What happened to altruism?

Now you think this is going to be a complaining post – and you might be right 😉 But, mostly, there will be reflections and a sigh… Lately, we have seen so often in the news, cruelty against animals.

Fresh in mind is yesterday´s news about people who have caught crabs, torn their claws off and put them back in the water. Needless to say, they can neither defend themselves, nor eat, without their claws.

Dogs and cats just left to die a slow death.

I know this probably angers you, and perhaps you also ask yourself – who are the people who would do this? I know, me too! Human beings have been hunting for centuries. Apart from the obvious need for food, I believe that we are equipped with the intrigue of the trophy. Perhaps we are made this way, so that we will improve in our ways (hunting, as I am talking about right now), because improving means that we as a human race will live on.

In modern time, though, we have switched out the animal trophy (well, mostly) with others, like a good job, a fancy car, great vacations posted on Facebook, expensive designer bags, yes, we are all guilty of keeping trophies, just not me, ha ha.

Even as small children, we are drawn to exploring the complicated world in which we bond with other creatures, and also feel the need to explore our superiority to them. As a child, I was exploring whether it was true, what they said about the earthworm, that they could live if separated in two. So I did. Now, I can not kill a fly!

My exploration phase was short, luckily for the earthworms….And, I had something inside me, that said it was wrong. Let´s just call that thing empathy 🙂

Some children do not have that loud voice inside, and perhaps not from the outside either, adults who explore nature and other creatures with them, who can tell them right from wrong, who can talk to them about what other creatures might also feel . this develops this thing – oh, empathy it is 🙂

What complicates things, is that our human brain develops in a way that survival comes first, and areas in which empathy mostly stem from, is developed late, and not “fully” developed until we are in our 20s – yes, no joke!

What we get as children, will shape most of our relationships as adults. When we receive a lot of empathy, those little pathways in our brain will turn into highways, enabling us to feel and act upon empathy towards others.

So, I ask myself….what has happened to society when there are so many stories about cruelty to animals? (I will not even start to write about the endless cruelty to humanity). Some of these act are way more than a child´s exploration of their possible superiority of other species, of their strength or just curiosity about nature. Some of these acts are done, well aware that they are hurting another being. This is not a new phenomenon, though, it seems as if it happens more frequently now. And we do not have a whole society full of sociopaths who have been maltreated as young? I do not reckon we do.

Are we not able to give enough empathy to our children? Do we not have enough time to spend with them? Perhaps we do not know what they are taught about other creatures? Are we part of developing a society where we are more and more remote from nature, so we do not care as much? Does this society whichCalgary June 2010 020 encourage individuality and strength a dark side?

I would love to hear your opinions!

Love, S

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