While I certainly pray that is not the case, Jamil Zaki, a Stanford psychologist and director of its Social Neuroscience Laboratory, states, “If you wanted to design a system to break empathy, you could scarcely do better than the society we’ve created.” He believes that we are becoming more and more disengaged, citing the amount of time we spend online and in crowded cities filled with people with whom we will never speak. And he says that the more disengaged we are the less empathic we become.
Researchers at the University of Michigan discovered that young adults in 1979 were 75% more likely to demonstrate concern and a motivation to help others than young adults in 2009. And it would seem that the bigger the metropolis, the more of an issue it is becoming.
My wife recently flew to another city during the 2020 Coronavirus. She observed that with everyone in the airport and on the plane wearing masks, nobody engaged with anyone. And when she did need to interact with an individual, she found many of them to be rude. The world and national events of 2020 seem to simply add another layer to our already disengaging culture.
But we have the ability to change that trend – beginning with our own part of the world. The ways in which we engage our family, friends, and co-workers are in our control. I am reminded of the words of I Corinthians 13 when Paul writes, “Love is patient love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” Perhaps another way of saying some of that is – Love is kind. Let’s change our corner of the world today with kindness!