historical empathy

Psychiatry and Horror – in the Movies!

In addition to mastering the unknown through its depiction, the “pay off” is to confront images of the fragmentation of the self, annihilation of the self, and loss of control of the self’s boundaries. That is perhaps why audiences are strangely attracted to horror films. They give a specific form to our most primitive fears, binding these deep fears to a specific something that can be objectified and can be overcome by the cinematic equivalent of the “cavalry to the rescue” or even by counter magic. It should be noted that people run from the theatre if they believe their lives are really in danger; but the views stay in their seats, having actually paid money to be frightened vicariously by the experience of watching a horror film.

The Secret Underground History of Empathy

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.