On empathy and moral relativism


I always try to inculcate moral relativism in the minds of my students. I want them to understand that “what I think” isn’t always tantamount to “what is right.” I want them to develop a sense of empathy for other truths by destroying their egocentric view of the world. Every human being has a story and their experiences are equally valid. They are not mere soulless objects of our own perception.

“Act so as to treat people always as ends in themselves, never as mere means.” (Kant)

This is important because empathy allows us to chart a middle ground where all truths could co-exist or enrich each other, instead of imposing superiority of one over another which almost always leads to violence and aggression. The world thrives on a fertile middle ground, not on the edge of a placid ocean nor in the midst of an arid desert.

That said, my freedom-loving nature influences my propensity for liberal thinking. While my worldview seems to justify the pluralism of truths, my gut tells me that the world is better off striving for the universality of liberal values such as freedom and equality. But I am also aware that this is a torturous process that must occur organically within every nation; just as how the French and their passion for self-determination got them to their beautiful concept of laïcité or French secularism.

Organic experiences are better than imposed, artificial ones because they seep into our national soul… refusing to ever be forgotten…