Empathy
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Empathy

This summer whilst boating near St. Joseph Island, Ontario I saw a fish jump out of the water a few times in a row. The fish seemed really weird looking; at first I thought it was a catfish which I don’t even think are around there.

Anyways, my dad and younger sister saw the fish too and apparently it was a fish with several sea lampreys attached to it.

We were telling this story later to someone and they were just like “Oh poor fish 🥺😢"

That made me wonder, why do we only empathize with the fish? Obviously, I wouldn’t want to be the fish bc it was probably going to die. And sea lampreys are kind of scary / ugly looking and they are classified as an invasive species. But still, "what a lamprey gotta do?" They are just trying to survive and they are doing what it takes to survive.

Similarly, a few years ago there was an octopus that got ahold of a bald eagle in BC. The headline was literally:

image

Some fisherman helped the bald eagle get away. Bald eagles are beautiful and octopi are kind of strange looking (squishy). And if I was the eagle, I’d want to get away too! But, I’d ask, why do we immediately want the eagle to get away and the octopus to not enjoy a nice hard earned lunch? Further, apparently the bald eagle was the one who tried to attack/eat the octopus in the first place! lol

I think we immediately apply judgements/subjectiveness to objective reality based on our values. Many of our values aren't really our values but just ones we've copied from others around us and society at large. The Buddha probably said something about this like “There is no good or bad. There just is.”

Written: October 19, 2020