Arielle Fischer, features editor

It’s no secret that human beings are complex creatures. From the way we move, live, learn, interact and think, there are no limits to how individual we are. However, one thing in particular sets humans far apart from other organisms: emotions. 

Although some scientific evidence proves animals go through grief, spite and joy like us, there are no other known organisms that have deeply personalized and complicated feelings in the same manner humans do. The world around us, the people we let influence our behavior, our privileges in society and our position in the financial realm all shape how we think and why we think that way. No two people hold the same mindsets about issues or possess the same thoughts, and most of our emotions are dependent on prior experiences too. Over the years though, one emotion has stood out to me as I’ve grown to understand it myself. I have found empathy, or the lack thereof, to be a surprisingly interesting concept. 

People are notoriously selfish creatures by nature. I believe that, subconsciously, we want what is best for us and don’t like to accept anything that does not meet our standards or lies outside of our comfort zone. In this self-centered world, we find ourselves prioritizing our well-being and emotions above other people’s, which forms apathy and greed, but not in the ways one may think. 

We are taught from a young age that the world is ours from the get-go, all we have to do is seize the moment and live as free as we can. But when something hinders this, people resort back to the primitive ways of “my rights” and “my life” and “I want to do this and live this way.” But how is it that only “your life” takes priority when there are seven billion others existing with you? 

Those who lack empathy rarely see this notion, they refuse to view the world through any lens but their own. There are people going through the darkest points in their life every day, and not a soul could care less. I have found that, unfortunately, it takes someone enduring immense hardships to see that other people are going through hardships. In other words, it takes pain to see the pain in others. Empathy comes with trauma and tears, it is not something that can be bought or encouraged, it is self-learned. 

For example, this week Berry dropped the mandate on mask regulations. When the email was sent out, I overheard groups of partying students next door cheering and celebrating over the news. They even took to the hallway to shout slanderous words and poke fun at COVID-19, following soon after with celebratory posts on social media. 

I’m sure the 5 million people, at the time of this publication who’ve died from the virus would gladly celebrate with them if they could. 

Even more so, apathetic behavior, such as this, completely neglects those who’ve gone through the most difficult times in their lives. Some people lost close loved ones, while others, like my own mother, are still battling the brutal illness over a year after their COVID-19 diagnosis. 

It’s a sad fact, but often, people only care about something when it affects them personally. I’m guilty of this too- we all are. As I alluded to previously, empathy and kindness are not something we are born with, they are taught through life and the hardships that come with it. I suppose the only way to combat apathy is through time. Nevertheless, I’ve learned that the worst moments in people’s lives teach them to be the most respectful and empathetic to others. It is not impossible to be compassionate and considerate without facing hardships, but it is uncommon among people. I truly wish in this world for people to grow in love and empathy because humans are quite complex creatures, and the only thing holding us back from understanding and care is ourselves. 

Posted by Campus Carrier

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