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Opinions of Sunday, 26 December 2010

Columnist: Arthur, Patrick Kobina

Empathy is the sense and the seed of ...

.... the process of development and progress of a people.

***Lack of empathy defeats the development and progress of a people.***

When most people in Ghana are busy about feeling only themselves and prefer
to rob it in the pain of others to the point that it becomes very difficult
for such people to even choose the right words in stating the case. Many
Ghanaians tend to be too selfish and lack empathy, and the only thing
they know is sympathy and mourning of the dead. It is not a Ghanaian thing
to be proactive and empathic to their fellow human being but for any country
to develop there is the need for empathy. Empathy is defined as a the
imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the
object appears to be infused with it. Sympathy on the other hand, is defined
as a relationship between persons in which the condition of one induces a
parallel or reciprocal condition in another. Feeling sorry for someone when
they are enduring hardship is not as important is making a contribution
that solves problem before they encountered. Development occurs when the
condition of the human being and their environment is consistently and
positively improved to the extent that it makes them perform their duties
with relative ease and also live happier lives. In a large part many
technological innovations provided by talented and insightful people have
contributed the most to the course of human development. Inventors are
driven by their ability to properly placing themselves in the situation of
others, this act then translates itself into the process of generating new
ideas and commitment to converting those ideas into useful products. The
products positively affect the situation of the people who first
inspired the inventors idea in the first place. Empathy should be viewed as
the most powerful intellectual ability that lies between an individual's
creative nature and their ability to benefit society with specific talents
and products.

I am because you are

The bus driver has a job because there is a passenger and the struggles of
teachers nation-wide goes on for sake their students. It is therefore
strange to even think of a situation where a teacher will be satisfied with
testing students at a level which is twenty percent of their possible best.
And why will students complain when the tests from their teacher makes them
feel inadequately prepared all the time. The measure of a teacher's
job should be in their most average students surpassing their limits
because they were trained them to never stop delving deeper for more
creativity and strength. The power of empathy should allow the teacher to
see that these children are being prepared for a future that they are not so
certain of, their lives will be measured by a measure yet unknown. And
therefore in preparing them, there is the need to prevent them from settling
down too quickly, prevent them from getting tired too easily. A failure to
empower them but rather limit them to low standards will be an effort at
programming these children for an obvious defeat.

The sense

The sense because progress and development is all about getting a better
tomorrow than we have today, simple as that. Human growth and prosperity is
driven by specialisation of individuals in providing a specific solution to
societal needs and to do that very well. The development ensemble
cast should all be driven by integrity and empathy, so that each can
identify their own talents and precisely map out how to used it to profit
their fellow human being's needs. There are some whose job will be to
provide clean drinking water and without feeling concerned for those
receiving their product, the end result is that many will receive water that
is dirtier than the untreated water. Those with responsibility of keeping
and transferring our monies, which is the "coolest" but the easiest of all
the jobs, will burden us with waiting in endless queues wasting precious
time that we should otherwise be spent creating more value with our skills.
So without empathy towards one another, can there be a society in the first
place? And can a society even attempt to develop? The obvious answer is that
abject poverty will win, Africa ranks the lowest on the human development
scale, it is because there are far more people in Africa than other places
who do not care about their neighbours. Having concern (not compassion) for
ones neighbour is in our own rational self interest, its not a favour at
all, because time and space is not controlled individually but rather

The seed

The seed because empathy allows one generation to prepare the upcoming one
to survive and do much better. Future challenges arise because life and
living systems are constantly changing which bring with it new challenges.
And so, there are innumerable frontiers for constant discovery and
innovation, so preparing the incoming generation should not be seen as just
making life easier but rather equipping them to survive unknown challenges.
Every empathetic generation should therefore provide tools to the upcoming
one to have a better chance at rising to their own occasions. The tools for
engaging and overcoming that which has the potential to set us back will
remain the same over time, namely, strength, knowledge, wisdom, smartness,
insightfulness, will power, curiosity and tenacity. Poverty prevails when
the fore bearing generation bury all their accomplishments, refusing to arm
their upcoming generation with tools they have discovered for them to do
their own battles. In Ghana the examples are many, how many herbalist
haven't died with all their knowledge of medicinal herbs?

It clear to us fellows that we do ourselves a big favour when care and
empathise with our neighbours. When this happen, then really progress will
begin to happen. I am sure of this because worthier nations are doing that
and actually empathy prevents troubles and wars.

Patrick Kobina Arthur (PhD),