Oasis had it right: stop crying your heart out. Psychologist Paul Bloom argues that empathy may be working against our best interests, and that compassion may be a better strategy.
Empathy moves us, but it may move us to make an unethical decision. Conversely, says Bloom, dehumanization is not the ultimate evil we typically assume it to be.
The ranking of empathy from highest to lowest goes liberals, conservatives, libertarians. But the difference is minor, says Paul Bloom. Typically the debate isn’t all over whether or not to empathize – it’s over who to empathize with.
Paul Bloom is the Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology at Yale University. An internationally recognized expert on the psychology of child development, social reasoning, and morality, he has won numerous awards for his research, writing, and teaching. Bloom’s previous books include Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil and How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like, and he has written for Science, Nature, The New York Times, and The New Yorker.