First Contact and the Theory of Monetized Empathy – Richard J Tilley: Space Strategist and Ethicist
Wednesday, April 17, 2024

First Contact and the Theory of Monetized Empathy

What is more novel than First Contact? Perhaps it should not be considered such a grand introduction. There is the very real likelihood that any species that advanced and with the motivation to contact us would understand us, and approach us, in more anthropological terms. They might see it as appropriate to contact us within the barriers of who we reflect as being. While, yes, there is the argument that their own perspectives may shape and project how they perceive us, we must also consider an accurate diagnosis. We are a culture built on monetized empathy. Human rights do not exist unless there is a capitalist, politically motivated incentive. I do not agree with any popular or unpopular notion that pretend to understand or know just what segment of the world’s population is noble and goodhearted. I don’t think that can be measured accurately and if it were most would likely be surprised by the dominance of our truly exploitative and darker impulses. With that in mind, would a First Contact unfold as a curiosity?

We may wonder, why do they see us this way? They are treating us like we are inherently heartless. They approach us with such caution. Are they afraid of saying the wrong thing or are they just afraid of us? Given the reality of economic inequality and humanity’s refusal to intellectually entertain abolishing currency, we are left with the reality that we would be seen under this gaze. We are what we are. I am not saying there is not a healthy place for idealism in our collective cultures, but there is a big difference between idealism and deluding ourselves. We are dark creatures. We always have been. We think society has advanced, but for whom? And to what degree? And with what promptness? I have been giving some thought to what I call the theory of monetized empathy, which states that people are more likely to be oppressed by other people if they lack financial well-being. Intersectionality still applies. This takes nothing away from intersectionality. It does indicate that the voices heard at the lowest volume are those without the capital to warrant discussion by the upperclasses (plural, because there are many segments).

Under a constructive critical gaze humanity will most likely be seen an un-evolved sociologically. Furthermore, I think there is a great deal of work to do with Neo-Freudianism. Yes, many have sought out those waters, but the prevalence of social situationalism we find ourselves in should indicate more serious discussion, study, and writings. Most of what would come from that is not good. It would not reflect well for humanity. I return to a First Contact in which this species sees us, not how we see ourselves, but as we truly are. It is very difficult for many of even the most creative minds to understand humanity in terms in which we may not be “good.” We are not supposed to have a negative philosophy. Having spent a great deal of time studying violence, I myself have twirled between have higher expectations that I think we can achieve as well as seeing us as being incapable of rising to the moment. What that ultimately comes down to is how can culture shape us? Regionally and globally. One must remember that culture does not just shift with sudden movements.

Culture and the movement of our collective histories and intuitions is like gold panning. What is vital to understand with that comparison is that the best of what culture can do for us is not the discovered gold, but the shifting sands, grazing from this to that, leveling and overlapping itself as it makes progress. I have repeatedly stated a greatly reformed education system can get us there, but even that will require generations before we will be best equipped to handle First Contact under the best circumstances. Within the current confines of a capitalist global economy, First Contact would be near impossible achieve with strong positive outcomes.

[Header Image: Public Domain]