Empathy is intuitive
understanding of an other using
Empathy occurs when we suspend the
single-minded focus of attention on
our needs and instead adopt a dual-minded focus of attention that includes the
consciousness of another individual.
When attention lapses back into a
single-minded focus empathy turns
For empathy to be active we must use our ability to identify what
someone else is feeling and to respond to their emotions with the approriate
When we engage in empathic response we validate the
"The love of life that Edwin Wilson has named
biophilia, and our natural empathy toward other
human beings, is ultimately irrepressible because we are life and life is us."
- Charles Eisenstein
" The brain has these amazing curcuits,
circuits, which are actively firing and activating motor and visual
circuits simply as simulations of other people's activities. That suggests the
brain itself is manufacturing empathy circuits that allow us to participate in
rich and complicated ways in the sensibilities, actions and motivations of
other people." - Richard Powers
"Empathy is central to our humanity. We must
balance the forces of emotion and rationality. Together with empathy, our
system of rational and logical thought can now extend our moral concern to
people further from our private lives, but equally deserving." - JD Trout
Children normally begin to display the fundamental behaviors of
empathy by having an emotional response that corresponds with another persons
emotional state of mind - comforting others or showing concern for others as
early as 24 months of age.
"Everyone is born an empath. We all have the
physical equipment necessary to pick up on what other people are feeling. But,
for most of us, this ability will slowly fade away from lack of use." - Elise
Children between the ages of seven and 12 are naturally inclined
to feel empathy for others in pain.
"At about age fifteen human beings
are meant to develop empathetic, holistic,
transpersonal modes of
cognition, abilities that violate the dogma
of the discrete and separate self. Primitive societies acknowledged these
abilities and fostered their development, providing both models and methods for
transcendence of the limited,
rational, egoic self of the pre-teen. Not by accident,
many of these
ceremonies incorporate ritual reenactments of the birth process." - Charles
Empathy honors a moral sense to advance
Empathy responds to the effects of a violated
Empathy is alert to the humiliation and indignity of being treated
differently for reasons that are morally irrelevant.
Disparity of wealth creates
a need to condition in the collective consciousness the concept that
there are always those that
deserve to suffer.
Empathetic emotional response for those less
fortunate must be seen as either as weak or traitorous.
For any group to
live in extravagance the division of
labor of the social culture
must be such that a large percentage of the lowest paid workers creation of
value through his or her production is siphoned off by
the purchaser of the
It is always in the best interests of those on the
top of the social pyramid to reduce any feelings of empathy the upper classes
may feel for the downtrodden disenfranchised lower classes at the base of the
1864 Russell Herman Conwell is
dismissed from the military after being charged with deserting his post at
Newport Barracks, North Carolina.
Herman Conwell, minister and graduate of Yale law school is hired by Newport,
Rhode Isalnd aristocracy to spread his "Acres of Diamonds"
September 10, 1888 Society of
Christian Endeavor is organized as a world-wide youth organization - the
benefactor remains unknown.
living beings is not a weakness.
living beings is a biological
"lf you bring forth what is
within you, what you have will
save you. If you do not have that within you, what you do not have
within you will kill
Gospel of Truth teaches to stretch
out your hands to those who are sick and
to awaken those who are
asleep as it is the Will of the
Creator and Sustainer that all human beings come to
Jesus the Tekton,
gnostic statements emotionally;
it's an image of the truth, illumination
and divine presence
to be found in every human being. It teaches that within every human life is a
bit of the divine
source, and everything comes from that source. All life is to be respected
as coming from God." - Elaine Pagels
"Humanity is given
dominion over animals, and has the
right to use animals for legitimate needs. Animal flesh can be consumed for
food; animal skins can be used for clothing; the
Torah itself must be written on
parchment, that is, animal hides. However, we are permitted to use animals in
this way only when there is a genuine, legitimate need, and we must do so in
the manner that causes the animal the least suffering. Hunting for sport is
strictly prohibited, and hunting and trapping for legitimate needs is
permissible only when it is done in the least painful way possible." - Mechon
The Earth is undergoing
the sixth big extinction in Earth's
history, March 2004 Detailed series of population
surveys that comb virtually every square yard of England, Scotland and Wales
over 40 years show a sharp decline in populations of bird and butterflies of
54% to 71% with some species gone altogether. 1,254 native plant species showed
a decrease of about 28% over the same period.
- this one caused by humans.
300 critically endangered
species as well as 237 endangered and 267 vulnerable species exist in
unprotected areas having a 50% probability of extinction within 10
"This is the tip of the
iceberg. There is a window
of opportunity here. Many species across the face of Earth are hanging on to
little bits of habitat."- Ana Rodrigues
Ana Rodrigues identified sites
in the Andes, in Sierra Madre mountains in southern Mexico, on islands in
Southeast Asia, on Madagascar and in southern
India as areas of high biodiversity and
"Mortality is a fact of life that is hard to bear.
beings are the only animals who have to
live with the knowledge that they will die one day, and they have always
found this vision of extinction
difficult to contemplate.
Most of us manage to find some solace in the
happiness and affection that is also
part of the human experience.
Some people simply bury
their heads in the sand and refuse to think about the
sorrow of reality, but this is an
unwise course, because, if we are entirely unprepared, the
tragedies of life can be
From the very earliest times,
women devised religions to help
them cultivate a sense that our
exisistence has some ultimate meaning and value.
The myths and practices of
faith may seem like some incredible fantasy.
People then turn to
other methods of transcending the
sufferings and frustrations of daily life: to art, music,
We fall very easily into despair,
and we have to work very hard to create within ourselves a conviction that life
is good if we see pain,
injustice." - Karen
Empathtic abilities appear voluntarily (consciously) and sometimes
Empaths has a
highly developed sense of empathy - the ability to read, understand and
resonate with other peoples emotions.
commonly conditioned to hide
authentic emotional expression in complex
social cultures based on subdivisions of
labor that include multiple daily contacts with strangers.
develop a very deep emotional intelligence
or they hide their heart away deep within a
Empaths sense emotions that run deeper than those
portrayed in Delsarte
System to see the emotions that
lurk behind that "civilized" mask.
Empaths have a deep
understanding of the emotional states and
thought processes that accompany
different human actions having searched deep within their own souls
for comparative situations.
The Empath must be extremely careful to
not reveal his or her emotional knowledge at an inopportune moment as people
may become very upset when their subconscious hidden emotions are so
practitioners of the daily
application of empathetic response become
compassionate, considerate, and
understanding of others.
There are varying levels of empathic
strength or emotional
awareness related to individual
relate directly to understanding the powers and drawbacks of being empathetic,
and the acceptance or non-acceptance of the expression of empathetic concerns
by associated individuals, including family and peers.
natural healers but many empaths end up turning away from being healers as they
tend to take on too much pain from those they
are trying to heal.
Overwhelmed Empaths seek seclusion to
have strong creative streaks and a vivid
Empaths, known for multiple
talents as their interests are varied,
broad and continually evolving, are often poets, writers, singers, and artists with a
high degree of creativity and imagination.
As an Empaths
interests are broad they typically hold a broad-minded
perspective unlike those that have
are often dear to the heart of empaths as they reflect the natural beauty of
Empaths are passionate towards
Nature, respect of its bountiful beauty,
holding Nature in
Empaths are continually
drawn to Nature for
revivification as they
have a need for solitude in which to recenter their Eternal Soul.
Within Nature empaths recapture
the naturally balanced pace of life unlike the
hectic lives they are forced to live in
get away from the social culture
and commune with Nature is essential for
Empaths are Gnostic they can see the noumenon through the
Veil of Cognitive
are highly expressive in all areas of emotional connection, and talk openly,
and, at times, cause consternation in the listener in respect to their
emotionally charged reflections.
Empaths are Free Spirits that Seek Truth
as anything untruthful feels wrong and causes physic pain.
"Empaths are sensitive to
television, videos, movies, and news broadcasts. Violence or emotionally
charged dramas depicting shocking scenes of physical or emotional pain
inflicted on adults, children or animals can bring an empath easily to
At times, an
empath may feel physically ill or be unable to choke back the
They simply cannot
justify lack of concern for the suffering they feel and see.
types of people and animals are attracted to the warmth and genuine
compassion of empaths.
Complete strangers find it easy to talk to empaths about the most
personal things, and before they know it, they have poured out their hearts and
souls without intending to do so consciously.
It is as though on a subconscious
level that person knows instinctively that empaths would listen with
compassionate understanding." - Christel Broederlow
"Many people reading the signs that you are an
empath will likely think themselves empathic.
I cannot stress the
following enough there is nothing fun about being an empath.
often a very draining and miserable existence in which you feel like you have
to be entirely alone in order to survive.
It is not glamorous, it is not
exciting, it is painful more often than not." - Isabella Snow
signs that you are an
Do you feel overwhelmed in public but can not
determine the reason?
An empath who hasn't yet learned how to block other
people's emotions out can become overwhelmed in the bustle of public places.
Many empaths prefer to keep their own company living the life of a
hermit as dealing with emotional expressions of unhappiness can be a harrowing
Do you experience other people's physical
mirror neurons of
empaths are sometimes so finely tuned that they actually recreate the pain of
another within the body of the empath.
can be extremely painful.
Do you ALWAYS know what someone really means?
Do you care for anyone who suffers, no matter what
they have done?
A true empath cannot walk past someone suffering
and not feel an emotional need to stop and help that person.
empath feels compelled to go to anyone they who suffers, be it angst or
A true empath's
compassion will usually be
accepted on the spot by suffering people and animals no matter how they would
normally react to strangers.
instinctively, that their
suffering is shared.
Do people open up to you even if you don't
want them to?
The ill, the suffering, the weak are all drawn to
the compassion an empath
And empaths emit it whether they want to or not.
Empaths with the most profound sensitivity sometimes break down inside
having no other way of keeping other's emotions at bay.
a basic categorization of empaths by Elise
* Non-Empaths have completely shut down their
empathetic skills and use other cues to get emotional information (such as
verbal and non-verbal indicators). Over time, they completely loose their
empathetic abilities and may eventually transform into Vampires (psychopaths)
or Zombies (mindless human automatons/corporately conditioned consumer
* Impaired Empaths might have some basic filters
but can easily get overwhelmed, especially in a crowded venue or during
emotional turmoil. They tend to experience emotional distress (i.e. feeling the
weight of the world) and physical symptoms (i.e. exhaustion, headaches,
depression). Impaired empaths make statements similar to the following: " ...
it could be worse"
* Functional Empaths are able to control the flow
of information so that it does not create emotional distress or uncomfortable
physical symptoms. Functinal empaths may, at times,
spiral back down the
empathetic scale and become Impaired Empaths when under extreme
Trained Empaths are
able to interpret complex emotional information accurately and use it for
specific purposes (such as an aid in healing work).
as defined by Herbert Spencer in
1851 The way to a solution of this difficulty has been opened by
Adam Smith in his Theory of Moral
Sentiments. The ability to derive pleasure from seeing pleasure, involves
the liability to derive pain from seeing pain: the
sympathy by which either of
these results is effected, simply having for its function to reproduce observed
emotions, irrespective of their kind. Sympathy prevents its possessor from inflicting
pain, that he may avoid pain himself, and which tempts him to give happiness
that he may have happiness reflected back upon him. It is the aim of that
work to show that the proper
regulation of our conduct to one another, is secured by means of a faculty
whose function it is to excite in each being the emotions displayed by
surrounding ones - a faculty which awakens a like state of sentiment, or, as he
terms it, "a fellow feeling with the passions of others" - the faculty, in
short, which we commonly call sympathy. As
illustrations of the
mode in which this agent acts, Adam Smith
quotes cases like these:
(sympathy = empathy in 1851)
|"Persons of delicate
fibres, and weak constitution of body, complain that in looking on the sores
and ulcers which are exposed by beggars in the streets, they are apt to feel an
itching or uneasy sensation in the corresponding part of their own
"Men of most robust make observe, that in looking upon sore
eyes they often feel a very sensible soreness in their own."
for the deliverance of those heroes of tragedy or romance who interest us, is
as sincere as our grief for their distress, and our fellow-feeling for their
misery, is not more real than that for their happiness."
"We blush for
the impudence and rudeness of another, though he himself appears to have no
sense of the impropriety of his behaviour."
Adam Smith, Theory of Moral
facts cited by Adam Smith, may be added
many others of like import; such as that people - women especially - start or
shriek on seeing an accident occur to others; that unpractised assistants at
surgical operations often faint; that out of the soldiers drawn up to witness a
flogging, usually several drop down in the ranks; that a boy has been known to
die on witnessing an execution. We have all experienced the uncomfortable
feeling of shame produced in us by the blunders and confusion of a nervous
speaker; and most likely every one has some time or other been put into a
horrible tremor on seeing another at the edge of a precipice. The converse
action of the faculty is equally observable.
Thus, we find ourselves unable to
avoid joining in the merriment of our friends, whilst blind of its cause; and
children, much to their annoyance, are often forced to laugh in the midst of
their tears, by witnessing the laughter of those around them. These and
many like evidences prove that, as Burke
says, "sympathy must be
considered as a sort of substitution by which we are put into the place of
another man, and affected in many respects as he is affected."
tracing our benevolent actions to the influence of such a faculty - in
concluding that we are led to relieve the miseries of others from a desire to
rid ourselves of the pain given by the sight of misery, and to make others
happy, because we participate in their happiness,
Adam Smith puts forth what seems to be a
quite satisfactory theory. But he has overlooked one of its most important
applications. Not recognising any such impulse as that which urges men to
maintain their claims, he did not see that their respect for the claims of
others, may be explained in the same way. He did not perceive that the
sentiment of justice is nothing but a
sympathetic affection of the instinct of personal rights - a sort of reflex
function of it. Such, however, must be the case, if that instinct exists, and
if this hypothesis of Adam Smith's be true.
Here lies the
explanation of those qualms of conscience, as we call them, felt by men who
have committed dishonest actions. It is through this instrumentality that
we receive satisfaction on paying another what is due to him. And with these
two faculties also, originate that indignation which
narratives of political oppression
excite in us, and that gnashing of the teeth with which we read of the
elsewhere hinted, that though we must keep up the distinction between them, it
is nevertheless true that justice and beneficence have
a common root, and the reader
will now at once perceive that the
common root is - sympathy.
All the actions properly classified under the one, and which we describe as
fair, equitable, upright, spring from the sympathetic excitement of the
instinct of personal rights; whilst those usually grouped under the other, as
mercy, charity, good-nature, generosity, amiability, considerateness, are due
to the action of sympathy upon
one or more of the other feelings.
In support of the foregoing theory
much detailed evidence can be adduced. If it be true that men's perceptions of
justice are generated in the way alleged, it will follow that, other things
equal, those who have the strongest sense
of their own rights, will have the strongest sense of the rights of their
neighbours. And, by observing whether this is the case or not, we may put
the theory to the proof. Let us do this.
first illustration that suggests itself is afforded by the
Friends. Ever since they appeared in the days of Charles I., the members of
that body have been remarkable for their determined assertion of personal
liberty. They have shown it in their continued resistance to ecclesiastical
power; in the obstinacy with which they successfully defied persecution; in
their still-continued refusal to pay church-rates; and even in their creed,
which does not permit a priesthood. Observe, now, how the sentiment which these
peculiarities imply has manifested itself sympathetically. Penn and his
followers were the only emigrants of their age who made any acknowledgment to
the aborigines for the land they colonized.
Of this same sect were the philanthropists who commenced the agitation for
abolishing the slave trade; and who were most energetic in carrying it on.
Amongst lunatic asylums, the York
Retreat was one of the first, if not the first, in which a non-coercive
treatment of the insane was adopted. They were
Quakers too, who
years ago began publicly to exclaim against the injustice as well as the
cruelty of war. And, whilst it may be true that in business they are firm in
the assertion of their claims, it is not less true that on the whole they are
remarkable for dishonest
Conversely, we find that those who have not a strong sense of
what is just to themselves, are likewise deficient in a sense of what is just
to their fellow men. This has long been a common remark. As one of our living
writers puts it - the tyrant is nothing but
a slave turned inside
out. In earlier days, when feudal lords were vassals to the king, they were
also despots to their retainers. In our own time, the Russian noble is alike a
serf to his autocrat, and an autocrat to his serf. It is remarked even by
school-boys, that the bully is the most ready of all to knock under to a bigger
bully. We constantly observe that those who fawn upon the great are overbearing
to their inferiors. That "emancipated
slaves exceed all other
owners (of slaves) in
cruelty and oppression," is a truth established on numerous authorities. And
that where opportunity offers the submissive nature becomes a tyrannical one,
is further illustrated by the fact, that the negroes are frequently caught and
sold by their own kings.
Thus we find the
proposed theory to be supported both by direct and converse evidence. One
qualification must be made, however. There is no necessary connection between a
sense of what is due to self, and a sense of what is due to others.
Sympathy and instinct of rights
do not always co-exist in equal strength any more than other faculties do.
Either of them may be present in normal amount, whilst the other is almost
wanting. And, if devoid of sympathy, it is possible for a man who has a
sufficient impulse to assert his own claims, to show no corresponding respect
for the claims of his fellows. The instinct of rights being of itself entirely
selfish, merely impels its possessor to maintain his own privileges. Only by
the sympathetic excitement of it, is a desire to behave equitably to others
awakened; and when sympathy is absent such a desire is impossible. Nevertheless
this does not affect the general proposition, that where there exists the usual
amount of sympathy, respect for the rights of others will be great or small,
according as the amount of the instinct of personal rights is great or small.
And thus in the average of cases, we may safely conclude that a man's sense of
justice to himself, and his sense of justice to his neighbours, bear a constant
ratio to each other.
Sympathy can be strengthened only
by exercise. No faculty whatever will grow, save by the performance of its
special functiona muscle by contraction;
the intellect by perceiving and
thinking; a moral sentiment by feeling.
Sympathy, therefore, can be
increased only by exciting sympathetic emotions. A selfish child is to be
rendered less selfish, only by arousing in it a fellow-feeling with the desires
of others. Patience, self-denial, a sufficient insight into youthful emotions,
and a due sympathy with them, added to a little ingenuity in the
choice of means, will usually accomplish all
that can be wished. Only let a parent's actions and words and manner show that
his own feeling is a thoroughly right one, and he will rarely fail to awaken a
responsive feeling in the breast of his child.
Now it is by the growth
of those two faculties - the strengths of sympathy, and the instinct of
personal rights - which together originate what we term a Moral Sense. In
proportion to the strengths of sympathy, and the instinct of personal rights,
will be the impulse to conform to the law of equal freedom. And in the mode
elsewhere shown, the impulse to conform to this law will generate a correlative
belief in it. Only after considerable social advance, can there arise either
subordination to this law, or a perception of its truth.
The impulse to
maintain liberty of action which generates regard for the liberty of action of
others is explicable by an extension of Adam
Smith's doctrine of sympathy. Our sentiment of justice
is really due to a sympathetic excitement of such impulse.
individual possesses an active instinct of freedom, together with an active
sympathy - then will all the
still existing limitations to individuality, be they governmental restraints,
or be they the aggressions of men on one another, cease. Then, none will be
hindered from duly unfolding their natures; for whilst every one maintains his
own claims, he will respect the like claims of others. Then, there will no
longer be legislative restrictions and legislative burdens; for by the same
process these will have become both needless and impossible. Then, for the
first time in the history of the world, will there exist
beings whose individualities
can be expanded to the full in all directions.
Researchers have found compelling
evidence that people who are more empathetic possess a particular variation of
the oxytocin receptor
Published in the journal Proceedings in the National Academy
of Sciences, the findings by researchers at the University of California,
Berkeley, support other research showing that
oxytocin plays a
major role in countering stress. All humans inherit a variation of this gene or
"allele" from each parent.
The study looked at the three combinations
of gene variations of the oxytocin receptor. The most empathetic - able to get
an accurate read on others' emotions - had two copies of the "G allele." In
contrast, members of the AA and AG allele groups were found to be less capable
of putting themselves in the shoes of others and more likely to get
stressed out in difficult
!! examples of empathy blocking exclamations
Downplaying - "It is not the end of the world
Reasoning - "It was an accident !"
Positive Spin - "Perhaps it happened for a good
Cheer Up - "Let me see that smile !"
Advice - "Modify your behavior !"
Expectation - "Why let it bother you ?"
Put Down - "You are jumping to conclusions
Labeling/Diagnosing - "You are being over
Stealing the Thunder - "Now you know how I felt
back to stacks
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