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Is compassion genetic? - Page 2

post #31 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by BioMors View Post

Somebody with very little empathy, but who is very intelligent, will eventually come to the conclusion of compassion due to their inability to succumb to ignorance- just as somebody with great empathy but little intelligence will come to that conclusion.



Good point. It is some combination of empathy and intelligence that leads to compassionate action.



Also, there is the subject/object distinction. Placing yourself in the position of another is viewing another as a subject. Viewing the other as an it without placing yourself in their position is viewing another as an object. Omnivores view humans more as subjects rather than objects and other animals as objects rather than subjects. Serial killers view their victims as objects rather than subjects. Ethical veg*ns view all animals as subjects rather than objects.
post #32 of 71
>>Haha! Well indeed. Some people who call themselves scientists apparently think it. >>



But have there been any studies showing this to be the case? I would be very surprised, as we still have yet to truly discover how reasoning or abstraction is able to occur. What more, what knowledge we do have about abstraction involves somatasensory areas as much as "higher" frontal cortical regions.



Empathy is as much felt as thought. I would imagine that some sort of functional empathy would be likely to have developed in any social animal who is also capable of subjective experience. Of course, this is just idle speculation on my part...



>>Viewing the other as an it without placing yourself in their position is viewing another as an object.>>



of course, in relating to other humans, they have to be on some level objects to which we react. Otherwise, they wouldn't be "others"; they'd be part of the self. What subjecthood we're able to ascribe to them, I think, can be credited to imaginitive simulation.



I dont think ascribing subjecthood to, say, cats and dogs is much more radical than doing the same to other humans.



ebola

np: lamb of god
post #33 of 71
Thread Starter 
I like what the article suggests about the brain having a feature that "slips us into the shoes of another" more or less automatically. It means that, in some ways, we are not so alone and separate. Our minds are hard wired to experience being someone or something else. I know it's illusory, since there's no telepathy involved, but I still like it.







The Rev
post #34 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Rev View Post

I was smoking some vegetarian marijuana



I read that, and I started wondering, if you have vegetarian marijuana, what would non-vegetarian marijuana be?



It would have to be animal-based, right?



I started to picture a large mouse. Instead of fur, it was covered in tiny green marijuana leaves.



Then I started to see the mouse nibble on its own "fur".



Now I can't stop laughing.



And yes, I realise the following is entirely off topic.



*snicker* Cute little mouse. I wonder where I could find one, they'd make a good pet. *snicker*
post #35 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by das_nut View Post

I read that, and I started wondering, if you have vegetarian marijuana, what would non-vegetarian marijuana be?



It would have to be animal-based, right?



I started to picture a large mouse. Instead of fur, it was covered in tiny green marijuana leaves.



Then I started to see the mouse nibble on its own "fur".



Now I can't stop laughing.



And yes, I realise the following is entirely off topic.



*snicker* Cute little mouse. I wonder where I could find one, they'd make a good pet. *snicker*



Definitely need what nuts smokin'. Like, now. LOL. Ever see Cheech and Chong's Nice Dreams with the Lizard Weed? Heh heh.



Hmm. Better hide my copy before my sister arrives later.



Back to empathy...
post #36 of 71
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Rev View Post





I was just trying to make the point that perhaps ethical veg*ns are on an exteme end of the human empathy range, like geniuses are on the extreme end of the intelligence range. Thats all.



I really doubt it; there are any number of threads on these boards that pretty effectively counter that argument.



Someone who is compassionate about non-humans may not be particularly compassionate towards humans. Someone who is extremely compassionate toward one category of humans may not be compassionate toward other categories.
post #37 of 71
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ebola View Post

Well, I'd imagine that, like most any behavioral or cognitive quality, compassion is multiply determined by genes, extra-genetic biology, and environment. Variability among individuals is likely partially explained via genetic factors.



On the other hand, there is likely a relatively high "compassion-floor" required to be a functioning social being. I dont think that mass-rejection of vegetariainsim is due to genetic variance. Rather, we are immersed in a culture that does not sanction empathy with animals we eat. We are the exceptions to the rule, driven out of religion or pathological need for logical consistency, etc.



and...I'm pretty skeptical as to whether we're reallly smarter.





ebola



Agreed.
post #38 of 71
To some extent. My bf's dad's lack of empathy is practically pathological. I've discussed this before on the boards here. He's not malicious, he just doesn't seem to be able to do anything that is ultimately not in his own self-interest, which makes him pretty difficult to be around. I'm pretty sure he's wired to be this way, that he can't help it. Something just seems wrong with his brain chemistry and I'm pretty convinced he has Narcissistic Personality Disorder.



I think it's somehow physiological, but is it genetic? I don't know, but my bf is pretty damn empathetic. He's very sensitive to my feelings and the feelings of his family members. He worries about the feral kitty colony in his neighborhood and does whatever he can to help them. He 's concerned about suffering in the world. He's not a veg, but he certainly is more compassionate than many veg people I've encountered in life and on these boards.



Is he like this due to genetics? It doesn't seem that way since his dad is not this way at all, and while his mom is fairly nice, she's also pretty self-centered in some ways. Is he like this because his compassion is a reaction to the lack of compassion he saw in his father and to a lesser extent in his mother? I don't know. I think things like compassion and empathy like any other personality trait are too complex to be explained by either nature or nurture. It's always a complex mix and always to some extent a mystery...
post #39 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Rev View Post

I had this weird idea the other night when I was smoking some vegetarian marijuana, and it goes something like this:



You don't really see compassion in the wild. People are really the only ones who show much compassion. Although I've seen dogs concerned for each other, etc., it's more about empathy than acting compassionately. My dog, for example, has gotten upset when one of our other dogs has gotten hurt, but will then turn around and try to hog the food to display dominance.



Anyway, I started wondering if the development of the empathy which leads to compassion isn't some sort of genetic anomaly past a certain point (like being extremely tall, or having a really high sensitivity to certain allergens, etc.). We all feel a bit of it, but some feel it more than others.



The reason I started to think this is because of a few related facts:



1) Vegetarians/Vegans tend to be more intellectual and intelligent than the average person. I know I sound like I'm tooting my own horn here, but you don't have too many people advocating veg*nism who aren't pretty sharp. Just look at the list of famous veg*ns, and advocates of veg*nism, and you'll see what I mean.



2) It seems like, no matter what you tell some people, they just don't make the connection. Everyone knows meat comes from slaughtered animals, yet many don't care at all, and most of those who do make rationalizations like, "It's mean, but it just tastes sooo good."



I wonder then if empathy (and the compassionate acts it compels) aren't like intelligence and other sensitivities like creativity, musical ability, etc., and has some kind of genetic link. It would explain why some people just can't be taught to feel more compassionate.



Ideas?







The Rev



Talk about generalizations!! Yup just what the crowd here likes, black and white thinking.



Perhaps there is a potential for compassion through our genetic programing and even then just how heritable is the trait to begin with? No one will ever know with all the outside factors involved.



So define compassion then. How about the "sister" working at an orphanage in some war torn country trying desperately to ease the suffering of the young children that are in her care? She gotta be a very compassionate person! Oh but she eats meat so she must not be compassionate! Oh wait a minute, maybe she's just ignorant! Yes that's it. She doesn't understand about factory farming. Oh but wait again, she killed that chicken from the pen out back the other day to eat. Yup she's definitely not compassionate.



So really then, when you discuss the topic of compassion, you are actually refering to someone having to have the exact same outlook as you do for compassion. So the veggie that kills the spider that's inhabiting his/her tub is obviously a less compassionate person that you are because you would have freed it into the outside cold of winter. Ha! "The world as it should be" according to The Rev.

This just seems like another thread for the who's who of veggies to feel better about themselves than the rest of the world.



Jeffer
post #40 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffer View Post

This just seems like another thread for the who's who of veggies to feel better about themselves than the rest of the world.



Who needs a thread to do that?
post #41 of 71
Thread Starter 
Hey, we're not only more compassionate, we're more intelligent.
post #42 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by mouse View Post

Hey, we're not only more compassionate, we're more intelligent.



Some of you are likely.



Jeffer
post #43 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurmudgeon View Post

Who needs a thread to do that?



Exactly, Kurm. We don't need approval from omnivores to know that we are making the moral and ethical choice as vegans.
post #44 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffer View Post

Talk about generalizations!! Yup just what the crowd here likes, black and white thinking.



But it's ok for you to generalize about the whole board?
post #45 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Rev View Post


The reason I started to think this is because of a few related facts:



1) Vegetarians/Vegans tend to be more intellectual and intelligent than the average person. I know I sound like I'm tooting my own horn here, but you don't have too many people advocating veg*nism who aren't pretty sharp. Just look at the list of famous veg*ns, and advocates of veg*nism, and you'll see what I mean.





Not a fact. Not even close. I have run into enough dumb asses here and Peta@ to know otherwise. Granted, a lot of veg*ns seem to think they are more intelligent than average, but then again, most stupid people don't think they are stupid.
post #46 of 71
I wouldnt say intelligent but possibly more philosophical. A healthy diet will produce a clear mind, but that doesnt necessarily mean vegetarian.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Tame View Post

Not a fact. Not even close. I have run into enough dumb asses here and Peta@ to know otherwise. Granted, a lot of veg*ns seem to think they are more intelligent than average, but then again, most stupid people don't think they are stupid.
post #47 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tame View Post

Not a fact. Not even close. I have run into enough dumb asses here and Peta@ to know otherwise.



Pretty predictable lot, really. After awhile there's few surprises. When I first heard about the folks getting murdered this weekend I wondered how long it would be before the usual suspects here were dancing on their graves.



And nope, I wasn't disappointed. More compassionate my
post #48 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Red View Post

I wasn't disappointed.



It's a great feeling, too, ain't it! I certainly haven't been disappointed by the "in defense of omnivores/hunters" comments, nor the ones taking shots at the veg*ns on VB in general.
post #49 of 71
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tame View Post

but then again, most stupid people don't think they are stupid.



True so true.
post #50 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by astro View Post

But it's ok for you to generalize about the whole board?



Yes I should have said "many of the crowd here likes..."

But it's true though, ain't it?



Jeffer
post #51 of 71
Thread Starter 
Is this yet another thread turning ugly? whats up with that lately?
post #52 of 71
It's that "time of the month" for VB. We all seem to be on the same hormonal cycle.
post #53 of 71
Thread Starter 
spread the love



me? I luv the Rev.



eta: Oh, and I can't forget I luv you too Tame
post #54 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by MsRuthieB View Post

Is this yet another thread turning ugly? whats up with that lately?



But you can't see my face in my avatar can you?



Jeffer
post #55 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurm View Post

It's a great feeling, too, ain't it!

Not really. I don't get all that much comfort out of knowing there are people here that celebrate these kinds of tragedies as a way to validate themselves.
post #56 of 71
Thread Starter 
nope Jeffer. You can see mine though.



Ghetto Fab Baby!
post #57 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Red View Post

Not really. I don't get all that much comfort out of knowing there are people here that celebrate these kinds of tragedies as a way to validate themselves.



Oooo, now if you could only open your mind and see this sort of thing regarding non-humans from a veg*n/AR point of view..... woah, too much to ask? Oh well.
post #58 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurmudgeon View Post

Oooo, now if you could only open your mind and see this sort of thing regarding non-humans from a veg*n/AR point of view..... woah, too much to ask? Oh well.



aaaa, but I figure if this is the kind of thing you get off on, there's nothing much to gain from the experience. I'll just have to wait a little longer to find true salvation.
post #59 of 71
I don't think I am more compassionate than anyone in particular because I am disgusted by meat. I think my choice is an aesthetic one. You could use the word "moral" if you felt like it but "morals" are really just a set of aesthetics in my book. I freely dance on the graves of people who point guns at things for no good reason. I'm not a nice person, even if I don't like to eat turkeys. I don't know any turkeys. I'm sure I don't want to eat any. I don't know any Iraqis. I'm sure I don't want to eat any of them either. I'm not even sure I want to know any turkeys or Iraqis for that matter. Compassionate? Um. Not very. Aesthetically challenged by the notion of eating dead things that suffered in twisting pain? Oh yeah. I'll give that a miss. Not much in the case of hunters, though. Sorry for any of you vegetarian hunters out there.



Here's an example.



Some Dolphins saved some humans a few weeks back. The last line of the story is telling:



Quote:
They have no doubt that the dolphins acted deliberately to protect them.



Researchers have said they are not surprised. A marine biologist insisted that dolphins, which are considered to be one of the most intelligent mammals, "like to help the helpless".



FYI: Dolphins *gasp* eat fish! So they like to help the helpless...above a certain size, apparently. Those heartless mammal-centric dolphins! Dancing on the graves of all those fishes. Go get 'em Red!



post #60 of 71
Quote:
I think my choice is an aesthetic one.

The aesthetics argument is two doors down and on your right. > > >
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