I’m tired and frustrated and don’t have a whole lot to say.
I’ve seen a lot of stuff about the so-called empathy gap in recent times, which basically means that young people have been becoming less empathetic in the past thirty years or so and that the greatest reduction in empathy happened in the past ten years. There seems to be some confusion as to the causes. Some blame the self-esteem movement, some the rise of digital rather than face to face communication, one deluded person even blames casual sex among college students (In that case, empathy would have died out sometime in 1968).
The study and the whole discussion seemed very American-centric to me, nor was I convinced that there really was such a thing as a lack of empathy. Because I meet a lot of young people in my job and they didn’t all that different than my friends and me at that age. A bit less political perhaps, but otherwise pretty much the same. And definitely not unempathetic – you don’t have discussions about whether James Bond will go to heaven with unempathetic kids.
Today, however, I witnessed a casual disregard for human lives in my classroom that makes me wonder whether those researchers might not be on to something after all.
Sigh. Sometimes teaching can be damn depressing.