Sunday, December 14, 2014

Hypothetical Projected Emotions Only, Please…

Or, the ‘put yourself in their shoes’ ploy.

In modern discourse, political, social, religious, racial and cultural considerations are often framed by the (obviously leading) question, “how would you feel if you were them?”

…or some variation thereof.

This is, of course, a bizarre and esoteric form of existential bait switching.

It’s asking you, as you, to pretend you aren’t you: to assume you’re someone else…and then give their opinion.

You see, the “what if you were them,” question is not meant to engender empathy, but to exploit it. Which is why you’ll never hear it used thusly: “how would you feel if you were Julius Caesar triumphantly parading your hated and vanquished enemies?”

After all, the whole point of the “what if you were them” question is to make you associate exclusively with the enemies/victims.

Which is the salient point here, because another word for victim is loser.

And if there is one thing we can be sure of, it’s that the exploiters of empathy never ever want you to associate with the victors and the winners.

Why is that?