Help: I don't feel bad for the poor.

<p>As the title stays. </p>

<p>Because CC is a place where intellectual/accepting minds gather, I figured I would be able to confess my big secret and get actual help instead of been bashed down. </p>

<p>Here it is:
I don't feel bad when I hear/see news relating to poor people/sick/tragedies in foreign countries.</p>

<p>For example, everytime I see that commercial that says that 30,000 die daily of hunger and preventable diseases, my first thought is that this is actually very good to combat overpopulation. </p>

<p>But so far in life, I stand alone in my views. When I try to tell someone what I feel- or what I don't feel- they bash me down as if I were a monster. I want to clarify something: in no means do I mean to be cruel, stuff like that simply doesn't get to me. </p>

<p>I don't know what I am. Is there a word? A nihilist? A Nazi? Anything?</p>

<p>I love my family a lot. And I can feel compassion for people "like me" (i.e. in America). I have a lot of friends and am pretty nice. I had a great childhood and a wonderful life overall. </p>

<p>Is there something wrong with me? I don't want to be changed, but it seems like people's perception of me totally changes when they hear my true opinion on something (ex. the 30,000 daily dying kids). They go from liking me to "omg she's a monster."</p>

<p>But again, I don't mean to be cruel. I don't believe in hunting. I love animals. I am a very supportive friend. </p>

<p>Yet when there's a presentation on Darfur and the people onstage say: "Millions have died" and put pictures to show, it doesn't affect me. I sit there and I don't feel bad. </p>

<p>When people talk about the AIDS crisis in Africa, I don't feel bad. Yet, when people talking about the AIDS crisis in America, I feel worried.</p>

<p>When people talk about the starving poor in other countries, I still don't feel bad. I think: There's so many of them, there has always been, and there will always be, so why even worry about it?</p>

<p>Is there anyone out there who shares my views? Am I a bad person for judging things in such a mathematical way?</p>

<p>Thanks. =S</p>

<p>Actually, many, many people feel this way. They just don't say it out loud because it's taboo.</p>

<p>^ seconded.
According to some psychological research, whatever people do - they do it to comfort themselves. If you walk on the street, see a beggar, and give him 20 cents - you don't do it to make him feel better (and deep inside you know that 20 cents won't change much for him), you do it to show yourself how nice you are on your mental level (you do not necessarily understand this). And yes, it is taboo. There used to be times when people were killed for fun, and to eradicate that, everyone has to believe that what we do NOW is correct. Otherwise, just a little doubt - and this belief is shaken, and whole society falls down from the hill.</p>

<p>It seems to me that you might not have gone through hardships or been in some adverse situation of considerable caliber enough to have at least a bit of understanding about what goes around on the other side of the world. </p>

<p>Huge assumption, and even if it's true, there's nothing wrong with it, I wouldn't label you as a "monster", just not yet there, or experienced. I find it a bit horrible, as I'm loosely one of those "low income, non-rich, pity-me thou" ones (...), but it's understandable how someone in the U.S. has difficulty caring about what's so distant from his/her life, how it's just another world and it isn't a tangible reality.</p>

<p>I guess it's a matter of where/how you were raised. I don't think you are at fault. If I had been born under rich parents and got everything I wanted and everything went fine, I might have adopted the same attitude (I'm not claiming that this is the case for all rich people, it's just an example).</p>

<p>But I wasn't, good or bad, whatever, I've had my share of considerable hardships (not asking for any pity here, stating this objectively), and it's just the way it is.</p>

<p>EDIT: I sound like some aged-old 50 year old fat guy complaining about life, oh man, most serious post I made on these forums. Sorry guys, I'm 15.</p>

<p>Empathy can be a tool to use others, and it can be a chain. It appears that you may be relieved in the latter sense (re:African AIDS), but only partially (re:American AIDS).
No one has benefits from pity.</p>


When people talk about the AIDS crisis in Africa, I don't feel bad.




Yet, when people talking about the AIDS crisis in America, I feel worried.


How is this reflective of judging things in a mathematical way? It might simply be that you are worried about you getting AIDS, and perceive American AIDS as more of a threat than African AIDS, but that is something perhaps only you can confirm or deny.</p>

<p>There is a chance that a random American has more in common with you than a random African (in the dimensions about which you care), but it is only a chance. They can all be worthless or valuable etc.</p>

<p>It would be objective not to bother emotionally at all, but to note the practical consequences. What I perceive from you is a state that is not objective in this sense, but do not blame yourself for being a bit biased. Most people are emotional, but one emotion is not going to force your hand.
It seems (imho) that you are not comfortable with your state. After all, you are inviting "Help."**</p>

<p>I would not encourage you to empathise more with Africans, but rather to detach yourself from these "Americans". One random detail about a person might not make them so useful or likeable or similar to you. It may well be that had you known them all, you could have wanted them all to die.</p>

<p>If your concern is just that American AIDS presents a threat to you, then some of the above is void. However, it is not all beyond your control. You do not need to care about the actual people anywhere, and you can in fact take steps to reduce your chances of infection.</p>

<p>Finally, there are others who have similar ideas but do not say it. It can be a political distaste.</p>

<p>If you could feel the agonies of all humanity, it would crush your mind and you would not be able to do anyone, including yourself, any good. Few people feel actual empathy for distant strangers. It is something which is usually not discussed. </p>

<p>Feel emotions for those like you and near you. But make a solumn intellectual committment to try to improve the lives of strangers far away. This does not have to be a huge effort; a few bucks donated to an efficient charity, a few hours public service, voting for and/or supporting a political candidate who you think will improve the world. Do this not because you cry tears for those you do not know but because you realize they are human too and
you can provide some significant help even though you do not devote your life to them.</p>

<p>I am Christian. Jesus said to love our neighbor as ourself. He did not say to get maudlin over far away evil. The Good Samitarian helped a person he happened across accidentally. He acted benevolently toward someone who the Lord placed in his "sphere of influence". He did not drop his affairs and start seeking out victims to help.</p>

<p>You are not monster. You are perhaps too honest.</p>

<p>I agree with Invoyable. When you're in socioeconomic situations like ourselves, you tend to care more about people like that in even worse situations.</p>

I don't know what I am. Is there a word?




<p>^ I would disagree with that one, BeKind. I know what poverty is, and I understand the author. This question does much more that discusses 'feeling sorry' for someone. It asks a question - is human life worth anything? Why do we think so much of ourselves, if we are no different from animals but with brain? Why do we live and try hard and even harder to do something in this life, if in the end we die? To do it for other people? But eventually other people will die, too, especially considering the exponential population growth rate... It seems like constructing a building for 70-80 years, for it to be blown apart in a second or two.</p>

<p>Only people who have actually been in poverty can feel real empathy for the poor. Which explains why you feel bad for people in America. You see Americans every day. </p>

<p>Many people who say they "feel bad" for the downtrodden don't really. They just want to tell themselves that they care. </p>

<p>Not that it's really okay to feel this way; some . We Americans are simply too lucky for our own good.</p>

<p>Or maybe you just have a problem connecting with strangers (judging by what you said in your 6th paragraph), i.e., people who have no connection with you. For example, I'm sure you'd feel pretty depressed if a new friend you made in Africa tells you that her family was gunned down. </p>

<p>What I'm trying to say is, statistics don't evoke emotion. Footage of a nameless person digging food from the garbage doesn't leave a lasting impression either. But realizing that someone you had just talked to on the phone a few days ago is about to be shot is a totally different story.</p>

<p>That would explain why so many people are apathetic to other people's sufferings. It could also be that most people are intrinsically selfish, but I like to think that actions have reasons.</p>

<p>uhuh. people employing their ap psychology skillz.
we see the self-study skillz in action.</p>

<p>I think if you read up on some Libertarian ideas, you should feel better.</p>

<p>I come from a very poor background. Not poor like third world country, but I live in the poorest urban area in America. Even though I come from that background, I still feel all people are created equal. If everybody is created equal that means that everyone has the same ability as everybody else. If people choose to not work and have ability or get a STD or illness due to poor choices, then I have absolutely no sympathy for them. If you are dumb enough to get HIV via sex then im sorry but you deserve it. The same goes for the entire African Continent. America didn't just randomly show up one day and become the empire it is. It took a lot of work to do what what done in the 1700's. The creation of America proved that it was possible to overcome the biggest empire in human history, so I don't buy the BS reported on third world nations like Sudan and other places where genocide is occurring. Overcoming radical militants is a bit easier than the British empire. America has stood as a beacon of freedom, even the most remote villages in the world, know of America. </p>

<p>I don't believe anybody is entitled to anything, either you swim or you sink. Nobody is entitled to food or medical coverage, schooling or anything else. We all are responsible for our own bodies and I firmly believe every human will always make the better choice for themselves. </p>

<p>I to, care more about Animals then I do humans. If I watch a Peta video of a poor animal being skinned alive, I am upset for weeks and it haunts me. Humans, its still bad, just not as bad. I think this way because I know humans can only be exploited by other humans A caged animal being exploited has no options, as it has its own limitations. </p>

<p>Now do I feel bad for certain people, yeah. I feel bad for the working construction worker with 4 kids and he got hurt at work and cant support his family. So I believe in charities to help these individuals. I don't believe in government help of any kind. What I don't feel any sympathy for, is people who are dumb.</p>

<p>I personally think opiates, other hard drugs and every prescription should all be completely legal, and every person should have access to every drug possible with absolutely no prescription or doctor intervention. They should sell these things in vending machines, and if people are dumb enough to use and abuse, they should rot.</p>

<p>I see where you're coming from Dr. Horse, but your post clearly shows your ignorance of the situation in Africa. </p>

<p>You can't compare a bunch of Americans (originally Europeans) coming to a "new" continent by choice from an already advanced civilization and raping a bunch of Native Americans to what is happening in Africa today.</p>

<p>And you most certainly can't compare having unprotected sex and contracting AIDS in America to the many many that are just born with HIV in Africa.</p>


I don't believe anybody is entitled to anything, either you swim or you sink. Nobody is entitled to food or medical coverage, schooling or anything else.


You did not earn anything as a newborn. You exist now only because some were deluded into taking care of you. Perhaps we may just as stupidly delude ourselves into taking care of others. Note that libertarianism in the extreme is a naivete - if it assumes the survival of the fittest, then it must accept that the fittest, those organisms that dominate the planet now, are the social and interdependent. This can be compared to the self-defeat of superficially extreme egoism.</p>


We all are responsible for our own bodies and I firmly believe every human will always make the better choice for themselves.</p>

<p>I to, care more about Animals then I do humans. If I watch a Peta video of a poor animal being skinned alive, I am upset for weeks and it haunts me. Humans, its still bad, just not as bad. I think this way because I know humans can only be exploited by other humans A caged animal being exploited has no options, as it has its own limitations.


Some humans are raised in genuine cages, but saying that we put on equal footing those who were privileged to be educated and those whose minds were developed in cages of poverty, faith and horror does not make it so. Humans remain influenced and limited by their development, and for all their bounties of happy potential they can bear outstanding stupidities.</p>

<p>Also in my peachy post I didn't mean to imply anything that somehow your socioeconomic status is what dictates all this, just a thought that I think that experiences and hardships (I.E/esp. conditions/circumstances you grew up in/were placed in) significantly affects your thoughts/ideas.</p>

<p>And I should make it clear that I do not immediately burst out in tears whenever I see a footage of an anorexic African tribe, and I don't claim to be a perfectly sympathetic/empathetic person to all this. I honestly too sometimes don't feel anything, and etc, but I have some more degree of empathy in most cases.</p>

<p>Well Geek your right about the newborns. But people have children usually for the benefits & incentives to them. When farmers have children, its usually to help on the farm. When some average people have a kid, many do so for security when they are older. What I am saying is that people do things for their own good, so most people raise children not because they have to or because its fun, but because they get some incentive to do so. So if I was born and taken care of, it was done to benefit another.</p>

<p>I never said every human was the same, I said every human had the same ability as every other. I was poor and went to public school with the poor. I was the only white in any of my classes. I sure was bound by my environment like my peers. Though I had the ability to do what I needed to do to get out and I did. I had everything the same as the rest of my childhood friends and now Im a grad student. So I don't buy into your argument. Tons of people come to America for educations from the poorest places around the world. Not really bound.</p>

<p>Who cares? Despite what the 'intellectuals' on a website will tell you or whatever, you don't have issues or deep rooted psychological scars or whatever the hip/fad/chic thing it is that people have today. You don't feel bad for the poor. End of story. Doesn't mean you are bad or evil or that you should renounce your ways, live in a commune and sing kumbaya. Whatever.</p>

<p>dude dont feel bad man. until only a few years ago, i used to laugh at the mentally challenged until my aunt started getting alzheimers so now i totally regret it.</p>

<p>Somebody might've mentioned this already, but I was too lazy to read everyone's posts.</p>

<p>But it's kind of along the same lines as what Alone said; that we only donate money to the homeless man to make ourselves feel better on a subconscious level. </p>

<p>From an evolutionary standpoint, altruism only exists as a kind of protective measure; in the tit-for-tat mentality. If you help some random person in a time of need, then that person is more likely to help you when you are in need. Or, if you help that person, and payback is unlikely, but other townspeople hear of this good deed, then the townspeople will be more likely to help you, because you have shown yourself to be a caring person, and they may receive thanks for their good deeds in the future.</p>

<p>Humans are supposed to be selfish creatures, the theory holds, because the more one keeps for himself/his family, the more he is likely to prosper and procreate. But since success in such a complex society is uncertain, other mechanisms (like altruism) some into play, to help us.</p>

<p>I don't know if this helped, but it might explain why you feel the way you do, assuming you believe in evolution.</p>

<p>It's ok. The vast majority of humanity wouldn't care if you died either.</p>

<p>Woot life.</p>