project into other people, “empathy”, as an aesthetic theory, meant that artistic appreciation “depended on the viewer’s ability to project his personality into the viewed object.” Empathy is literally psychological projection; the erstwhile SJW who projects all the time tells no lies when they say they are “an empath”.
This notion was developed by a psychologist, Titchener, as a theory of mind that claims that your internal state depends on what you see of yourself in other people—i.e. “I know I’m sad because the other person has mirrored my face, looks sad; therefore, I’m sad.” Guess what Titchener’s theory of mind means? I only know what I myself feel from how other people react to me. Guess what another name for that is? Narcissism. Yes, empath theory is literally narcissism, as supported by “the science”; it is the view that I only know my internal state from others—“But the mirror neurones…” But bullshit.
In modern Greek the word “empathy” has a different meaning from in English, it is what linguists call a “false friend”: it means malevolence. I submit that modern Greek is a true friend, “empathy” is malevolence—narcissism and projection. I think it has been popularised to push out three older concepts: pity, sympathy, and compassion—empathy has replaced these because it is a feminine idea, and our regime celebrates the feminine above all.
Sympathy is a magical concept, hence anthropologists speak about “sympathetic magic”—“the hair of the dog that bit you” is sympathetic magic, “what hurt me will cure me”; i.e. it is sympathetic, literally “together-feel”; Heineken gave you a hangover, Heineken will cure the hangover. “Pity” is a negative concept—hence Zweig’s novel Beware of Pity and Nietzsche’s strong cautions against it. “Pity” means mercy, for someone to be so pathetic you feel for them and help them—it celebrates weakness and resentfulness. “Compassion” is perhaps the most positive of the three; and when people say they are “empathetic” they really think they are compassionate. Compassion means “with-feel”, to experience what the other experiences and so understand their position and suffering—to imaginatively enter their position, not merely copycat them. Why is compassion disprivileged? Because it is a Christian notion, it comes from the passion of Christ—our regime is anti-Christian, and so compassion is replaced with “scientific” empathy.