I agree! believe the act of prediction defines any organism with a brain, including insects, animals, reptiles, etc. I’m working with a neuroscientist and we are exploring if the idea can also apply to plants, electrons, etc.
My empathy stance seems odd, I know. But it is in keeping with my idea if we use words and concepts spawned by thinkers who were completely immersed in and influenced by authoritarian principles of human organization, then we must question those ideas, and refine or reject as needed. Most all the underlying assumptions of our psychological theories were spawned during the early and mid 1900’s when authoritarianism was unquestioned.
In addition, emotions have never been clearly defined by psychologists. There are 90 definitions for the term emotions on the books, none of them scientifically verified or mutually agreed upon by psychologists. We are using their chaotic and distorted ideas about how emotions operate in us and on us.
If you are a human, you will have a variety of emotional responses to your experiences. Those emotional responses are as private, personal, and customized to your nervous system as your sex drive, your appetite, or your energy level. Physiologically, we cannot manipulate our emotions at will. They are spontaneous biological cues our brain sends out to help us manage context specific information in context specific ways. Furthermore, emotions don’t do anything. They simply accompany our predictions to help our brain and body respond to and manage internal and external information. Thoughts, emotions, movements, behaviors all work together to help our brains make predictions.
How can we help people make predictions about supporting those in need as opposed to ‘helping’ them have certain emotions at specific times and in specific proportions? I believe offering specific instructions for how to do so is sufficient. For example, instead of suggestion people become more empathetic to refugees I would describe how to access organizations assisting refugees. Or I would list specific activist organizations combatting climate change, etc.
For me, talking about ways to support others in need can be accomplished by giving straightforward, concrete suggestions for how to actively do so. Suggesting how to or not to emote is an idea we’ve inherited that violates our privacy to our own nervous system.
I have made the decision as a parent, educator, spouse, and friend interested in creating egalitarian ways of interacting, it is never my place to tell or suggest how someone should feel or not feel.
Thanks for your response!