Saturday, October 25, 2008

why we are callous brutes

Psychologically, we can't help but selectively construct our own mental world:

Try to imagine how many events of emotional significance occur in the world in the course of 24 hours:

Countless causes for joy - at 3:05PM a healthy baby was born in Alaska
Countless causes for optimism - at 11:45AM a divorcing couple amicably finalised custody arrangements in Bulgaria
Countless causes for anxiety - at 8:32AM a coughing poultry worker boarded a plane for the UK
Countless causes for anger - at 2:22PM a factory worker in China was unfairly dismissed

Now think of the other 6 billion people in the world. Something joyful, or reassurring, or ominous, or unjust... (etc) has probably happened to each one of us today.

How could a single organism react with genuine emotion to all of these events?

Right or wrong, it is unavoidable that we have to choose which events we invest emotional significance in.

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