The image depicts a mirror neuron admiring itself in the mirror. But do mirror neurons even exist? If not, what is the underlying neural implementation mechanism for empathy? At another level of analysis, how is empathy like oxygen for the… Read More ›
the word itself in English “empathy” was not invented until a Cornell University psychologist, Edward Bradford Titchner, was translating (1895) one of the innovators who are credited with founding psychology as a science, namely, Wilhelm Wundt – and Titchener invented the word “empathy” to translate the German “Einfühlung”.
When one experiences the lack of empathy as a boundary issue or even a boundary violation, including a dignity violation, then the response is narcissistic rage in an attempt to get back one’s own and re-establish the boundary. I suggest this is a primitive, primary process response that is rarely well thought out or even all that adaptive – except perhaps in a context of self-defense against an immediate danger – but it is a common response. This does not jive with the average everyday understanding of empathy but it is the heart of the matter: wherever there is empathy – can narcissistic rage be far behind?
Surveys show that most people think that empathy is compassion. The world certainly needs more compassion, but it is not synonymous with empathy. Empathy tells you what the other person is experiencing as a vicarious experience, and not an identification; compassion (and ethics) tells you what to do about it. Empathy is oxygen for the soul. If one is feeling short of breath at the end of the school year or business cycle, it is possible that they are in need of expanded empathy.
Empathy is oxygen for the soul – for teachers and students, here is a model curriculum for empathy studies in diverse contexts.
Empathy Triple Play: 3 books on empathy: hear about the book that got me thrown out of the local institute for psychoanalysis
Empathy is oxygen for the soul. Short of breath? Maybe one needs expanded empathy. Get some – along with a light snack – at this event.
3 Empathy Books: Meet the Author Book Signing: Short of breath? Empathy is oxygen for the soul! Get expanded empathy.
Empathy is oxygen for the soul. Short of breath? Maybe one needs expanded empathy!