On empathy

This was a particularly interesting (and difficult) post to research and write. There is a wealth of literature about empathy, and I found a lot of it surprising. I feel kind of like the kid who opened up the back of dad’s watch to see how it works and now is sitting amidst a cubic yard of springs and gears wondering how to put it all back together.

~ David Gross from, https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/SMziBSCT9fiz5yG3L/notes-on-empathy

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At 19,000 words and 77 minutes of reading, this is a small book. If you click through, you’ll quickly discover that it is also one of 50–or–so, similarly–sized “posts” by Gross on lesswrong.com. Fortunately, he didn’t let his “wondering how to put it all back together” stop him from taking it all apart. Entirely apart, dissected from every direction, and including diagrams.

Even if this topic, author, and specific linked-article aren’t of interest, I encourage you to click over to Lesswrong. It is a magnificent web site, beautifully simple to behold, and easy to read for hours on end. It is one of the very few websites on the Internet that I don’t instinctively glip to my browser’s show-reader-view. Lesswrong is jammed full of useful features for a reader. Lesswrong is quite literally what Wikipedia should be in terms of user experience and appearance.

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Virtue and vice

When the intellect becomes the slave of vices and passions, the supporter of lies, it becomes not only a perversion, but an illness, and we cannot see the difference between truth and falsehood, good and evil, virtue and vice.

~ William Ellery Channing

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Virtue and adversity

I may wish to be free from torture, but if the time comes for me to endure it, I’ll wish to bear it courageously with bravery and honor. Wouldn’t I prefer not to fall into war? But if war does befall me, I’ll wish to carry nobly the wounds, starvation, and other necessities of war. Neither am I so crazy as to desire illness, but if I must suffer illness, I’ll wish to do nothing rash or dishonorable. The point is not to wish for these adversities, but for the virtue that makes adversities bearable.

~ Seneca, 67.4

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