This question is not specifically magick related but there are very smart people on this forum that actually understand science and human psychology so I thought I’d ask this question here.
I know some people don’t feel sympathy for others because they have trained themselves to be that way because they feel that only their needs matter, or possibly a parent has spoiled that person into thinking the world revolves around them, but what about someone that has never been able to feel sympathy at all?
Some behaviors are developed or taught to us by observing family and friends in their daily life, while other behaviors are engrained in our DNA like the fight or flight response which acts as a safety mechanism for us, or compassion which allows us to interact with others in an understanding way to develop and maintain relationships since the human mind (under normal circumstances) craves attention, love, and meaningful relationships.
Do you think sympathy and compassion are traits we are born with that can be altered over time given the person’s life experiences, or do you think it’s a trait that must be learned and those who are shown little to no compassion from a very young age will never learn compassion themselves because they have not been exposed to it enough to feel or understand it?
I am asking here because asking this question to sheep minded individuals gets me nowhere, and their answers are always ‘that person is just being selfish and should be ashamed of themsevles’. Those types of people don’t seem to take into account a person’s individual experiences that may recondition them over the years, while magicians are generally able to understand both sides of an argument.
Sometimes it seems as if compassion and sympathy are learned while other times it seems encoded in our DNA. For example, you have a person that is very friendly, sharing, and caring as a child and suddenly their mom dies, their dad abandons them, they end up with an abusive husband and end up turning bitter and have no sympathy for anyone else because most people cannot understand what they are going thru. In that situation, their sudden lack of caring seems self-taught.
Another example, you can have a person who was born in a very poor family, for christmas if they get any gifts at all it’s usually just one or two used items from the flea market, their parents never had enough money to pay for class field trips, and they lived on food stamps and clothing vouchers, and constantly watched their friends have things they could never have but only dream of, yet that person is as pleasant and caring as could be and would give you their only shoes if they felt you needed them more, they don’t have a jealous bone in their body. In that case, their compassion would seem genetic because no matter how bad their life is, they still love the world and everyone in it.
So what do you think?