The Unlearning Of Empathy

Not my kitten, but apparently my problem

We have a friend who has 27 cats and a special account at the fish market and the sand market and that's who my daughter wants to be when she grows up. She wants to start something called a 'cat farm' which I've told her is not a thing, and also not desirable. She will adopt any cat she sees and now she's adopted a pregnant cat who has had kittens in our neighborhood. So now I have four (more) cats. At least they stay next door, with the chickens.

Yesterday one of these kittens—little Lyro, AKA Scoundrel—had some sort of eye infection and my daughter started bawling and yelling at the chickens for pecking him (they didn't). To me, this is another annoyance, but for her, it's very emotional. She really feels for the kitten. She has a deep sense of empathy. Children are born this way but, as adults, we're educated out of it.

This morning I chased the little bastard around to apply eye drops and then refreshed the cats' water. Every time I turn a tap I think about Gaza, where the taps have been turned off, on purpose. I think of that sniveling Keir Starmer saying ‘'Israel' has the right to defend herself’ by cutting off food and water to an entire human population. Something we wouldn't even do to street cats. What a world we live in.


The vet comes to give these creatures their first shots and I think about 'Israel' systematically destroying every hospital in Gaza, turning them into mass graves and torture centers. And then I think about all the adults defending this, or saying 'it's complicated'. It's really not. Children understand that you shouldn't kill children. Adults don't want to be killed. The golden rule is not that complicated. And if you are doing evil shit, you can understand getting RPG'd, ‘an eye for an eye’ is another classic. This is all just basic empathy, available to a child. Something the most 'advanced' people seem to have lost entirely.

The sheer wordcount rationalizing this body count is revolting. People write essays and essays about why they're assholes. Liberals are really trying to attain the Zionist Zen state of being completely useless to everyone but the powerful, who get to carry on in the moral void. They make it out to be so ancient and difficult but it's really not. You can literally open any children's book and get the basic logic which is be nice to people. ‘But Hamas!’ the fuckwits will say, expecting you to shit your brains out upon hearing Arabic, like a Pavlovian war dog. ‘What about them?’

Hamas are just the orphans 'Israel' didn't kill, defending the next generation, with great discipline. Children's stories also have people fighting against great evil. They're called heroes. That's what Hamas are in this situation (shoutout Palestinian Islamic Jihad, PFLP, Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, and the whole Axis of Resistance). It's really not complicated. On one side you have the White Empire, which has been on the wrong side of everybody for centuries, now burying families alive in Palestine. On the other side you have guys in tracky bottoms and homemade weapons, trying to bring a better future alive. I'm simplifying because it's simple. Hamas are the good guys.


My kids listen to stories at night and the heroes are always the poor, the down-trodden, who remain kind and try to help their people through it all. The bad guys are the landlords, the rulers, who hoard and steal and hurt despite having more than enough. But then what are my stories, as an adult? Everything in the grown-up press lionizes landlords, rulers, and glorifies hoarding, stealing, and hurting as the basis of our very economy and social system. The poor are failures, the down-trodden deserve it, and kindness is folly. These are very serious opinions from very serious people. We complicate what is simple and call ourselves sophisticated. It's just sophistry. We are the villains in our own children's stories. What have we become?

It saddens me because we are born helpless and the yet very sight of a baby makes us helpful. We have a great core compassion in us. As Mengzi said:

The reason why I say that all humans have hearts that are not unfeeling toward others is this. Suppose someone suddenly saw a child about to fall into a well: anyone in such a situation would have a feeling of alarm and compassion—not because one sought to get in good with the child’s parents, not because one wanted fame among one’s neighbors and friends, and not because one would dislike the sound of the child’s cries...

The feeling of compassion is the sprout of benevolence. The feeling of disdain is the sprout of righteousness. The feeling of deference is the sprout of propriety. The feeling of approval and disapproval is the sprout of wisdom.

People having these four sprouts is like their having four limbs. To have these four sprouts, yet to claim that one is incapable (of virtue), is to steal from oneself. To say that one’s ruler is incapable is to steal from one’s ruler.

In general, having these four sprouts within oneself, if one knows to fill them all out, it will be like a fire starting up, a spring breaking through! If one can merely fill them out, they will be sufficient to care for all within the Four Seas. If one merely fails to fill them out, they will be insufficient to serve one’s parents.

This is what Mengzi called the 'sprouts of goodness,' or what I call the 'weeds of not being a dick.' You can see them everywhere. You can see the sprouts in children's kittens or children's stories, or a father chasing around a kitten he doesn't actually like or a grandfather reading 400 stories before bed and getting a foot in his face for his troubles. It's not that we lose this goodness. It is, like Master Meng said, stolen. The sprouts are cut, the earth is salted, and this is called growing up.

Serious adults tell us it's just not possible to practice basic decency, it's just not practical, and that this horrible thing we're witnessing is somehow fine. They'll say that we must debate this dumbassery endlessly, while everybody dies. And they'll say that you should not fight this monstrous violence with righteous violence, ignoring every hero in every story. What are we even doing here? We have deified the adult, discarded God, and now children are dying in front of us and we're supposed to think it's fine. It's not. If you literally put a child on the throne and left them alone, they couldn't rule this badly. Children are much closer to the golden rule, but the love of gold makes rulers blind.

Back To The Cat

I look at my daughter bawling because a kitten has a red eye and my first instinct is to tell her to grow up, but why? Grow up into what? I'm so practical and serious, but I'm fundamentally just lazy. I know what the right thing is, I just don't want to do it. Thank God there's a little tyrant at home to force me into shape sometimes. Alhamdulillah, we should all grow down.