Reminds me of this passage from The Brothers Karamazov:
> “I heard exactly the same thing, a long time ago to be sure, from a doctor,” the elder remarked. “He was then an old man, and unquestionably intelligent. He spoke just as frankly as you, humorously, but with a sorrowful humor. ‘I love mankind,’ he said, ‘but I am amazed at myself: the more I love mankind in general, the less I love people in particular, that is, individually, as separate persons. In my dreams,‘ he said, ‘I often went so far as to think passionately of serving mankind, and, it may be, would really have gone to the cross for people if it were somehow suddenly necessary, and yet I am incapable of living in the same room with anyone even for two days, this I know from experience. As soon as someone is there, close to me, his personality oppresses my self-esteem and restricts my freedom. In twenty-four hours I can begin to hate even the best of men: one because he takes too long eating his dinner, another because he has a cold and keeps blowing his nose. I become the enemy of people the moment they touch me,’ he said. ‘On the other hand, it has always happened that the more I hate people individually, the more ardent becomes my love for humanity as a whole.’”
The speaker goes on to say:
> Love in dreams thirsts for immediate action, quickly performed, and with everyone watching. Indeed, it will go as far as the giving even of one’s life, provided it does not take long but is soon over, as on stage, and everyone is looking on and praising. Whereas active love is labor and perseverance, and for some people, perhaps, a whole science.
Whereas tasks that show your love for humanity are more detached from actual individuals. Curing cancer requires you to interact with lab equipment and microorganisms more than humans. Sure your opportunity costs here may be playing video games or traveling, but they are less emotional costs and more material costs.
Paying emotional tolls is difficult, and from my experience, many people are simply incapable of paying them. I mean, they are or may be capable, but they would have to change the way they act or behave, and they are not willing to do so. I think there's a genetic component to it.
It’s incredible and very relevant.