(sparked by a comment in raccoon's last thread) Do you feel media sources such as tv and the internet have caused you to become desensitized to some extent to the sufferings of others? Also violence via video games and movies? Does such fictional violence affect our ability to sympathize with those who experience real violence - for example, the victims of random fatal stabbings? Wouldn't these things be much more shocking - and therefore (typically) elicit a much stronger empathetic reaction - if we weren't repeatedly made aware of how common they are through the media? If they weren't exploited regularly by artists wanting to create a good story? If we as a society were more ignorant of them, would we care more? For myself I doubt I'm as sensitive to things such as car accidents as I probably would be if I didn't hear about them all the time on the news and in newspapers, if they weren't common elements in books and movies. And having known several people who have actually died from car accidents, it's easy to relegate these kinds of tragedies to the category of "things that just sometimes happen", quite like natural disasters. Except they are not natural disasters; car accidents technically never have to happen, we can reasonably prevent most causes of them. Same goes for many other forms of violence, for example, bombings in reaction to political instability. Does our complacency lead us to accept things that we'd otherwise be motivated to change and improve? Is the constant media exposure to disasters causing us to become complacent? And the photo in the last thread (from which this thread was spawned ) Did you have a similar reaction to Raccoon Love - that you could not stop crying? Or were you like me, you felt some pang of sympathy, but that it was quickly forgotten and disregarded in terms of importance? After all, you don't know the boy in the picture, he's not your son, brother, friend, nephew, he is a total stranger to you, born to circumstances he could not control and dead to the same. And as we all know through media reports, there are children dying all over the world and especially in impoverished underdeveloped Africa, so this boy was likely one of millions who have succumbed to hunger. Why should he be given sympathy, when others have not? I feel we are compromising our humanity by playing the numbers game - by looking at the odds and factoring in population sizes instead of considering what a single death actually means. It's like we can't care about people when there are too many people to care about, when there is too much tragedy going on at once. Our minds shut off, we go through life in soft cushiony bubble, dimly aware of the rampant destruction going on around us but not really allowing it to affect us - not allowing it to burst the false sense of security we've built in our heads by thinking it can never happen to us, or to people we love. I think if it happens to one person, that is enough of a tragedy that it should be made to never happen again. And if it can happen to one, it can happen to many, and the more we dismiss it as simply something that happens sometimes, the less we'll feel compelled to change it - and I think the media has a large part to play in this. Please share your thoughts.