The Courage to Empathize

Today’s post is something of a spur of the moment thing. It comes about as a result of two posts intersecting in my mind today. The first is “well, when I called her ‘evil’, she just laughed” over at 80 Proof Oinomancy. I encourage everyone to read the whole thing, as it is pithy, in keeping with Ace’s usual style. The most important parts are these:

See, the vast majority (I’d say ≥ 95%) of women that play “tough” are, at their core—

Terrified.

Odds are they had a very weak – if not completely absent – father figure.

This left them feeling twice as vulnerable as the average female.

Now, be sure to understand, dear reader, fear is a female’s default position.

coupled with:

So, am I saying all of those women are – at heart – just frightened, little girls?

(Permit me to be uncharacteristically clear, rather than my usually cryptic self.)

Yes.

That’s exactly what I’m saying.

Now, all of this I have heard and known before. Still, a refresher never hurts, especially when the timing matches up with something else you read. In this case another post.

The second post is one over at Scott’s blog, Ideals are never fully attainable.  The relevant part is this section at the end:

If may also be true that women do not naturally respond with graciousness at the sight of their husbands trying harder, this is also something that must be addressed. I don’t actually believe that women struggle with empathy. I do, however believe they tend to lack the courage and/or motivation to turn the data provided by empathic responses into actionable items. In other words, the kind of empathy that changes your life and the lives around you. This is what happens when you see something that is not right and then you make a series of decisions about what can be done, and then do them. But no one escapes the Lords wrath in the end when He will ask “why did you stubbornly wait to do the right thing?” and we respond:

 

“I was waiting for the other person to go first.”

Both of these posts together, or at least the ideas they presented, made something click in me. You see, I have a theory now why women seem to have trouble with empathy. This is something long discussed in the manosphere, and there are even some commenters who argue women are incapable of empathy. Of course, there are also those who argue women have no agency or are incapable of loyalty, etc.

As for myself, I think women are entirely capable of empathy. I have known some empathetic women. And history is filled with numerous examples of such women- indeed the general culture still clings to the notion that women are naturally empathetic. That had to come from somewhere. My suspicion is that it did in fact used to be the case, although in recent years that has changed.

So where am I going with all of this? Here goes:

I theorize that women are having difficulty in this age with empathy because they are insecure and afraid- and empathy requires courage to carry out.

Here are the individual arguments which lead to this conclusion:

Argument 1: Empathy requires courage-

To empathize with someone is to put yourself in their shoes. This requires that you both understand their position, and mentally assume it as well. That involves, by necessity, assuming a vulnerable state in order to feel what they feel. That requires courage because you will be experiencing- and confronting-  fears and insecurities you would otherwise not face.

Argument 2: Women’s default state is fear-

As Ace explains, fear is a female’s default state. This is difficult for men to internalize, because while we feel fear we don’t live it like a woman does. Consider their vulnerability and weakness compared to ours, and this becomes so much clearer. Not to mention test this argument against their actions and see how things start to make sense.

Argument 3: Women are more insecure than ever-

While there are exceptions, most women these days are profoundly insecure. It is no wonder why. Masculine men are increasingly scarce. They are cut off from the traditional sources of security and sense of belonging- families are small, separated and play little role in everyday life, a sense of greater community is non-existent, and they have increasingly been pushed into roles that are traditionally male (which under natural conditions would only occur in a state of social/community distress).

Argument 4: Insecurity undermines courage-

To be insecure and to be afraid are not necessarily the same, but both are closely aligned and both together interfere with courage. To feel fear, and to be afraid, are also not the same. It is natural to feel fear at various things. But to feel afraid is to let that fear take hold of you and guide you. Herein lies the problem- fear, when it guides an individual, interferes with our higher callings, such as empathy. I believe this is because being afraid is inherently emotional, and thus tied to our bodies and their Appetites, while being empathetic is a matter of the soul and the Reason/Will. Being afraid is an instance of the body suborning the soul, and thus matters of the soul, such as empathy, are tossed aside.

Argument 5- Notable empathetic women felt a sense of peace-

If you look back in history at some of the female saints noted for being empathetic, there was a profound sense of peace in their lives. They were unafraid- often despite great and obvious perils to their well-being. I believe this was a product of two functions. The first and most important was the peace that their Faith gave to them- a peace given not as the world gives it. The second reason was that the culture of the time didn’t encourage or stimulate female insecurity like ours does now. Thus, it was easier for them to overcome and rise above that default state of fear.


When you take these different arguments and combine them, the natural conclusion is that women have trouble with empathy because they are profoundly insecure and afraid. Until those insecurities are resolved, and until they are no longer afraid (or are at least able to overcome their fears), they will lack the means to show true empathy.

In the context of Scott’s post previously  mentioned, you can see the problem with the Promise Keeper’s movement. The men were doubling down on actions which made their wives even more insecure. Which only increased the tendency of those women to act out in a negative manner. Which of course made the men feel bad, and believe they were doing something wrong. So they doubled down again on the foolishness, with even more negativity resulting. It is a vicious cycle which cannot end well.

 

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17 Comments

Filed under Civilization, Men, Moral Agency, Red Pill, Women

17 responses to “The Courage to Empathize

  1. fuzziewuzziebear

    Donal,
    I think that you are being too generous as to motive. While there is a lot of fear out there, feminists have managed to channel that fear into hatred and malice, to the point where all are affected.

  2. MK

    Female empathy is reserved for her children alone. Darwinian no-brainer, this. Or for those opposed to God’s evolutionary stratagems: God said to the Serpent: She will strike at your head; you will strike at her heel.

    Were women to evolve a transcendent masculine empathy that distracts from her primal calling? Now that would demand some fancy scientific or moral explanation. But it isn’t so. All is still right in the world and babies can sleep soundly.

  3. PeterW.

    My response is not that women lack empathy, but that empathy itself has a fundamental flaw.

    In order to empathise with someone, you must understand them. Otherwise, you are only empathising with yourself in that situation. Empathy without knowledge, does not bring understanding, but delusion.

    A common example that I experience is non-hunters claiming to understand hunting via this method. They empathise easily with prey, because they can imagine themselves threatened and afraid, but their imagination does not take into account that for prey, avoiding predators is as normal as avoiding traffic when you cross a road. Nor does their imagination allow for the fact that humans have a concept of death that animals appear to totally lack. Likewise, they appear to totally lack understanding of what drives the hunting instinct and therefore arrive at the conclusion that something that humans have been doing for as long as we share the planet, must be unnatural.

    If your reference point is yourself, then you expect everything that you dislike to be unnatural and wrong.

  4. PeterW.

    Empathy makes subjective feelings the tool for gaining understanding.

    Not principles.

  5. I don’t think it’s courage to empathize. I think it’s a lack of compassion to empathize.

    I also think it’s a few reasons why women have difficulty emphasizing now:

    1. Narcissism. When you’re more self absorbed now, it’s harder to empathize with others. Some wives are certainly insecure when they hen peck their men, but many of the wives also think they deserve it even though they are wrong. That’s not related to the insecurity but rather ego.

    2. Women are very “tribal” and “following” in nature, and communities and society are now very fractured. Women will have a very hard time empathizing with those who are not ‘related’ to them generally. This is also the reason why men are more charitable monetarily to the poor and those in need.

    3. Fear definitely plays a role, but it’s more along the lines of the fact that if a woman is fearful she’s going to be more focusing on herself and her situation rather than others. Hence, it is harder to empathize.

    These are just some brief thoughts because I’m rushed for time, but there are more I think.

  6. jon dough

    Feminism requires that women must be victims. No choice. A victim may not empathize. No choice. Full stop.
    Women must deny feminism to be freed. Full stop.

  7. Let’s not get carried away here. It’s true that women, on average, are lighter, shorter and weaker than men, but they generally aren’t seen as a physical threat to be eliminated precisely for this reason. Only a small majority of men are willing to commit unprovoked violence against women, whereas physical violence among men has pretty much been common in any society. And it isn’t exactly difficult for the average woman to find a man, or men, willing to protect her from other men.

  8. anonymous_ng

    An idea I heard about once, the insecure alpha seems to fit the situation. The insecure alpha is the person who is thrust into the position of leadership, but who hasn’t the constitution for the role.

    What often happens then is that the alpha, being insecure, and not having come to the position organically, apes their perception of how a leader/alpha acts. Often this is a cartoonish exaggeration of leadership. Also, their insecurity finds them reacting to every perceived slight as if it were an existential threat.

    I find your hypothesis to be basically sound, and the reason being that women are as a group constitutionally unsuited for the position they’ve agitated for, and have to fulfill in the modern age.

    They are insecure alphas aping what they think is leadership and strength.

  9. Pingback: This Week In Reaction (2017/05/14) - Social Matter

  10. anonymous_ng

    I thought that I’d commented on this thread. Did you delete my comment, or is it even more basic that I didn’t click the post comment button?

  11. @ anon

    No deletion. Let me check spam filter.

  12. Rachael

    I think the reason modern women lack empathy is that in order to be empathetic, you have to be able to imagine what another person feels. I think most women have no idea what a man feels because feminism has taught us that men and women are the same. Most women have never thought about how men feel differently than they do, especially in the realms of sex, respect and affection. This results in a lack of empathy because you can’t really empathize with what you don’t understand.

  13. Good point Rachel. That certainly is a factor, although I don’t think it is responsible by itself.

  14. MK

    DS, Women will have a very hard time empathizing with those who are not ‘related’ to them generally.

    True. It’s the whole story. As said above:
    1) Female empathy is reserved for her children alone. Darwinian yawn.
    2) Men sacrifice for the tribe. Women are the tribe.
    Were women to grow much empathy for her non-relations? Now that would demand some fancy scientific or moral explanation.

    Modern people are so individualistic they have lost the ability to think rationally about normal human relations. Just because our tribe is going extinct doesn’t mean everyone else is.

  15. DJ

    Empathy is easy it just feelings,simply another kind of imagination. Acting on it is hard.
    Choosing the appropriate reaction the one that makes it better for the other person without destroying yourself in the process that is the real challenge.
    Acting on empathy is almost self destructive because its so rarely reciprocated and it takes so much out of a person.
    And if you don’t choose the right reaction it makes no impact or worst case it causes the person your empathizing with more pain or trouble. Even if you fail its still draining.

  16. PeterW.

    The hardest thing about empathy, for most people, seems to be realising that it cannot really be trusted.

    It is one of the reasons that people fall for cons. They cannot easily imagine that the con artists would be insincere, do they act as if they can trust the con, with no evidence whatsoever.

  17. @ DJ

    Interesting that you argue empathy is all about feelings. Especially since this post is about how women are less likely to empathize these days, and yet they are – far more than men- creatures of feelings.

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