The January 2023 Philosophy Book of the Month is Entanglement - Quantum and Otherwise by John K Danenbarger.

Helping a total stranger with pure sympathy; do we still see that?

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Sushan
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Helping a total stranger with pure sympathy; do we still see that?

Post by Sushan »

This topic is about the January 2023 Philosophy Book of the Month, Entanglement - Quantum and Otherwise by John K Danenbarger



Joe, a gay stripper, saved Beth, a prostitute, from dying from malnutrition, and treated and nourished her with his hard earned money. They had no connection in between, and Joe had no benefits by doing so. When Beth asked for a reason to treating her like that, all that Joe said was "I saw my mother die".

What do you think about Joe? Is he a real character or just a fictional one? Is this the good Samaritan? Do such people still exist?
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

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Re: Helping a total stranger with pure sympathy; do we still see that?

Post by JackDaydream »

Sushan wrote: January 2nd, 2023, 10:52 pm This topic is about the January 2023 Philosophy Book of the Month, Entanglement - Quantum and Otherwise by John K Danenbarger



Joe, a gay stripper, saved Beth, a prostitute, from dying from malnutrition, and treated and nourished her with his hard earned money. They had no connection in between, and Joe had no benefits by doing so. When Beth asked for a reason to treating her like that, all that Joe said was "I saw my mother die".

What do you think about Joe? Is he a real character or just a fictional one? Is this the good Samaritan? Do such people still exist?
The fictional scenario which you describe is one which makes sense and I have come across many living examples of such ones. It includes people with a genuine wish to help others based on their own living experience and witness of suffering. It is likely that it based on being moved by others' pain, such as Gautama Buddha's direct encounter with witnessing suffering of seeing death and sickness after he left his own protected life. This is the basis of compassion, also of Jesus Christ and Gandhi. It is an entirely different basis for ethics than theory alone.

The only query which I would have in your title question is the idea of sympathy, as opposed to empathy. That is because sympathy conjures up a distant approach to empathy, which is about feeling the pain of another on a personal level. Witnessing another's pain to the point of feeling it profoundly is the empathetic basis which motivates others in the most motivating sources of compassion based action.
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Re: Helping a total stranger with pure sympathy; do we still see that?

Post by Stoppelmann »

Sushan wrote: January 2nd, 2023, 10:52 pm This topic is about the January 2023 Philosophy Book of the Month, Entanglement - Quantum and Otherwise by John K Danenbarger

Joe, a gay stripper, saved Beth, a prostitute, from dying from malnutrition, and treated and nourished her with his hard earned money. They had no connection in between, and Joe had no benefits by doing so. When Beth asked for a reason to treating her like that, all that Joe said was "I saw my mother die".

What do you think about Joe? Is he a real character or just a fictional one? Is this the good Samaritan? Do such people still exist?
I think that this basic compassion is common when people face similar situations and feel a kind of affinity towards each other. Of course there are the opposite examples, but we all look for some kind of closeness, perhaps more so when we have lost our family, even if it is through their non-acceptance of our life style. It doesn’t have to be a stripper and prostitute, but if you find yourself as a minority amongst people who ignore you, any sympathy will do.

The issue of empathy arises in his saying that he saw his mother die, which made him receptive for signs that death is likely, especially if through suffering, in the prostitute. The odd thing about compassion is that we all feel it, but we let ourselves be ruled by what is acceptable in our circles. The story about the good samaritan is all about that, with the passers by unable to intervene because they had pressing issues and convention ruled that these were ruled out if they touched a wounded person.

That is why, against all expectations, pious people are often more selective about who they help than non-pious people.
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Re: Helping a total stranger with pure sympathy; do we still see that?

Post by Sushan »

JackDaydream wrote: January 3rd, 2023, 5:01 am
Sushan wrote: January 2nd, 2023, 10:52 pm This topic is about the January 2023 Philosophy Book of the Month, Entanglement - Quantum and Otherwise by John K Danenbarger



Joe, a gay stripper, saved Beth, a prostitute, from dying from malnutrition, and treated and nourished her with his hard earned money. They had no connection in between, and Joe had no benefits by doing so. When Beth asked for a reason to treating her like that, all that Joe said was "I saw my mother die".

What do you think about Joe? Is he a real character or just a fictional one? Is this the good Samaritan? Do such people still exist?
The fictional scenario which you describe is one which makes sense and I have come across many living examples of such ones. It includes people with a genuine wish to help others based on their own living experience and witness of suffering. It is likely that it based on being moved by others' pain, such as Gautama Buddha's direct encounter with witnessing suffering of seeing death and sickness after he left his own protected life. This is the basis of compassion, also of Jesus Christ and Gandhi. It is an entirely different basis for ethics than theory alone.

The only query which I would have in your title question is the idea of sympathy, as opposed to empathy. That is because sympathy conjures up a distant approach to empathy, which is about feeling the pain of another on a personal level. Witnessing another's pain to the point of feeling it profoundly is the empathetic basis which motivates others in the most motivating sources of compassion based action.
Maybe yes. But I doubt whether this extent of empathy (or sympathy) can be expected from anyone towards other human beings. If we think about this practically, Joe did not know about Beth, she could well have been a drug addict; she could have even stole his money and left at the moment that she gained some strength to be on her own feet; or she might have been just acting; If anything above were not going to happen, we still cannot fully trust total strangers. So I am quite doubtful whether anyone will do this much for a total stranger without caution.

I think empathy differs from sympathy by the context of situations. Sympathy is usually occurred when someone is in trouble. But the ability to be sad together in someone else's troubles and be happy together in someone else's happiness is empathy.
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Re: Helping a total stranger with pure sympathy; do we still see that?

Post by Sushan »

Stoppelmann wrote: January 3rd, 2023, 5:52 am
Sushan wrote: January 2nd, 2023, 10:52 pm This topic is about the January 2023 Philosophy Book of the Month, Entanglement - Quantum and Otherwise by John K Danenbarger

Joe, a gay stripper, saved Beth, a prostitute, from dying from malnutrition, and treated and nourished her with his hard earned money. They had no connection in between, and Joe had no benefits by doing so. When Beth asked for a reason to treating her like that, all that Joe said was "I saw my mother die".

What do you think about Joe? Is he a real character or just a fictional one? Is this the good Samaritan? Do such people still exist?
I think that this basic compassion is common when people face similar situations and feel a kind of affinity towards each other. Of course there are the opposite examples, but we all look for some kind of closeness, perhaps more so when we have lost our family, even if it is through their non-acceptance of our life style. It doesn’t have to be a stripper and prostitute, but if you find yourself as a minority amongst people who ignore you, any sympathy will do.

The issue of empathy arises in his saying that he saw his mother die, which made him receptive for signs that death is likely, especially if through suffering, in the prostitute. The odd thing about compassion is that we all feel it, but we let ourselves be ruled by what is acceptable in our circles. The story about the good samaritan is all about that, with the passers by unable to intervene because they had pressing issues and convention ruled that these were ruled out if they touched a wounded person.

That is why, against all expectations, pious people are often more selective about who they help than non-pious people.
You do have a point. But the conventional rules are not the only thing that prevents someone from helping another although he is compassionate to. Recently a set of cons were caught in my country who raised money for a surgery for a child with cancer. The scenario was true and the child was real. The only issue was that the child got no money at all, and her parents had no idea about or connection with the money raising. This is not a moral world anymore, and it is good to be cautious when helping others. The moment you let your guard down you are prone to get tricked and attacked.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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Re: Helping a total stranger with pure sympathy; do we still see that?

Post by Stoppelmann »

Sushan wrote: January 8th, 2023, 9:22 pm You do have a point. But the conventional rules are not the only thing that prevents someone from helping another although he is compassionate to. Recently a set of cons were caught in my country who raised money for a surgery for a child with cancer. The scenario was true and the child was real. The only issue was that the child got no money at all, and her parents had no idea about or connection with the money raising. This is not a moral world anymore, and it is good to be cautious when helping others. The moment you let your guard down you are prone to get tricked and attacked.
First: This idea that the world was ever “moral” is an illusion.

Second: Your example is not about helping someone, but about facilitating help, or helping by proxy, and seems to be the big problem. Of course there are scams, people who want your money, and sympathy is exploited all over the place, which is why you have to be aware of what you are doing, have a real sense of trustworthiness before engaging with people who claim to use your money wisely.

But none the less, compassion should be our common language, and on the grounds of knowing who to engage with, we should be ready to spontaneously help someone in need (firsthand). The chance of being exploited tells us about the society we live in, if we want to change that we have to risk being different and live the golden rule, even if others do not.
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Re: Helping a total stranger with pure sympathy; do we still see that?

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Stoppelmann wrote: January 9th, 2023, 12:19 am
Sushan wrote: January 8th, 2023, 9:22 pm You do have a point. But the conventional rules are not the only thing that prevents someone from helping another although he is compassionate to. Recently a set of cons were caught in my country who raised money for a surgery for a child with cancer. The scenario was true and the child was real. The only issue was that the child got no money at all, and her parents had no idea about or connection with the money raising. This is not a moral world anymore, and it is good to be cautious when helping others. The moment you let your guard down you are prone to get tricked and attacked.
First: This idea that the world was ever “moral” is an illusion.

Second: Your example is not about helping someone, but about facilitating help, or helping by proxy, and seems to be the big problem. Of course there are scams, people who want your money, and sympathy is exploited all over the place, which is why you have to be aware of what you are doing, have a real sense of trustworthiness before engaging with people who claim to use your money wisely.

But none the less, compassion should be our common language, and on the grounds of knowing who to engage with, we should be ready to spontaneously help someone in need (firsthand). The chance of being exploited tells us about the society we live in, if we want to change that we have to risk being different and live the golden rule, even if others do not.
I see some contradiction here. How can we be cautious and think twice before helping others to avoid being exploited, while being ready to spontaneously help someone who is in need at the same time? Should we do a research on the society that we live in and be in a decision on what to do beforehand? Or should we just choose helping others ignoring the possibility of being ignored because we are different from the common society and trying to swim against the waves?
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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Re: Helping a total stranger with pure sympathy; do we still see that?

Post by Stoppelmann »

Sushan wrote: January 13th, 2023, 4:37 pm
Stoppelmann wrote: January 9th, 2023, 12:19 am First: This idea that the world was ever “moral” is an illusion.

Second: Your example is not about helping someone, but about facilitating help, or helping by proxy, and seems to be the big problem. Of course there are scams, people who want your money, and sympathy is exploited all over the place, which is why you have to be aware of what you are doing, have a real sense of trustworthiness before engaging with people who claim to use your money wisely.

But none the less, compassion should be our common language, and on the grounds of knowing who to engage with, we should be ready to spontaneously help someone in need (firsthand). The chance of being exploited tells us about the society we live in, if we want to change that we have to risk being different and live the golden rule, even if others do not.
I see some contradiction here. How can we be cautious and think twice before helping others to avoid being exploited, while being ready to spontaneously help someone who is in need at the same time? Should we do a research on the society that we live in and be in a decision on what to do beforehand? Or should we just choose helping others ignoring the possibility of being ignored because we are different from the common society and trying to swim against the waves?
You do not see the difference between checking on the reliability of an organisation that wants money from me, and the spontaneous assistance that we can give people we meet, neighbours, even strangers, when we see them in dire straits?

Then I cannot help you!
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Re: Helping a total stranger with pure sympathy; do we still see that?

Post by Sushan »

Stoppelmann wrote: January 14th, 2023, 4:34 am
Sushan wrote: January 13th, 2023, 4:37 pm
Stoppelmann wrote: January 9th, 2023, 12:19 am First: This idea that the world was ever “moral” is an illusion.

Second: Your example is not about helping someone, but about facilitating help, or helping by proxy, and seems to be the big problem. Of course there are scams, people who want your money, and sympathy is exploited all over the place, which is why you have to be aware of what you are doing, have a real sense of trustworthiness before engaging with people who claim to use your money wisely.

But none the less, compassion should be our common language, and on the grounds of knowing who to engage with, we should be ready to spontaneously help someone in need (firsthand). The chance of being exploited tells us about the society we live in, if we want to change that we have to risk being different and live the golden rule, even if others do not.
I see some contradiction here. How can we be cautious and think twice before helping others to avoid being exploited, while being ready to spontaneously help someone who is in need at the same time? Should we do a research on the society that we live in and be in a decision on what to do beforehand? Or should we just choose helping others ignoring the possibility of being ignored because we are different from the common society and trying to swim against the waves?
You do not see the difference between checking on the reliability of an organisation that wants money from me, and the spontaneous assistance that we can give people we meet, neighbours, even strangers, when we see them in dire straits?

Then I cannot help you!
I may not have understood your previous opinion correctly, and I am sorry about that.

But I have a couple of issues regarding that.

1. You could have specifically spoken about organizations instead of singles

2. Organizations are not the only things that try to fool us. Even the individuals can do so. And their looks may say us that they are in dire distress. But the looks can fool us too.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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Re: Helping a total stranger with pure sympathy; do we still see that?

Post by Stoppelmann »

Sushan wrote: January 20th, 2023, 11:01 pm I may not have understood your previous opinion correctly, and I am sorry about that.

But I have a couple of issues regarding that.

1. You could have specifically spoken about organizations instead of singles

2. Organizations are not the only things that try to fool us. Even the individuals can do so. And their looks may say us that they are in dire distress. But the looks can fool us too.
I don't see the issue, I'm sorry. We can either help directly or by proxy, via organisations. There isn't many other options.

I'm not sure, but you sound like a disappointed person who has been fooled too often. However, the question we have to ask is whether we must be on the lookout because people are so bad, or because we are so gullible.
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Re: Helping a total stranger with pure sympathy; do we still see that?

Post by Belindi »

Sushan wrote: January 20th, 2023, 11:01 pm
Stoppelmann wrote: January 14th, 2023, 4:34 am
Sushan wrote: January 13th, 2023, 4:37 pm
Stoppelmann wrote: January 9th, 2023, 12:19 am First: This idea that the world was ever “moral” is an illusion.

Second: Your example is not about helping someone, but about facilitating help, or helping by proxy, and seems to be the big problem. Of course there are scams, people who want your money, and sympathy is exploited all over the place, which is why you have to be aware of what you are doing, have a real sense of trustworthiness before engaging with people who claim to use your money wisely.

But none the less, compassion should be our common language, and on the grounds of knowing who to engage with, we should be ready to spontaneously help someone in need (firsthand). The chance of being exploited tells us about the society we live in, if we want to change that we have to risk being different and live the golden rule, even if others do not.
I see some contradiction here. How can we be cautious and think twice before helping others to avoid being exploited, while being ready to spontaneously help someone who is in need at the same time? Should we do a research on the society that we live in and be in a decision on what to do beforehand? Or should we just choose helping others ignoring the possibility of being ignored because we are different from the common society and trying to swim against the waves?
You do not see the difference between checking on the reliability of an organisation that wants money from me, and the spontaneous assistance that we can give people we meet, neighbours, even strangers, when we see them in dire straits?

Then I cannot help you!
I may not have understood your previous opinion correctly, and I am sorry about that.

But I have a couple of issues regarding that.

1. You could have specifically spoken about organizations instead of singles

2. Organizations are not the only things that try to fool us. Even the individuals can do so. And their looks may say us that they are in dire distress. But the looks can fool us too.
Judging by what you have written on this topic, I think you confuse sympathy with empathy. Empathy is cognitive i.e. it's about learned knowledge of the other. Sympathy is feeling and you need not know anything at all about the other to feel sympathy and act from sympathy.
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Re: Helping a total stranger with pure sympathy; do we still see that?

Post by Webco1577 »

Maybe the inability to see such generous gestures in reality depends more upon where you live and how you interact with any others who live nearby you. You have only to be a part of rural or small town community to see instances of such sympathy and empathy expressed in actions that support those in need.
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Re: Helping a total stranger with pure sympathy; do we still see that?

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Stoppelmann wrote: January 21st, 2023, 7:20 am
Sushan wrote: January 20th, 2023, 11:01 pm I may not have understood your previous opinion correctly, and I am sorry about that.

But I have a couple of issues regarding that.

1. You could have specifically spoken about organizations instead of singles

2. Organizations are not the only things that try to fool us. Even the individuals can do so. And their looks may say us that they are in dire distress. But the looks can fool us too.
I don't see the issue, I'm sorry. We can either help directly or by proxy, via organisations. There isn't many other options.

I'm not sure, but you sound like a disappointed person who has been fooled too often. However, the question we have to ask is whether we must be on the lookout because people are so bad, or because we are so gullible.
We can help as well as fool people either directly or via proxy.

Yes, I am quite a disappointed person after facing a handful of occasions of being cheated to. I like helping others. But I do not like being exploited or abused. I am not sure people being bad or one's own self being gullible are two separate things or two sides of the same coin. We cannot change people, but we can change ourselves. I think being vigilant will lead to a less number of 'heart-breaking' revelations.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

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Re: Helping a total stranger with pure sympathy; do we still see that?

Post by Sushan »

Belindi wrote: January 21st, 2023, 8:39 am
Sushan wrote: January 20th, 2023, 11:01 pm
Stoppelmann wrote: January 14th, 2023, 4:34 am
Sushan wrote: January 13th, 2023, 4:37 pm

I see some contradiction here. How can we be cautious and think twice before helping others to avoid being exploited, while being ready to spontaneously help someone who is in need at the same time? Should we do a research on the society that we live in and be in a decision on what to do beforehand? Or should we just choose helping others ignoring the possibility of being ignored because we are different from the common society and trying to swim against the waves?
You do not see the difference between checking on the reliability of an organisation that wants money from me, and the spontaneous assistance that we can give people we meet, neighbours, even strangers, when we see them in dire straits?

Then I cannot help you!
I may not have understood your previous opinion correctly, and I am sorry about that.

But I have a couple of issues regarding that.

1. You could have specifically spoken about organizations instead of singles

2. Organizations are not the only things that try to fool us. Even the individuals can do so. And their looks may say us that they are in dire distress. But the looks can fool us too.
Judging by what you have written on this topic, I think you confuse sympathy with empathy. Empathy is cognitive i.e. it's about learned knowledge of the other. Sympathy is feeling and you need not know anything at all about the other to feel sympathy and act from sympathy.
It is easy to define the two words differently. But it is not that much easy to differentiate the two in practice. However much we try, it is difficult to think solely by brain (empathy) without the use of the heart (sympathy). The confusion occurs in any practical situation. We have to find the balance between the two. If you are too rational you will be seen as a cold hearted fellow, and if you are too sympathetic you will be seen as a fool.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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Re: Helping a total stranger with pure sympathy; do we still see that?

Post by Sushan »

Webco1577 wrote: January 22nd, 2023, 4:42 pm Maybe the inability to see such generous gestures in reality depends more upon where you live and how you interact with any others who live nearby you. You have only to be a part of rural or small town community to see instances of such sympathy and empathy expressed in actions that support those in need.
Well, it all depends on where you live and with whom you live. If someone choose to live alone, none of these will matter to him/her. But when someone is within a community these sort of problems will occur in various quantities. For some they will be more while to others they will be less. But I disagree regarding the comment on rural and small communities, as even in such communities you can find ungrateful cunning fellows who will exploit you with no mercy at the first instance that they get. When such things are possible even among the siblings, we cannot think about perfect communities even in rural areas.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

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