I find empathy to probably the single most important human emotion? concept?. I also find that your thinking a little inaccurate or misunderstood. Sympathy to the pain we personally see in front of us is a good thing. Yes, ignoring the larger problems and worldsuck is bad, but if we needed a problem to be big enough to become a statistic or on the news before we can actually care about it, then that would be truly messed up. Sympathising with one or focusing on small problems won't take away from the bigger, but only caring about the big and seeing small one's as "insignificant" or not as big will. Yes, there are big problems that affect million, but I think that our brain's design and programming to only deal with the small things that we as only one individual can is effective and realistic. When one person doesn't worry about all the big problems and instead on the small manageable ones in front of them, it allows real progress because then things are solved one at a time and we can let the collective of individuals solving small problems form to one huge powerhouse solving big problems.