Apathy and empathy are both derived from the Greek word “pathos”, which means “feeling.” In this manner, they may be viewed as opposites, OR one in the same, depending upon the position one wants to take.
In this particular debate, Space Monkey Lawyer shall propose that one either feels or does NOT feel. (Let’s pretend we are arguing with YOU, little one.)
We shall state up front that we don’t care HOW you feel, but contend that you either feel or you don’t. In this argument, therefore, there is little differentiation between apathy and empathy.
Ah, but you may counter argue. “If one is apathetic, one does not feel,” you may quickly retort.
But is this really the case, Your Honor? (You are also the judge. Sorry. We forgot to tell you.)
Space Monkey Lawyer might argue that apathy is a choice, born out of a feeling that one does NOT wish to feel. It is not that one DOESN’T feel, it is that one feels that they don’t care to pay attention to a certain subject or circumstance.
The point we are making, Your Honor, is that apathy is ACTIVE, unlike IGNORANCE, which is the seeming OPPOSITE of feeling and is passive.
Apathy is the conscious detachment from feeling. Which is derived from feeling. Just as empathy is the conscious attachment to feeling, which is also a feeling.
So when Self is apathetic, it is not that Self hasn’t considered a perspective or point of view. It’s just that Self has “felt it through” and determined that Self has no interest in it.
Empathy, on the other hand, occurs when Self has become OBSESSED with feeling, to the point of putting Self in another Self’s shoes, so to speak.
Both apathy and empathy are self-serving. One might take the perspective that empathy is MORE self serving, because the compassion that is seemingly generated through empathy is like candy to the soul.
And to whom is empathy directed? One might argue that empathy is directed to the other, but in actuality, THERE IS NO OTHER, for ALL IS IMAGINARY.
There is only YOU, dear one, and the world you imagine as separate from you.
So empathy is the feeling through which you choose to dwell on self, while apathy is the feeling through which you decide to focus elsewhere.
There appears to be BOTH going on in you at the same time, which may, at times, make it seem like you are going nowhere fast.
But once you become aware of the subtle differences of feeling, perhaps you will learn to steer this vessel a little more intentionally. And we will not need to wear our seat belts. Case closed.
We are Space Monkey.