An Observation – “What is Empathy?” – Psychology – 2/4/2020

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Many will believe there are those who “lack empathy”, because such people are “unkind” or “insensitive”. Such may not be the case, considering what empathy actually is.

Empathy is “sight”, or “vision”. It is the “awareness” into a person’s world, their light, and their realm of suffering.

Therefore, the “action” that has to do with aiding a person, has nothing to do with empathy. One can believe that a person’s problem is far too deep for simple care and comfort, and must require some disciplinary focus, so that the problem can be taken out. Like a bullet that has embedded deep into a soldier’s flesh. One cannot simply dig the bullet out, but must perform surgery while the soldier is placed under anesthetic.

Deep within, and not on the surface, is where “empathy” has its purpose, and takes shape.

It is the definition of humanity, this empathy. Deep understanding, like diving into an ocean. Though, there is still only the “sight”, and still, never the action. The “action” is decided upon, after one realizes what to do for the wound.

If a person, who is the suffering one, desires nothing more than coddling, then anything from those who have heeded those desires, will not “see” any deeper into the problem. That is, they will not empathize, and the best they can do, is sympathize. “Sympathy” is opposite from “empathy”, because sympathy is more-so suited to placing a wounded person into a room full of other wounded people, to be treated with the same aid.

Would a doctor feel empathy for every person he or she aids? No. That is because no doctor, despite their career being geared towards saving lives, would never have the sheer volume of time, to see into every person’s heart. Soon, it becomes more-so a job, than a work of humanity. Thus, they sympathize, and that’s the best they can do.

Empathy is sight, and to relate that notion to the idea that a surgeon can dig out a bullet, is merely taking what humanity is, and turning it towards a practical application. Empathy, nor love, nor humanity, is ever practical, because as has been said, empathy is without action, being only sight.

The vision, or the understanding, of a person’s problem, and would a doctor ever begin to weep, just from staring a moment too long? That may be empathy, though it would not occur for every patient.