Empathy To Defeat Civil Unrest
by Alex Garrett
Originally published on Medium! (https://medium.com/@AlexGInNYC/empathy-to-defeat-civil-unrest-7cde94742d2b)
This weekend started with a rattling sensation in my bones. Did you feel it too? Did you feel shaking after watching anarchy on our TV screens? You are not alone!
The question only became, what to do with rattling sensation. Having never thought of myself as empathic, it became clear I needed to channel the energy. That channeling has lasted all through the weekend. Through podcasting and Facebook and trying to find some hope out of these anarchist moments, I channeled my way through this entire weekend. (https://www.spreaker.com/user/agsportshournyc/oh-restoring-the-humanity)
I surely hope you did too! If you are an empath, I have this idea for you. Start sharing what you feel, it’s the only way to move us forward. It might also be cathartic for you, to just put your thoughts out there in some fashion. Empaths also tend to have a voice of reason, I experience that daily in my own home with my parents. My friend, Danny , also has expressed his empathic feelings to me and I love that he’s working through it often! My friend, Keenan, also divulged to me this weekend he is empathic! All four of them are my saving grace during this tumult of a quarantine time.
Empathy could inevitably be the whole country’s voice of reason right now. POTUS has finally come around to speaking out against this killing of George Floyd and the subsequent riots. Ultimately, it is up to us to repair relationships within communities. Empaths could be that repair mechanism. All they have to do is speak up. We can start by saying we understand the pain of being bullied. While we can’t put ourselves in the shoes of victims of police brutality, just writing our feelings could heal. Saying we the people also view the cops as humans and that not all of them are bad is the strongest thing we could do.
Have you ever felt the world shake your body so much and yet could not find a way to express it? Or ashamed to embrace empathy ? Now is not the time to be ashamed! Now is the time to share your feelings because it will show others, ‘I’m not the only one’.
Why do I also call on empaths? They , or maybe I can say we, have this creative streak that could put a message across to change an entire mind and heart. My step-dad , Victor Furhman, interviews on this very basis of empathy on his podcast every week on ‘Destination Unlimited’ through OM Times Radio. (https://omtimes.com/iom/shows/destination-unlimited/) I asked my friend Danny if empaths can truly be the voice of reason here, and he noted, “for sure empaths can be the voice of reason! Not only do we listen to both sides without judgment, we feel what both sides feel.”
To be candid, I always thought that the term ‘police brutality’ painted a broad brush of all cops. In talking with those who are always fighting these battles, it hit me hard that truly that term is only meant for actual cases of brutality. When we make that distinction, when we credit people for making that distinction, we move forward. We move forward because the feeling of division can be lifted when we understand those who protest, don’t hate ALL cops, just the the bad cops. In this way, I’ve felt the conversation even deeper and a much more appreciation for the peaceful protesters, not the rioters, who are tired of what is going on.
Empaths also have done amazing works. From Rousseau to Kant, the Enlightenment writers changed everything about the way we think and act. The ends justifying the means is always a hot philosophical topic. With the anarchy on our streets, the ‘reason’able people know the means of rioting for the issue of select cases where there is police brutality and government enforcement are not justified for eradicating ongoing problems our country faces. Empaths truly are struggling through this.
Why? Because they have this love of life and people, that they don’t want to see the suffering continue. Again, we cannot put ourselves in shoes of others, but monitoring our reactions to the tragedies on our screen are just as important! To ease struggles, I highly encourage writing down the feelings you have in that moment. It would be helpful to others, I believe, and it could change the narrative. of the bigger picture.
I don’t know how or why, but Immanuel Kant came to mind. His main purpose in his philosophy was to give readers an idea of ‘Categorical Imperative’. This quote stands out to me from Kant, “Act that your principle of action might safely be made a law for the whole world.” (https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/immanuel_kant_152161) Are we truly safe when places are burned? When projectiles are thrown at cops? Or even when cop cars drive into protesters? That isn’t safe either!
I highly recommend the Dream Corps’ push to recognize Empathy. In fact they have #cut50 which is part of ‘Day of Empathy’ . https://www.thedreamcorps.org/our-programs/cut50/campaigns/day-of-empathy/)
So, empaths, if you feel stigmatized or feel ashamed to embrace that energy, this is the time to write your thoughts down. We could be the next ‘Age of Reason’!