Empathy and kindness

The lack of empathy and absence of kindness in political reasoning these days has been troubling me for quite some time. I feel there is certain obsession over data that helps people fuel their fear driven agenda if the data is only selected to support whatever the goal is. There is no need to manipulate data even though this is still done if the return is high and the end seems to justify the means. Still, the sheer amount of available information is so overwhelming that you can pick what supports your view without raising suspicion. As a consequence it is easier to deny personal responsibility for certain statements because the data speaks for itself and serves as objective justification towards everyone not taking the time to dive deeply into complex topics. The obvious countermeasure to analyse all data and derive arguments to invalidate these positions does not seem to work. These efforts can be disregarded quickly as being too complex and are vulnerable to attacks through fabricated contradictions, comfortable oversimplifications and false equivalence.

How do you keep a balanced view in a world where the amount of accessible information is growing every day and the time that would be needed to verify sources manually grows exponentially? I try to stick to simple values.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle you know nothing about.” – Ian Maclaren

Living by this quote is incredibly hard but this advice has been successfully guiding my professional career now for years. I hope that whenever I don’t live up to my own standards, the other person will have taken this quote to heart. How do you keep yourself from hating the people who are trying to change the world for the worse? I try and reframe myself to feel the following.

“I can’t afford to hate anyone. I don’t have that kind of time.” – Akira Kurosawa

Needless to say this is incredibly hard, too, but life is short so it’s worth a try.