Thursday, 20 November 2008
Friday, 14 November 2008
Friday, 31 October 2008
Empathy. What does it mean? To put ourselves in the other person's shoes? How does this word represents itself in various contexts?
The etymology of the word has various sources. In 1903, a translation of the german word Einfühlung (from ein "in" + Fühlung "feeling"); in 1858, German philosopher Rudolf Lotze derived it from the Greek empatheia "passion," from en- "in" + pathos "feeling". 
In-feeling, and passionate. To have empathy for other(s) it's imperative to have a certain degree of feeling. It cannot be a completely rational endeavor. It could be so irrational that if you take a look for "empathy" in Wikipedia, you will immediately get this notice:
This article is about emotional capacity. For the GNOMEinstant messaging widgets, see Empathy (software).Not to be confused with Pity, Sympathy, or Compassion. This is an rather interesting note. The second sentence is specially intriguing. It clearly states that empathy shouldn't be confused with either pity (surfacing as a condescendent trait), sympathy (subjective to the individual "connection" to the one he sympathises with) or compassion (with a more spiritual tone, having "mercy" for the other, but, of course, this "other" has to have a specific profile). I also propose that empathy shouldn't be confused with tolerance. This last "emotional quality" is the least empathic of all, but we'll cover that later on.
The concept of empathy is in sync with something less condescendent than pity, more objective than sympathy and less judgemental than compassion. And certainly more fair than tolerance.
What would this "something" consist of? Do you have any ideas?