We live in a very empathetic age. Or rather an age in which empathy is regarded as a most desirable characteristic which is not quite the same thing. This leads me to ask, what is empathy? Is it the mark of an evolved human being or perhaps something else?
None of what I say here should be taken as implying that empathy is not, in the main, a good thing. To be able to think of others is clearly the sign of a civilised person. Nevertheless, I would suggest it is not always an unqualified good thing. It is not to be admired under all circumstances. In fact, too much empathy or misdirected empathy can be not only foolish but positively harmful.
Is empathy really about caring for others or is there something in it of an automatic response to the herd instinct of a social animal? Lack of empathy shows selfishness but some people do like to cosset their feelings and to feel good about themselves. Empathy in the modern world often seems to be as much about the empathiser as the empathised
Empathy is associated more with the feminine mentality than the masculine. The Western world has become increasingly feminised over the last few decades and this is inevitably leading to civilisational decline. If you don't believe that then study history. It is unlikely to be arrested as it is part of cyclical movement associated with the end of an age but we should still understand processes at work so we are not swept up by them and can remain aloof inwardly.
One reason for the decline alluded to is that the feminine approach favours empathy over truth and soft feelings over hard reality. It portrays what it thinks should be as what is and prefers the nice to the real. Now, it is certain that truth needs to be balanced by empathy (which I am not calling love because it isn't love) but truth must be the dominating principle. If truth is given a subsidiary position, or even sacrificed altogether as it tends to be now, we become separated from reality and the inevitable result is decline and disorder.
When a civilisation has been built up by male energy and creativity to a certain level of accomplishment there is then enough of a surplus or 'fat' in the system to allow women to escape their previous roles of wives and mothers and start to become more active members of the society. This might have individual benefits (though maybe not from a spiritual point of view) but it does not benefit the civilisation over the long run which becomes unbalanced in the sense that it loses a grounding in reality, reality requiring a harmonious interaction between masculine and feminine each fulfilling its proper role, a role indicated both by biology and spiritual insight for the two are both grounded in the same ultimate reality of God. The society will become more empathetic and lose the firm strength it requires to preserve itself from inner decay and outer attack. In this sense, empathy is actually destructive. If it favours the short term and immediate to the deeper view then it is little more than a form of self-indulgence.
Empathy is a form of love but it is an immature form. It needs to develop into something that is rooted in an awareness of God and a recognition of his will for human beings. It is really just the secular version of a spiritual quality and, as such, can actually get in the way of deeper feeling if not outgrown.