Empathy is of utmost importance. Even the most ssuperficial people are what their "inside" is, and what you see is only a projection of what's going on inside. People are not cinderblocks even thugh some of them, such as the Headmaster of the preparetory school I attended, are "thick as a brick". Such a person is despite everthing not a brick and he (she, oher) has something going on "inside them" which is what determines what you sensorially (visually, auditorily, etc.) perceive of them. If you don't really unnderstand that, you do not know what you are dealing with: it could be a smiling face that tells lies, or a wolf in sheep's clothing, who knows what → even a good soul who's very grumpy. (Anybody people who are always cheerful don't like might not be all bad.)
Sympathy is a whole different matter. You are sympathetic to persons you like whom you feel are being treated unfairly in their life. "Sam is a very good worker; he didn't linear connection between empathy and sympathy. The more I learn bout somebody who is hurting me, the more I may dislike them beause I see ever more deeply how bad they are. So empathy increases sympathy fo sympathetic persons, and empathy increases loathing for bad persons. "Gee, she (he, other) looks nice enough, but on the inside!"
Therefore! It is extremely important to have empathy for your enemies. Ideally, by understanding how they function you can manipulate their perception and then blindside them to neutralize the threat they pose to you. This is not always possible but it is the gold standard: let your enemy destroy himself.
Let me cite one very clear example: circumcision. When I was young, I did not know anything had been done to me. As a young adult, chafing on the circumcision scar was upleasant but I jus acceepted that was how life was.
"What men are willing to put up with depends on what they are able to look forward to." (Arnold Hauser)
Eventually I learned something had been taken away from me before I had a say in the mat[t]er. But without more information this did not change much. Over time I collected information. (I tend to remember things that people say that seem odd to me. Everything my parents and school teachers told me, if it was not wrong per se, was problby not right for me because they seemed to have no understanding of nor interest in trying to understand me: occasional sympathy for aperson they ideated I was but was not, but never empathy for me.) Somebody said that uncircumcised men had less need for something I forget now, but essentially it was strikingly stimulating images or fetishes or something like that to aid in their arousal (since they did not have a foreskin that must have helped somehow). Interesting.
Then I encounter in a book that some famous Medieval celebrity whose name was Maimonides said that circumcision was good because it lessened lust in boys. Lessened lust? Why should that be desir-able(sic!?
I kept accumulating information, all the time (entirely inapprporiate dead metaphne here:) fleshing put more and more what might have been going on in the minds of the people who did circumcision. And the more I imagined the more I dislikesd what I imagined they were. Without knowledge, I would not have had the depth of appreciatpon ("appreciation" in a disgnostic not honorific sense!) of what they were and what they had done to me and what the larger surround in which they lived, moved and had their being must have been like to have produced them. The greater the empathy, the greater the disgust (I never had sympathy for them, except for my benighted parents). "Oh, I see whre you are coming from, and I do not like it."
One of the worst itances was an essay I found written by a physician who said that one of the reasons for circumcising boys was that if it ws not done the feelings of some of their [adult] relatives might be hurt nd tht would be very bad for them. So this physician whould sacrifice a person's material prospects for joy in their body and in their life to "sentiments" of unenlightened adults? He cared more about superstitious people's being a peace with their preudices than a young person's having a full life? "Got it. I do not agree." He had recently died so I could not "give m=him a piece of my mind" but he inspired me to want to offend such benighted adults -- adolts -- whereas before I had just thought they were not worth taking notice of. If he took notice of them to protect their sentimenal benightedness, that made me want to expose them to more light and see them squirm: preferably in front of him. Not what he had in mind, the unindicted criminal!
Another aspect of this particular problem: Surely if they know about it many jews are opposed to female genital mutilation which is sometimes euphemistially called "female circumcision". "We don't do that!" But they do not look at themselves and ask whether a lesser mutilation is not still a mutilation, and especially the analogy that both surgeries are medically unnecessarily done to the person without their informed consent. Whether, again to cite Mr Maimonides, a lessening of lust is good just because it is not a total destruction of the person's ability to "come". Might some people who believe that cutting out girls' external gnitalia "perfects nature" see us as improving on nature so aren't we are both doing the same, especially here the secular circumcisers who don't even have the God excuse but only ideations like not wanting Junior to look different.
Empathizing with the enemy may show us bad things about our own folkways, not for us to agree with our adversaries' agendas, but to show us where we need to clean our own house irrespective of what they do or do not do except for pointing out where we are wrong. Empathizing with the enemy may make us less sympathetic to ourselves. (Presumably we can fix ourselves easier than we can fix our adversaries or anybody else for that matter.)
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I hope I have meda my point here: Empathy does not imply sympathy. Know your enemy. Maybe you will find out he really is a potential friend or maybe you will understand more clearly and deeply how bad he (she, other) is for you.As for circumcision, the jews need a better God.