It is as if there were in the human consciousness a sense of reality, a feeling of objective presence, a perception of what we may call something there, more deep and more general than any of the special and particular senses by which the current psychology supposes existent realities to be originally revealed.
The beginning of wisdom is the awareness that there is insufficient evidence that a god or gods have created us and the recognition that we are responsible in part for our own destiny. Human beings can achieve this good life, but it is by the cultivation of the virtues of intelligence and courage, not faith and obedience, that we will most likely be able to do so.
Empathy is a human trait. But lots of humans exercise some traits more energetically than others. By "the usefulness of empathy" I mean the way in which a progressive might claim that empathy is a crucial aspect of any benign political system, and the way a conservative might argue that not only is it not necessary, but it might not even be all that helpful, in that regard.