There have been many ideas and accusations being thrown around because of the word “bigotry”. In my latest article about my stance on gay marriage, there have been a disappointing number of commenters who not only failed to understand what was being said, but also failed to even think about what was being said. It has occurred to me that the problem with many issues about discrimination is the simple notion of “moral myopia”. Also of note, this isn’t just about the issue of the LGBT community and same-sex marriage, either. This includes many aspects of society of the Philippines and beyond. So just what is moral myopia?
Well, to put it simply, it’s the idea that when something bad happens to you, it’s bad, but when it happens to someone else, it is not only good, it is to be desired. So really, we like to talk about equality and fairness but there are still so many of us who are probably firmly locked in a morally myopic mindset. We like to shout “bully” and “bigot” to others when the same accusation can be easily leveled at us. See, the problem with a lot of people today isn’t a lack of intelligence or sympathy, but a lack of empathy.
So what is empathy?
Empathy is just putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. It’s like you seeing someone and asking yourself: “What if that was me?” It’s different from sympathy in that it’s not about pitying the other person. It’s essentially just thinking how you would actually feel or react when something that happens to someone else happens to you.
Well, being a nursing graduate, I can tell you that empathy is very important, not just for hospital staff but for people everywhere. The central core of empathy is the Golden Rule that just about every religion (and non-religion for that matter) espouses. “Don’t do to others what you don’t want others to do to you.” That’s mostly what it’s about.
What is even more painful is that moral myopia is all too often the most common cause of many problems in the Philippines. We get mad when we are ostracized or made fun of but we tend to do the same thing to others. We like to accuse others of racism when we ourselves tend to be fond of ridiculing people who have dark skin or do not conform to our standards of beauty. We like to point fingers at people who don’t agree with us and call them “bigots” when we ourselves are being bigots and bullies by forcing our ideas unto them.
We like to go on and on about personal freedom, tolerance and acceptance yet we deny this to others. What’s more painful is that while some of us might talk about promoting equality, we never really apply it in the way we see others. Many of us want to put an end to the hate yet they too hate others nonetheless and with a passion too. We make hate speeches at others but when similar speeches are aimed at us, we scream: “Discrimination!”
Listen people, if you don’t want to agree with my opinions, that’s fine with me. You’re welcome to your own opinion. Please don’t get it in your heads that everything you say or do is right.
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