An interesting piece from Canadian philosopher Adam Morton. It is sensitively written and thought provoking. Like much philosophy it is not focussed on what to do or how to do it, but rather why do it – in this case; why approach human interactions with compassion and care:
Our ability to treat one another well, or even decently, depends on our capacities to imagine, simulate, sympathize, empathize, and intuit other people. These are a wide array of different, similar, and overlapping, capacities, essential to human social life. I shall lump them all together as imagining (but see). We imagine what it is like for one another, and we act accordingly.
[But] There are important things about other people that we are not good at imagining. The kinds of damage I have been mentioning are examples, and the ways that human cultures have misunderstood them is testimony to our blindness on these topics. But there are many others: depression, phobias, anxiety, neurological damage.
…damage is hard to imagine. For much damage does not consist in pain and is not reflected in a person’s conscious life or the social sense of their acquaintances. If this is right there is a very important project of understanding and dealing with these things better than we do. It requires the combined attention of philosophers — both philosophers of mind and moral philosophers — psychologists — both developmental and clinical psychologists — and social thinkers. It also requires an openness to tinkering with deeply ingrained ideas that regulate our treatment of one another. That is quite demanding; but the stakes are high.