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Sometimes people determine the value of others based on what they perceive those people as doing for them. Therefore, someone who they see as "not doing anything for them" is considered "worthless". Such a way of thinking is callous at best, and completely sociopathic at worst.
We are incapable of effectively communicating (and by extention, working together) if we have not developed a genuine sense of empathy. Empathy is not a lack of emotional boundaries that feels the pain of others, but is taking the time to fully understand their experience. If we are overwhelmed by them, then we cannot extend our strength to them in a way where they can find strength within themselves.
People are often indifferent to the suffering of people who are "strangers" to them. Unnamed and unknown, it may seem as if they have no point of reference for caring. But it is reasonable to assume that everyone is human and has their own experiences that are as valuable to them as our own experiences are to ourselves, however much those experiences differ from one another.
We can feel vulnerable when we open our hearts wide in this manner, but once apathy is accepted as "necessary" to survival, civilization starts to crumble. I voluntarily lay down my shields at the feet of those around me. Why should I be afraid of another human being? All are worthy of respect on some level, including myself.
• Uyama Hiroto - Yin & Yang
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