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  1. #41
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giggly View Post
    What I mean is, can someone who is not naturally empathetic learn how to become empathetic?

    I kind of think they can learn but only if they see their own deficit and want to learn without seeking any other gains.

    What do you think?
    Empathy is grounded in the mirror neuron system. I would think that if you have a mirror neuron system, which you should, then you can have empathy. I also think that stress and ego get in the way of empathy, but there are ways to diminish their hold on you, so, in theory, anyone should be able to expand their empathy.

    Side note, there was a study released last month that posited that psychopaths did actually have the capacity for empathy, but they were better able to turn it on and off. That's what I always believed.

  2. #42
    Ginkgo
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    I gotta admit, I love that @Mole is honing in and engaging with a single individual like this.

  3. #43
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    How have you responded to literacy?
    I use it, like every other tool at my disposal. I rather enjoy it, too.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  4. #44
    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    Let's grunt instead. That's a better way of communicating.

    This is something to aspire to:

    I am disappoint. There was no grunting.

  5. #45
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    Can it be learned, sure. Is it natural for me, NO!

  6. #46
    Theta Male Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giggly View Post
    I am disappoint. There was no grunting.
    Fine.



    Happy?
    [Trump's] rhetoric is not an abuse of power. In the same way that it's also not against the law to do a backflip off of the roof of your house onto your concrete driveway. It's just mind-numbingly stupid and, to say the least, counterproductive. - Bush did 9-11


    This is not going to go the way you think....

    Visit my Johari:
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  7. #47
    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    Yes, thank you. I'm happy.

  8. #48
    Ginkgo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giggly View Post
    What I mean is, can someone who is not naturally empathetic learn how to become empathetic?

    I kind of think they can learn but only if they see their own deficit and want to learn without seeking any other gains.

    What do you think?
    I look at it like I look at cognitive functions - you can emulate a function that's outside of your preference range and yield the same outer-consequences, but it's still not the same function it and won't necessarily be bound to an ingrained psychological schema. Therefore, it won't be as reliable, and it will drain you unless you practice it for years on end.

    However, I also think empathy isn't necessarily a process in which one feels for another's emotional state. Several misconceptions tend to float around it because peoples' very response to the word tends to be visceral and clouded.

    Simply understanding another individuals condition is, in my opinion, sufficient enough to be benevolent towards them. If you're not empathetic, you won't be bound to your own impression of an emotional state to the degree that you feel the urge to mend it. That, in itself, is a personal gain, whether you're finding comfort in your feelings about another regardless of their actual condition, or whether you're unintentionally imposing how they "ought" to feel in a given situation.

    I'm going to address the gist of your question without analyzing it too deeply - I don't think there is strong potential for someone's inherent weaknesses to flourish as true strengths. Flexing unused muscles can be beneficial, but it takes consistent dedication to instill a new skill. It may be a Monkey's paw.

  9. #49
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    Side note, there was a study released last month that posited that psychopaths did actually have the capacity for empathy, but they were better able to turn it on and off. That's what I always believed.
    Is this really empathy though? When a person ‘feels empathy’ essentially as means to get something and they can turn it off the moment it isn’t useful, wtf is that? I know it happens- I’ve dealt with it in people- and it’s convincing, but I have a hard time agreeing that it’s really empathy. If concern for another person’s feelings is entirely about the use value and not for the sake of itself, it’s a very empty form of merely accurately reading someone else’s feelings. It looks exactly like empathy, but there’s still some weird disconnect if it can be turned off like a switch.

    ****

    At the op: at least according to the Buddhist teaching I’ve been reading (which may or may not be representative generally of Buddhism), the way to cultivate empathy is to practice egoless-ness. The capacity to empathize is like any muscle, it needs to be worked on in order to build strength. If we don't pay attention, then it’s just human frailty for ego to come in to protect us- which atrophies the capacity to empathize. Ego is something which acts like a wall between ourselves and others- erected because of insecurity and fear- and the higher/thicker these walls are, the less we are able to truly empathize with others. I agree with this, it seems very true to me.
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

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  10. #50
    Superwoman Red Herring's Avatar
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    Since this is my mother tongue we are talking about:

    "Empathy" does not come directly from Ancient Greek, it is a modern creation and a translation into Greek of the German word "Einfühlung" or "Einfühlungsvermögen", i.e. the capacity to "feel into somebody". It started being used about 100 years ago when the texts of German writing thinkers (like Freud) had to be translated into other languages.
    The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. Neither love without knowledge, nor knowledge without love can produce a good life. - Bertrand Russell
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