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empathy isn't exactly Christian territory, after all.
are you an empath as well?
Originally posted by bobbyboy
reply to post by TravelerintheDark
yeah, i know. i guess some things don't have an easy way out, do they?
Empathy is the capacity to recognize or understand another's state of mind or emotion. It is often characterized as the ability to "put oneself into another's shoes", or in some way experience the outlook or emotions of another being within oneself. Empathy does not necessarily imply compassion, or empathic concern because this capacity can be present in context of compassionate or cruel behavior.
Since empathy involves understanding the emotion states of other people, the way it is characterized is derivative of the way emotions themselves are characterized. If for example, emotions are taken to be centrally characterized by bodily feelings, then grasping the bodily feelings of another will be central to empathy. On the other hand, if emotions are more centrally characterized by a combination of beliefs and desires, then grasping these beliefs and desires will be more essential to empathy. Furthermore, a distinction should be made between deliberately imagining being another person, or being in their situation, and simply recognizing their emotion. The ability to imagine oneself as another person is a sophisticated imaginative process. However the basic capacity to recognize emotions is probably innate and may be achieved unconsciously. Yet it can be trained, and achieved with various degrees of intensity or accuracy. The human capacity to recognize the bodily feelings of another is related to one's imitative capacities, and seems to be grounded in the innate capacity to associate the bodily movements and facial expressions one sees in another with the proprioceptive feelings of producing those corresponding movements or expressions oneself. Humans also seem to make the same immediate connection between the tone of voice and other vocal expressions and inner feeling. See neurological basis below. There is some debate concerning how exactly the conscious experience (or phenomenology) of empathy should be characterized. The basic idea is that by looking at the facial expressions or bodily movements of another, or by hearing their tone of voice, one may get an immediate sense of how they feel (as opposed to more intellectually noting the behavioral symptoms of their emotion). Though empathic recognition is likely to involve some form of arousal in the empathiser, they may not experience this feeling as belonging to their own body, but instead likely to perceptually locate the feeling 'in' the body of the other person. Alternatively the empathiser may instead get a sense of an emotional 'atmosphere' or that the emotion belongs equally to all the parties involved.