Imagination = Empathy

Humans are the only (to our knowledge) beings capable of intentionally imagining a fictitious or fabricated reality.

• Imagine you’re in a desert. There’s nothing but greasewood brush, tussocks of bramble and strange looking cactus, bulbous nodes dangling off platter sized palms like testicles on a dying mule. Overhead, buzzards like drones circle your desiccated shape, a shape barely wide enough to cast a shadow. You step aside an unsuspecting boulder to have your calf bit and pumped full of rattlesnake venom. No warning. No baby-rattle susurration before the strike. The agony hits like a hot brand. You stumble and fall, your breath squeezed from your chest. A sensation like molten mercury seeps up your leg. The beast bites and slithers off, content in the knowledge that, though you won’t be its next meal, you will most definitely feed a fellow high desert compatriot.•

OK. Did you go there? Did you read along and imagine your/their plight? If so, then it was your imagination that provided the empathy you felt for this unfortunate soul lost in the desert.

Empathy is your imagination placing you in the situation of another.

Empathy is you commiserating with, through the virtual world of your mind’s pictorial capability, another being, human or otherwise.

You can imagine, therefore you can feel another’s suffering—virtually at least.

It is due to our expansive, our far-too-large-for-our-own-good brains that we have been cursed with the ability to empathize with another creature. We can imagine their pain. Their suffering. Their soul crushing loss or failure, or shame. Our imagination gives us this ability.

Altruism is our ability to share, often to our own detriment, our personal safety, wealth and prosperity. Why would we ever do this? Dogs don’t do this. Dolphins, chimps, corvids—species with advanced intelligence, even consciousness don’t do this. Only humans go out of their way to ensure another’s survival. Why?

Because we can imagine how it feels to be that other being.

Our imagination is the source of our empathy.

Corporate Charity

Public corporation charity is a crock.

Public corporations, those with symbols on a stock market exchange, have a single master – share holder equity. Absolutely everything they (the executives in concert with the board of directors) do is with the intent to increase (or maintain) share holder equity.

Everything.

Including pretending to “care” for the environment, community or their employees.

Last week the public corporation for which I work fired 10% of the corporate headquarters staff (40 people) and 10% of the shop floor staff (1000 people).

I slipped by (||) that far from getting the ax. Unfortunately, the fellow with whom I work, everyday—side by side—on software projects got the knife. His Business Analysis partner was cut too. And so, with a single whack of their brain dead sword, corporate gutted the “tribal knowledge” of one of the more important software applications in use by two dozen repair shops around the country. “The rest of you developers will have to take on the load.” — yeah right.

The CEO, up to now, had been one of those who touted the “we’re all one big family” vibe at every quarterly all-hands meeting. — yeah right.

And so it was with incredulity that I received an email which explored how important it was for this corporation to account for all the volunteer time we had invested in the last 12 months, including how important we thought the environment, community and education was and how this corporation should pursue supporting such things.

What a crock.

No matter what a public corporation says to the world, despite all of its press releases, all of its so called public principles of business conduct, there is one tenet they must obey above all others — increase share holder equity.

Everything else is a lie.

 

Post COVID Blues

When this coronavirus is finally subdued:

  • I’m afraid when I go back to work my pants won’t fit anymore.
  • I won’t be able to get on an airplane without providing a blood sample.
  • Friday night at the movies will become Friday night at the Hulu.
  • Libraries will have all closed.
  • Cruise ships will be towed off shore and sunk to build up the Great Barrier Reef (yeay!).
  • You’ll need a license to go for a picnic.
  • There will be home machines you can buy to turn old books and furniture into toilet paper.
  • Clorox Company will buy Nabisco and make Bleach Blondie Brownies.
  • A home hazmat chamber will don every frontdoor.
  • Drone pilots will become an Olympic Sport.

When all this is said and done, Drumpf will have died from the virus (shot by an inoculated tranquilizer dart by Nancy Pelosi), and we’ll be resigned to living in a hyper-paranoid world where a six-foot distant “air hug” is considered affectionate.  Kisses — NOT!