About empathy and death

Unfortunately there were some pretty recent terrorist attacks all over the world, Paris and Beirut in November 2015, Brussels, Istanbul and Lahore (Pakistan) in March 2016 just to name a few, and maybe many more that we forgot or we did not hear about on the news.

After most of them comes the mandatory "Pray for ..." campaign on social media, which is just stupid because: 1. praying to god(s) does not actually solve any problem and 2. because it's just a way to pat yourself on your back that you're a nice person for showing your friends that you care without actually doing anything as "you don't give any of your time your money or even your compassion." (*)(**).

But this is not about that, it's about another breed of online activists, the "You're mainstream that you pray for Paris/Brussels, what about Beirut/Istanbul/Kenya?" activistw. The ones who complain that the Western World cares about Western World.

I strongly believe that our lives on Earth are the most important thing in the Universe, because we only have one (***), so I strongly condemn any kind of violent behavior that's intended to take other people lives. I'm profoundly affected by any news involving death, but I really think that caring more for some people/cities/countries than others it's a completely normal thing to do. In the end, we spend our lives selecting people that get in our circle of care.

I identify more with people like me. I identify more with people who died at Bataclan because I'm also Latin, because my mother is a French teacher so I developed a strange attraction to France, because I'm a fan of the band that played that night there, so I think it could've been me there. I care more about the people from Brussels because it's the capital of Europe, because it's the "Free World" and I tend to like that.

The easier we can put ourselves into someone's position/shoes, the more we care for them, even if we don't actually know them. The more you know them, the more you care about them, or at least the heavier the news are about something bad.

Let's do a small exercise for your imagination: your best friend for your childhood dies in a car crash and a guy working at the same factory as your father does dies in a car crash. Who do you care more for? Let's try again: the high-school you attended burns and 5 people die, a high-school in a city 300 km away burns and 5 people die? Which news is more tragic for you? There's terrorist attack in your country and 20 people die and there's a terrorist attack in a neighbor country? How about now?

There maybe be countless reasons for which you may care more for your friend, your high-school, your city, your country. Some of them may not make sense, but as we know there are a lot of things about humans that don't make sense. All of them lead to us being biased.

But accusing people of that it's kind of hypocritical. Do you really equally care for ALL the people in this world?

* That's a quote from Anthony Jeselnik's stand-up "Thoughts and Prayers" which has a pretty extensive discussion on this topic.

** Oh yeah, I know you did something: you clicked on the Facebook button to change your profile picture with an overlay of the affected country's flag.

*** Just to be clear: in my opinion. This is not a discussion about religion and afterlife.