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Empathy. Do you have it?

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posted on Aug, 1 2010 @ 04:23 AM
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To show empathy is to identify with another's feelings. It is to emotionally put yourself in the place of another. The ability to empathize is directly dependent on your ability to feel your own feelings and identify them.
www.eqi.org...

Is empathy something that can only come with life experience? You have to of experienced the highs and the lows of life to really be able to try and identify with the feelings of others.

I think if we all had a little more empathy, we would be able to understand the problems in the world a little better and hopefully learn from them so we don't keep repeating the same problems.


For example. Try to empathize with an Afghan civillian or even a Taliban member. Try to put yourself in their position, what would you feel emotionally? Having armies from all over the world, invading your country and trying to change it. All you want to do is live and support your family, but you have foreign forces with high tech weapons in your country killing civillians and propping up a corrupt government.

This is just an example and not meant to be the rights and wrongs of the conflict. I just think if we all tried to empathize a little more we would have a better understanding of the problems in our world.




posted on Aug, 1 2010 @ 05:01 AM
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reply to post by woodwardjnr
 


Empathy is one thing.

Condoning of the suppressions, the murders of innocents on both sides is another thing.

When one wishes to embark on the journey of empathy, it must be made with full knowledge beforehand, and then will only the truth suface, for an empathical judgement be made.

That you used the taliban for empathy would have made more shake with revulsion at what they had done to their fellow innocent afghan innocent men, women and children throughout history, if not to other innocents in the world, enough to want to want to take up arms and destroy these animals.

Empathy is wisdom, wisdom derives from truth and reality, not manipulations.

Peace.



posted on Aug, 1 2010 @ 05:15 AM
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I now live as a semi recluse because contact with stressed people makes me feel the same.

I have contact with close family and neighbours, but a trip out into the general population requires a few days of rest and sleep to recover.

When workmen were in my home for a few weeks earlier this year (sent by landlord), I was getting the physical symptoms of asthma and backstrain that one of them had.

Empathy can be a curse as well as a blessing.



posted on Aug, 1 2010 @ 05:24 AM
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I dont need to experience rape to know its bad, very bad ... I dont need to experience death to know it destroys people

the problem in your text is that you didnt mention that some people are just born without the ability to feel anything ... and thats a BIG problem



posted on Aug, 1 2010 @ 06:04 AM
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Explanation: S&F!

Well as long as the individual has mirror neurons, then they possess a form of neurological capacity as regards to empathy.

Mirror Neurons [wiki]


A mirror neuron is a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another.[1] Thus, the neuron "mirrors" the behavior of the other, as though the observer were itself acting. Such neurons have been directly observed in primates, and are believed to occur in humans and other species including birds. In humans, brain activity consistent with that of mirror neurons has been found in the premotor cortex and the inferior parietal cortex.


What Do Mirror Neurons Mean? [interdisciplines.org]


The discovery of mirror neurons in the frontal lobes of macaques and their implications for human brain evolution is one of the most important findings of neuroscience in the last decade. Mirror neurons are active when the monkeys perform certain tasks, but they also fire when the monkeys watch someone else perform the same specific task. There is evidence that a similar observation/action matching system exists in humans. The mirror system is sometimes considered to represent a primitive version, or possibly a precursor in phylogeny, of a simulation heuristic that might underlie mindreading.


Mirror Neurons (NovaScienceNow)[pbs.org]


A recently discovered system in the brain may help explain why we humans can get so worked up watching other people.


Mirror Neurons [scholarpedia.org]


Functions mediated by mirror neurons depend on the anatomy and physiological properties of the circuit in which these neurons are located. Actions studied in the initial mirror neuron studies were actions without an emotional content. Accordingly, activations were found in circuits related to motor action control (parieto-premotor circuits). Recent evidence suggests that the mirror mechanism is also involved in empathy, that is in the capacity of feeling the same emotions that others feel. In an fMRI experiment, participants were exposed, in one condition, to disgusting odorants and, in another, to short movie clips showing individuals displaying a facial expression of disgust. It was found that the exposure to disgusting odorants specifically activates the anterior insula and the anterior cingulate. Most interestingly, the observation of the facial expression of disgust activated the same sector of the anterior insula (Wicker et al. 2003). In close agreement with these findings are the data obtained in another fMRI experiment that showed activation of the anterior insula during the observation and imitation of facial expressions of basic emotions (Carr et al. 2003).






Personal Disclosure: I have the capacity but somehow its twisted in its expression! For example I almost went into debilitating gutted shock when I watched Eve trying to revive Wall-E at the movies, but 4hrs later I didn't break a sweat or become emotional at all when I watched Neda's death during 2009 Iran elections on youtube! I've seen some quite gruesome and gory stuff and not even blinked but I can't stand seeing anybody attached to machines keeping them alive in ICU and yet I would have no problem with becoming a cyborg myself! Capacity unfortunately doesn't mean the expression will be efficient and or effective!

Lacking the neurological capacity of mirror neurons completely would, IMO, absolutely discount that individual entity from being considered as human. They'd be more than...or less than human, in an exclusive fashion!




posted on Aug, 1 2010 @ 06:19 AM
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Originally posted by SeekerofTruth101
reply to post by woodwardjnr
 


Empathy is one thing.

Condoning of the suppressions, the murders of innocents on both sides is another thing.

When one wishes to embark on the journey of empathy, it must be made with full knowledge beforehand, and then will only the truth suface, for an empathical judgement be made.

That you used the taliban for empathy would have made more shake with revulsion at what they had done to their fellow innocent afghan innocent men, women and children throughout history, if not to other innocents in the world, enough to want to want to take up arms and destroy these animals.

Empathy is wisdom, wisdom derives from truth and reality, not manipulations.

Peace.



Your confusing sympathy with empathy. I'm not asking you to have sympathy for the taliban, but seeing if you can understand how they feel, what makes them do the things they do, what drives people to join the taliban? What makes them carry out the actions they do? The fact you have labelled them as animals suggests you have fallen for the same trick used by those who want us to believe that our enemies are somehow not human, which makes it easier to kill them.



posted on Aug, 1 2010 @ 06:24 AM
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The TV programming is not about empathy, its about fear.



posted on Aug, 1 2010 @ 08:24 AM
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Originally posted by woodwardjnr
Is empathy something that can only come with life experience? You have to of experienced the highs and the lows of life to really be able to try and identify with the feelings of others.


personally, i don't think so.
i think all that is required is the desire to walk a mile in someone else's moccasins. and after that, walk another mile in someone else's moccasins.
until one day you look down and see that your feet are bare...and you are one with all, with no animosity, fear, anger, or judgment of any type, toward others as well as yourself.

i've always wanted to know how other people felt - not how i would feel if i were them, but how they feel. i want to feel their feelings, not my impression or idea of their feelings.

i don't know what exactly the difference is, other than the tendency of most people to judge and remain separate. so many people, when confronted with the question of "how would you feel if that were you," still issue a judgment statement. if it is in regard to something they disapprove of or believe that they would NEVER do, it usually comes out as an inflexible statement of their own ideas about themselves. something like "well, i still wouldn't do THAT. i'd do THIS," not even considering that circumstances dictate our choices and that circumstances are as individual as the tendencies to choose.


I think if we all had a little more empathy, we would be able to understand the problems in the world a little better and hopefully learn from them so we don't keep repeating the same problems.


AMEN!
there is no doubt in my mind that more empathy would go the distance for us, as a race - one race, the human race.

we are all human, at the core. that's what the root of empathy is, if one can truly believe in that. i do. i know that what i ultimately want, to be loved and accepted AS I AM, is what every other human being wants, too - and needs, also!


For example. Try to empathize with an Afghan civillian or even a Taliban member. Try to put yourself in their position, what would you feel emotionally? Having armies from all over the world, invading your country and trying to change it. All you want to do is live and support your family, but you have foreign forces with high tech weapons in your country killing civillians and propping up a corrupt government.


YES!
to me, those are actually mild challenges. the big hurdles are ones like putting one's self into the life of Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden.
Or Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Charles Manson.
and what about putting on the shoes of the President of the United States?
not just Obama but Abraham Lincoln, JFK, Richard Nixon!
the Pope, Mother Theresa, Princess Diana, or the Dali Lama.

perhaps if we could put ourselves equally in the shoes of those we don't understand and whose actions horrify us, as well as in the shoes of those we admire and consider to be exceptional human beings, we would be able to avoid the crimes, become the miracles, love all, and judge none!


This is just an example and not meant to be the rights and wrongs of the conflict. I just think if we all tried to empathize a little more we would have a better understanding of the problems in our world.


and the thing is, once you dedicate yourself to seeing the world from the eyes that oppose you on the other side of the imaginary scrimmage line, you realize that there is no cut and dried "right" or "wrong," because it is simply a matter of perception.

i just saw another thread on the site about some christian church planning to burn Q'urans on 9/11 of this year. the pastor or ring-leader, whatever, holds the view that Islam is the great demon, devil, of the world.

i think we have all heard that in the eyes of those across the world who practice Islam, America is "the great satan."

same exact sentiment on both sides!

so neither one can be right but yet they are both right. and both wrong.
that cancels out both the right and wrong and all we are left with is...nothing!

yet we cannot see that until we decide to see something other than our own narrow views of cultures and lands we can't possibly understand. if we try to see ourselves from across the ocean, we would not see the image that we believe we are projecting.



posted on Aug, 1 2010 @ 08:34 AM
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reply to post by queenannie38
 


Thanks for such an eloquent post. I wish I could have articulated my original OP in the same fashion.



posted on Aug, 1 2010 @ 09:00 AM
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reply to post by woodwardjnr
 


thank you!
empathy is something i feel very strongly about - and i'm glad that you made a thread about it!
it is an extremely important concept, now more than ever.

i hope a lot of people see this.



posted on Aug, 1 2010 @ 09:30 AM
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Originally posted by margaretr
I now live as a semi recluse because contact with stressed people makes me feel the same.

I have contact with close family and neighbours, but a trip out into the general population requires a few days of rest and sleep to recover.

When workmen were in my home for a few weeks earlier this year (sent by landlord), I was getting the physical symptoms of asthma and backstrain that one of them had.

Empathy can be a curse as well as a blessing.


I am this way too. Not only do I experience the person's malady at the time, the person begins to feel energized and better while it is creeping over me. I do not allow myself to touch other people either.

If I am lied to I erupt inside, it wells from my inner depths and comes right up my spine and out my cranium. This is usually when I become incoherent to the liar and they either leave because they think I am crazy or they leave because they were "called out" on their false expressions of feelings/BS. If I am not able to remove myself from those that lie I begin to go toxic.

I am slowly and actively 'exercising' myself over this. If I see a crime I call it a crime. If I hear a lie I call it a lie, and will include the word liar if I feel it is from a habitual sociopath. If I hear an excuse I forgive them but try to reason with them. Trust me there are not many people that can be around me for long! The turning of the tables is a bit of a transformation in this regards.

I am currently standing up for myself more and more, but it does not make me want to go out in public any more than I have to, and I dream of a day when I live far away from 'city life'.



posted on Aug, 1 2010 @ 10:16 AM
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How encouraging to see this most divine of human attributes get the attention it deserves.


Empathy is not something a person could be born with, but surely the seeds of it can form early in life, especially if the young child witnesses the suffering of someone he or she loves deeply or depends on.

After that, depending on the reaction the child gets when expressing empathy for others, it grows in strength and that person is equipped to relate to and work for the good of others. Great outcome.

If the child is constantly mocked or ridiculed for his or her empathy, it doesn't go away, it just alienates the child from those who are more hard-hearted. Sometimes it takes years for the child to grow into accepting and working with the power of empathy in his or her own life, and being the person who bears the burdens of feeling pain from other people's pain.

I also have experienced deep feelings of mercy and sorrow for the suffering of others. Although I was mocked and considered "weak" for it, none of the objections I heard seemed to hold as much weight as the simple sympathy of one person for the misfortunes of another.

Making excuses not to care is a blistering expose of the heart with nothing worthwhile in it. Therefore, in my world, that person has no authority.

Why? Because empathy is not an optional, "luxury" emotion. It is a huge source of information!

If I put myself in someone else's shoes, it doesn't have to remain limited to understanding their suffering.

It can reveal new insights and possibilities in the mind of the other, as well. Motivations, choices that seem inevitable to that person.

It can work to give extra understanding, but only through the process of not judging harshly. I leave that to whoever...My ability to care for and even feel pain for others has led to greater efforts and intimacy than I could have had by other means, such as simple observation.

Empathy does not evaluate, but simply agrees that suffering is bad. Judgement (I don't refer to intelligent awareness) is what crushes the empathy out of us.

So I avoid dark people who feel little to nothing, since this is something I can pick up from them. To the poster who commented about the presence of liars, my experiences have been quite the same.

If I hang out and try to overlook it (rationalizing that people can say whatever they want), I end up with migraines or a sick stomach, lol.

Confronting them is never pleasant, since they seem to want to be listened to as they lie, but the alternative is simply unacceptable.

Rather than being concerned over my empathy, I simply focus on their lies, assess how committed they are to lying, and how much I will have to endure, and then act accordingly.

Usually this involves gentle questioning to offer them a chance to be accepted without lying, but therein lies the rub: it's then that one finds people who do not wish to deal in the truth.

They cannot feel the pain they inflict on more sensitive people, so it's hard to blame them anyway. Again, judgement kills empathy.

Intelligent awareness and acceptance of the person is all that is required.
Most of our problems with empathy seem to arise from assumptions that empathizing with someone is equal to condoning something or ignoring the factors that may be at play.

Not so. The more awareness I have, the more sympathy I can have...
After all, it's not my actual job or talent to judge. What I'm good at is caring with intelligence.

Of course, like many of the posters here, I also have had to withdraw from too much unrestricted contact with people in general. The random feelings I get from so many different people is just too much.

Also, the energy between people when their eyes meet is something that I seem to feel, aside from simple observation. There is so much suffering, and so many predators, it is just too much.

I can care more and do more if I don't overload myself, after all. But I marvel at how long I worked with the public and all the emotionally-significant encounters I had, but how now, things have changed so much. It's very difficult to explain, but the "rules" of society do not hold much water anymore.

With that added in, sometimes it really is too much to be around large groups of people. If one is spiritual, as well, this may be understood in those terms. Lots of different kinds of "energies" for lack of a better word seem to have no effect on some, a positive effect on others, and a chaotic effect on some.

When I look into a person's eyes these days, it's never a simple incident. People have told me that for a long time, but now I look at it as something to take more seriously. There have been some amazing encounters of comfort and prayer, strengthening and simple human support.

There have been some strange things, usually from people who suddenly get uncomfortable at simple questions, whose eyes are guarded from me, from whom there is nothing to fear at all.

I can only accept the fact that empathy is a powerful thing, not just sentiment. As a kid, I found no excuse worthy to not even feel for someone, which is certainly necessary to the later development of empathy.

It's not just a feeling, it is power somehow.



posted on Aug, 1 2010 @ 10:58 AM
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Empathy brings a richness to living, giving colour where black and white was all one could see before. Since it allows one to see life from different perspectives, one's own values and ideas can always be examined and you can respond fluidly to some of life's challenges.

Empathy means connection. One is never isolated when you can feel not only other humans but also the great majesty of nature.

I think the path of empathy can sometimes cause you to lose yourself if you feel others so much that your own self gets lost in the myriad of feelings coming towards you. Learning how to remain anchored in the flood of outside feelings and 'vibes' is hard to do but can be done.

Empathy means going beyond cultural, political, religious mores and seeing the person within their own contexts, beliefs and values. I can understand why a person does something wthin this context even though it might conflict with my own values and beliefs.

Some people are naturally empathetic. However, I think as a value to strive for, empathy is not largely taught within in our own culture anymore.

Panna



posted on Aug, 1 2010 @ 11:26 AM
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Originally posted by woodwardjnr

Your confusing sympathy with empathy. I'm not asking you to have sympathy for the taliban, but seeing if you can understand how they feel, what makes them do the things they do, what drives people to join the taliban? What makes them carry out the actions they do? The fact you have labelled them as animals suggests you have fallen for the same trick used by those who want us to believe that our enemies are somehow not human, which makes it easier to kill them.



Nope. I did not use sympathy for the talibans. And no, it is not me that is tricked, but you doing the tricks here.

I put myself in the shoes of that Taliban, and it was a feeling of power being one. When someone disagrees with me, I tell them it the will of the Almighty and they have to shut up. If they don't, my AK 47 does it for me. I can thrash anyone as I wish, stone or amput anyone as I wish and put the blame on the ALmighty, absolving myself of blame.

When true freedom fighters come fight me to stop my oppresion of others, I run screaming to the villages and to the world that I am being bullied, and fool others to gain sympathy.

No, that feeling stunned me at how a human can do such deprevations to his brother. I will empathise and sympathise with the afghan villages and innocents harmed around the world, but hell if i will ever, ever empathise or sympathise those humans who had ignore the teachings of the good prophet Mohammed on the Almighty's law, and misinterprete it to manipulate and fool others.

My advise to you is that if you want to spread your message of empathy DISHONESTLY, then you should have just stuck to afghan villagers and not include oppressors and terrorists such as the animals taliban.

Peace.



posted on Aug, 1 2010 @ 12:11 PM
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My advise to you is that if you want to spread your message of empathy DISHONESTLY, then you should have just stuck to afghan villagers and not include oppressors and terrorists such as the animals taliban.

Peace.



This thread is not about the taliban it's about empathy. I used the taliban as an extreme example. The point, being able to try and empathize with oppressors terrorists and those we find the most horrendous as well as those whom we admire. The idea, to get a deeper understanding of why certain people do as they do. What do we learn if we only try to understand those we admire rather than those you would rather label as animals.



[edit on 1-8-2010 by woodwardjnr]



posted on Aug, 2 2010 @ 01:02 PM
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reply to post by woodwardjnr
 


I know i have empathy... I am by nature a very forgiving person and often try and see things from others points of view. It hurts me when I see other suffering.

I remember hearing a story once about a group of British POW’s forced to work on the Burma railway during WW2. These solders, as most people know, were treated appallingly by the Japanese guards. Beaten and starved. Men often executed for the smallest of reasons. Sickness and diarrhoea common amongst the men.

During the later stages of the war it became more and more evident that things were not going well for the Japanese war effort. The men would see Japanese trains packed full of reinforcements heading towards the front lines... the troops on these trains were getting younger and younger. Trains caring the wounded would often head in the opposite direction.

One day a train carrying wounded stopped at an adjacent line to one the British were being forced to work on. The Japanese wounded were in a sorry state... packed into carriages and covered in blood, sweat and excrement... diseased and without hope these men knew that they would probably not survive the journey. Upon seeing this sight the British POW’s dropped their tools and, Ignoring the shouts of the guards and risking execution, grabbed their water canteens and what meagre rations they had and approached the train. They shared their food and water, they offered comfort, and they gave hope. And all this to their enemy’s.

What better example of empathy is there than this?



I believe that most people are born with the seed of empathy... but like any seed it needs to be watered and nurtured from seed, to sapling and eventually to oak.

If neglected it will wither and die in most... One of the reasons why good parenting is not just an issue for individual family’s... It’s an issue for the entire race.

There are also some rare individuals who simply do not have the ability to empathise regardless of their family upbringing... often these people develop the skills that enable them to feign empathy... but in their hearts they are cold.


Nice thread my friend... S+F



posted on Aug, 2 2010 @ 01:13 PM
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I am a very empathetic person, i wish i wasnt sometimes.

Its probably part of the reason why i almost always have a tendency to route for the underdog.



posted on Aug, 2 2010 @ 01:17 PM
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I don't think I have an ounce of empathy in my body. I am a hard ass, I guess. I think most of the time people create the situations they are in and need to "suck it up, buttercup."

Now, this does not mean that if I see someone going through a hard time, a death or sickness, or a victim of a crime, that I do not try to give comforting words and try be shoulder for them to cry on. But, I do not "feel" what they are going through. I can't. I am glad I can't though most of the time. I don't want to be bogged down with all of the grief, etc that I pick up from others.

Maybe I am just selfish. Don't know.



posted on Aug, 2 2010 @ 01:18 PM
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reply to post by woodwardjnr
 


I agree for if we all put ourselves in the shoes of those suffering and not well off or just of those from different races and religions, we would all see that its hard down here for most and this empathy would spawn compassion for our fellow brotheren. I also think the experiences one has in life helps to influence their empathy for they can always reference hardships through time and remind themselves of another they may be viewing. S&F this is a powerful point being made that if applied UNIVERSALLY who knows what these inperfect kingdoms would of created. nice


And yes I possess empathy deep in my soul it prevents me from taking sides religiously, racially, financially UNIVERSALLY ect...





[edit on 8/2/10 by Ophiuchus 13]



posted on Aug, 2 2010 @ 02:36 PM
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to have true empathy is to relate to another person's soul, because the souls are the equal quality between two people. However, one soul may be wiser than the other, so the perspectives must be clearly understood.



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