I put it down to bullying, narcissistic parents. So how do adults have more empathy than children?
I have to say from my own personal experience, in the western developed world…especially in anglo-saxon countries, there is an enormous amount of cruelty when we are young at the playground, between brothers and brothers or brothers and sisters or sisters and sisters, at school, in sports even in the scouts. Highschool is especially hostile and vicious with an extreme amount of life altering bullying. I was luckily not a victim of it, I even feel nasty having partaken in it a little…but there was a high amount of cruelty involved. Of course you see cruelty as an adult, some of my friends have nightmare parents, or a manipulative parent or some mean colleagues. I asked my friends if they see that kind of bullying or experience it as adults and they said a big no. CAnnot even remember the last time someone was cruel to them, I dont see it much (it certainly does exist) in the many different work enviroments my clients work in and quite varied social enviroments I . But then maybe I live in some unknown paradise but at least with all my life experience, cruelty was extremely concentrated into childhood. Though it should be noted we were also freuently pretty good at getting over our fights and meaness and resuming friendships as though nothing ever happened. I’d certainly like to see if a study exists on the topic…not sure how that would be conducted.
– I think this is where the Golden Rule comes into play. If it can be stated approximately as “I should treat others as I would wish to be treated” then it follows that the more experience I have of need or pain, the more I would understand and recognise need or pain in others. Understanding and recognising need and pain leads to the wish to help, because of the origins of this mechanism (it is thought) in taking care of infants.
So it rests on three things: 1) experience; 2) self-other equivalence, which is a feature of cooperation due to the interchangeability of people within work roles; 3) helping in response to need. Altogether, it is a result of the cooperative environment that humans live in.
If you think about it, we also put a loved one in the place of someone else whom we see in need: we might say “what if that was my daughter / mother / (etc.)?”
Empathy isn’t particularly necessary nor useful if you don’t suffer or even know what suffering is. While it may be contentious when it’s said that ants or lobsters don’t suffer the way we do (per internalised pain amongst other arguments) I’m of the opinion that at the very least, pondscum doesn’t suffer in any way we would ever recognise and that it cannot empathise with other pondscum, not just because they don’t suffer nor recognise suffering, but likely because it is a virtual robotic organic mechanism utterly devoid even the most rudimentary nervous system or even a basis to have “experiences” or “agency”. I think a better analogy is with krill eating fellow krill.
But I guess you really meant pondscum like President Trump, which undoubtedly (at least from the outside world) is the most scumiest sack of shit President who has ever existed in a democratic modern western developed country. In which case I object to the idea that they don’t show compassion. On several occasions Trump has shown great sympathy towards his bromances, in all cases dubious dictators as with Putin, Sin Salaman of Saudi Arabia and Kim Yung Il. He is very quick to defend them and clearly feels for them as they are unfairly attacked by the media. It’s like a homoerotic frat friendship, only without the eroticism as Trump isn’t able to “grab their pussies” or make a sexual conquest out of them.
I’d say they certainly have sympathy, only it’s directly to those who mirror him and very little else. Lucky for Trumps children, they mirror him since if they werent human dipshits, I doubt Trump would have any feelings for them at all. The only one who shows a sliver is sympathy is Melania Trump…and its obvious to every human on Earth that Trump doesn’t give a crap about her let alone respect her in the slightest. No empathy there.