Mort Mather Author Writer Organic Farmer Philosopher Thinker Restauranteur

How to improve your life and save the world.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Thinking empathetically

Good news! I have heard the terms “thinking empathetically” and “empathetic thinking” twice in the past week in different contexts. I hope it becomes ubiquitous. If the previous administration had understood empathetic thinking and used it before invading Afghanistan and Iraq, over 4,000 Americans and an untold number of Iraqis would still be alive, and more than 30,000 young men and women would not have received physical injuries not to mention mental injuries.
Thinking empathetically before invading would have revealed that Osama bin Laden’s purpose was not to kill as many Americans as possible but to draw us into a war that could be played up as a religious war. We could have used the compassion and sympathy of people and countries around the world to root out terrorists quietly using our intelligence (and intelligence agencies). By declaring war and using our military might we have helped al Qaeda recruit more terrorists.
After the Christmas bomber some thoughtless people in congress pontificated that the president should be more forceful in his rhetoric. And what!? Scare terrorists?! Think empathetically. If you are hanging out in some al Qaeda training camp and you hear the President say something like, “This dastardly act will not go unpunished. We will track down terrorists wherever they are. We will…” I’m too lazy to look up the previous president’s remarks after any of the terrorist attacks since 911 or Tony Blair’s after the London bombings but they were leveled at the homeland populace and were the laughing stock in al Qaeda camps. Think about it, please. Put yourself in an al Qaeda camp. Imagine yourself sitting around a campfire listening to the President of the most powerful nation in the world spouting threats. As you listen, you are pumped up. “Oh, yeah, come and get us. Ha, ha, ha. How long you been looking for Osama? Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Oh, man, we are scared. We are so scared we may just strap on some more explosives and do God’s work.”
Belligerent rhetoric is ignorant, ignorant of what the enemy is thinking, ignorant of what they want, ignorant of how to deal with terrorism. Thought, empathetic thought, is smart.

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