Empathy for life is what separates humankind from the rest of the animal kingdom

feel deeply


Are we hardwired for empathy?

The Empathic Civilisation

The Power of Outrospection

The Spiritual Empathy Residing Within Old Souls

Empathy is intuitive understanding
of an other using mirror neurons

"Empathy is a better word than identifcation to describe what Pagan mystics experienced." - John Lamb Lash

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 off.

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 emotional response.

When we engage in empathic response we validate the other person.

lack empathy not religion

"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, mirror neuron 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

balance is key

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 Lebeau

Children between the ages of seven and 12 are naturally inclined to feel empathy for others in pain but these natural inclinations can be subsumed.

"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 Eisenstein

Empathy honors a moral sense to advance moral principle.

Empathy responds to the effects of a violated moral principle.

Empathy is alert to the humiliation and indignity of being treated differently for reasons that are morally irrelevant.

turning honest people into criminals since 1937

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 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 workers services.

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 social pyramid.

1864 Russell Herman Conwell is dismissed from the military after being charged with deserting his post at Newport Barracks, North Carolina.

1888 Russell Herman Conwell, minister and graduate of Yale law school is hired by Newport, Rhode Isalnd aristocracy to spread his "Acres of Diamonds" lecture.

September 10, 1888 Society of Christian Endeavor is organized as a world-wide youth organization - the benefactor remains unknown.

empathy map

Empathy for living beings is not a weakness.

Empathy for living beings is a biological imperative.

"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 you."

Jesus the Tekton, Gospel of Thomas

The 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 compassion.

"I take 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 Mamre



The Earth is undergoing the sixth big extinction in Earth's history,
- this one caused by humans.

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.

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 years.

"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 low protection.


"Mortality is a fact of life that is hard to bear.

Human 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 devastating.

From the very earliest times, men and women devised religion 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, sex, drugs, sports or philosophy.

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, cruelty, sickness and injustice." - Karen Armstrong

walk a mile in their shoes


Empathtic abilities appear voluntarily and sometimes involuntarily (subconsciously).

Empaths has a highly developed sense of empathy - the ability to read, understand and resonate with the emotions of other people.

People are commonly conditioned to hide authentic emotional expression in complex social cultures based on subdivisions of labor that include multiple daily contacts with strangers.

People either develop a very deep emotional intelligence or they hide their heart away deep within a walled citadel.

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 clearly read.

Successful 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 self-awareness.

These 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.

Empaths are 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 recuperate.

empathetic capacity

Empaths have strong creative streaks and a vivid imaginations.

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 compartmentalized their psyches.

Animals are often dear to the heart of empaths as they reflect the natural beauty of life.

Empaths are passionate towards Nature, respectful of its bountiful beauty, holding Nature in awe.

Empaths are continually drawn to Nature for revivification as they have a need for solitude in which to rebalance.

Within Nature empaths recapture the naturally balanced pace of life unlike the hectic lives they are forced to live in MICE culture.

Time to get away from the social culture and commune with Nature is essential for the Empath.

in the distance

As Empaths are Gnostic they can see the noumenon through the Veil of Cognitive Blindness.

Empaths 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 tears.

At times, an empath may feel physically ill or be unable to choke back the tears.

They simply cannot justify lack of concern for the suffering they feel and see.

All 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

embrace your tears

"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.

It's 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

concentrated empathy

signs that you are an empath

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 experience.

Do you experience other people's physical ailments?

The mirror neurons of empaths are sometimes so finely tuned that they actually recreate the pain of another within the body of the empath.

This can be extremely painful.

Do you feel overwhelmed when seeing something horrible on television?

Viewing corporate news, violent imagery or depressing advertisements designed to induce sympathy and open wallets, can debilitate an empath for hours.

While most people get upset an empath will often feel like their hearts have been lanced - a feeling of guilt and regret is not easily assuaged.

Do you ALWAYS know what someone really means?

Can you always tell what someone meant to say to you even if they used improper words or terms?

An empath can detect lying in normal people and will know the intent of the lie - to spare feelings, to deceive, out of malice, etcetera.

An empath will know if you mean them well or not – no exceptions.

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.

A true empath feels compelled to go to anyone who suffers, be it angst or something physical.

A true empath's sacred/philo/assumption.html will usually be accepted on the spot by suffering people and animals no matter how they would normally react to strangers.

They know, 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 emits.

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.

vicariously experiencing emotions

a basic categorization of empaths by Elise Lebeau:

* 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 be transformed into vampires, zombies, psychopaths or automatons.

* 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 duress.

* Trained Empaths are able to interpret complex emotional information accurately and use it for specific purposes (such as an aid in healing work).

empathy vs sympathy

Empathy - Brené Brown


as defined by Herbert Spencer in 1851
(sympathy = empathy 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:

"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 bodies."

"Men of most robust make observe, that in looking upon sore eyes they often feel a very sensible soreness in their own."

"Our joy 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 Sentiments

To these facts cited by Adam Smith, may be added many others of like import; people - women especially - start or shriek on seeing an accident occur; unpractised assistants at surgical operations often faint; 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.

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."

In 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 as anything but a sympathetic affection of the instinct of personal rights - a sort of reflex function.

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 slave-dealer's barbarities.

return to the root

It was 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, those who have the strongest sense of their own rights, will have the strongest sense of the rights of their neighbours.

The first illustration that suggests itself is afforded by the Society of 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 résistance 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.

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.

clear vision

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.

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.

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 function—a 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 impulse.

When each 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.

mind control drug

oxytocin receptor gene

Dose of oxytocin may make men feel spiritual

Researchers have found compelling evidence that people who are more empathetic possess a particular variation of the oxytocin receptor gene.

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 situations.

!! examples of empathy blocking exclamations ??

Downplaying - "It is not the end of the world !"

Cheer Up - "Let me see that smile !"

Denial - "There is nothing wrong !"

Reasoning - "It was an accident !"

Advice - "Modify your behavior !"

Expectation - "Why let it bother you ?"

Distraction - "Look at this sock puppet !"

Put Down - "You are jumping to conclusions !"

Stealing the Thunder - "Now you know how I felt !"

Labeling/Diagnosing - "You are being overly sensitive !"

Positive Spin - "Perhaps it happened for a good reason ?"

Global Empathy Experiment

"All living beings experience pain.

Only ignorarrogant humans feel they are
psychopathically entitled to ignore this simple fact

Athbhreith Athbheochan

Empathy for life is what separates humankind from the rest of the animal kingdom

unique library index

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