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  1. #21
    Ginkgo
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    Sometimes helping others vent emulates empathy where none is actually needed. Taking action to "fix" a tragedy may be counterproductive for everyone.

    I don't think empathy for others, in its truest form, even exists. You'll never be able to enter the microcosm that is another individual to see what their emotional states are. "Empathy" is only an illusion adopted by those who've had similar experiences and think they're on the same page, which they might be, though they're actually reading entirely different books.

    Sympathy is a broader "What would most people feel in this situation". It's pretty easy to have a sense of sympathy for someone who've having their limbs sawed off.

    I don't think one is superior to the other. They just are.

  2. #22
    Energizer Bunny Resonance's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ginkgo View Post
    Sometimes helping others vent emulates empathy where none is actually needed. Taking action to "fix" a tragedy may be counterproductive for everyone.

    I don't think empathy for others, in its truest form, even exists. You'll never be able to enter the microcosm that is another individual to see what their emotional states are.
    We're all human. All it takes is imagination.

    It's harder the weaker the connection, for sure, but it's definitely possible.
    The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it, but the way those atoms are put together. ~ rCoxI ~ INfj ~ 5w6 so/sp

  3. #23
    Ginkgo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Resonance View Post
    We're all human. All it takes is imagination.

    It's harder the weaker the connection, for sure, but it's definitely possible.
    I don't get it.

  4. #24
    Certified Sausage Smoker Elfboy's Avatar
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    sympathy is emotional. it's a feeling of sadness and a compelling urge to do something to help them or comfort the,
    empathy is intuitive. it is an understanding of why the person feels the way they do, regardless of how it makes you feel. that being said, empathy often does lead to sympathy.

    example: I empathize with someone who beats his wife. I understand that he is stressed out, unaware of personal boundaries , strongly desires external control and is under the belief that his wife is a subordinate. that being said, I certainly don't sympathize with him, I want his ass thrown in jail :yes
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  5. #25
    Energizer Bunny Resonance's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ginkgo View Post
    I don't get it.
    Yes you do, I can tell ;D
    Quote Originally Posted by Elfboy View Post
    sympathy is emotional. it's a feeling of sadness and a compelling urge to do something to help them or comfort the,
    empathy is intuitive. it is an understanding of why the person feels the way they do, regardless of how it makes you feel. that being said, empathy often does lead to sympathy.

    example: I empathize with someone who beats his wife. I understand that he is stressed out, unaware of personal boundaries , strongly desires external control and is under the belief that his wife is a subordinate. that being said, I certainly don't sympathize with him, I want his ass thrown in jail :yes
    hm, I always thought it was the other way around D: actually, I don't know.
    The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it, but the way those atoms are put together. ~ rCoxI ~ INfj ~ 5w6 so/sp

  6. #26
    Ginkgo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Resonance View Post
    Yes you do, I can tell ;D

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  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by fecaleagle View Post
    I've always been confused by the concepts of sympathy and empathy. It seems like society highly praises empathy but doesn't care much for sympathy, which I think is opposite of what it should be. I see the word empathy being used everywhere and how it's so important for people to be empathetic (for instance, health care professionals). If you're not perceived as empathetic, you're shunned off as being "cold". But what about sympathy? I have a strong Fi and am very capable of feeling sympathy for others. I enjoy helping them out, even if I don't understand exactly why they are feeling vulnerable, sad, angry, etc. in a given situation. Of course sometimes I can't think of a way to help even if I want to, so I guess that comes off as cold? Then an empathetic person steps into the spotlight and can make the person feel better without even offering any help (other than understanding). For example, empathy seems to be a highly valued trait in physicians. I mean, sure, it would be nice for the doctor to be able to step in your shoes. But if it's empathy that everyone is after, the doctor doesn't necessarily have to feel an obligation to help you. They could take a "sucks for them" sort of attitude. Wouldn't sympathy be a better trait? Who cares if a doctor can RELATE to how you feel, as long as they feel sad for you and have an urge to help you even though they don't necessarily understand your situation.

    So I think sympathy should be more highly regarded since empathy doesn't even entail helping others but rather simply understanding where they are coming from. But I never hear people being praised for being sympathetic, or being told they should strive to become more sympathetic.

    I guess what I'm wondering is why it seems that society values empathy so much and sympathy just doesn't matter as much. Empathetic people are more likely to be very selfish, but sympathetic people are more inclined to being selfless, no?
    it seems you mess up the meanings. Sympathy is the basis/motivator for empathy. To be empathic you need good listening skills and deeply feel and understand what the person you listen to say. So you could say that empathy is the end result of sympathy.

    Empathy is not

    - My father just died.

    - Oh I know how you feel since I lost a hamster last month.

    Empathy is selflessly giving of yourself, because you understand what they need, while sympathy can end as the above example. I find sympathy to be an easy excuse not to do anything and be inert to a situation. But still you need sympathy as a motivator to do something for others (ie. empathy), I agree on that.

  9. #29
    Ginkgo
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    Jung:

    Empathy. An introjection of the object, based on the unconscious projection of subjective contents. (Compare identification.)

    Empathy presupposes a subjective attitude of confidence, or trustfulness towards the object. It is a readiness to meet the object halfway, a subjective assimilation that brings about a good understanding between subject and object, or at least simulates it. ["The Type Problem in Aesthetics," CW 6, par. 489.]

    In contrast to abstraction, associated with introversion, empathy corresponds to the attitude of extraversion.

    The man with the empathetic attitude finds himself . . . in a world that needs his subjective feeling to give it life and soul. He animates it with himself. [ Ibid., par. 492.]

  10. #30
    Senior Member fecaleagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elfboy View Post
    sympathy is emotional. it's a feeling of sadness and a compelling urge to do something to help them or comfort the,
    empathy is intuitive. it is an understanding of why the person feels the way they do, regardless of how it makes you feel. that being said, empathy often does lead to sympathy.

    example: I empathize with someone who beats his wife. I understand that he is stressed out, unaware of personal boundaries , strongly desires external control and is under the belief that his wife is a subordinate. that being said, I certainly don't sympathize with him, I want his ass thrown in jail :yes
    Interesting...I never considered empathy in this manner. I cannot bring myself to empathize with the man and it frustrates me deeply that you do haha, but it's hard for me to understand exactly why it bothers me. I can logically tell myself basically what you said, but I don't make any sort of emotional connection and I do not attempt to "understand" him. For instance I would never say "I understand that he is stressed out" like you did. I would think of the motives you mentioned but ONLY if someone asked me to and it is in a detached manner; the impulse to do it naturally just isn't there. I would skip the whole putting myself in his shoes part and I would call him an asshole, tell him I don't care why he did it, and would want him to be punished since he is hurting his wife. So I guess you feel empathy for the husband and sympathy for the wife, but I only feel sympathy for the wife. So it seems like most people do feel sympathy, but only some feel empathy plus sympathy.

    Could it be possible for some people to just try to understand why the man did it but care less whether he is punished or not? Like a fellow wife beater and woman hater could feel empathy for the man but think the woman deserves it. But I guess then there still would be sympathy, but directed towards the man?

    Quote Originally Posted by Within View Post
    Thanks but that chart is just an explanation of how the brain arrives at an empathetic response, and a far too much of a rudimentary breakdown of it to be of use to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by slowriot View Post
    it seems you mess up the meanings. Sympathy is the basis/motivator for empathy. To be empathic you need good listening skills and deeply feel and understand what the person you listen to say. So you could say that empathy is the end result of sympathy.
    So you think empathy follows sympathy? Whereas some others have mentioned the opposite. I'm struggling to see how an urge to help someone (sympathy) can come before understanding their situation (empathy). Or are you saying that the definitions are reversed?
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