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Empathy versus Compassion

DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

This video is quite long and has ZdoggMD (one of my go-to guys) interviewing Dr. James Doty, a neurosurgeon at Stanford and the founder/director for the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. The founding benefactor is H.H. The Dalai Lama.

Great video.

https://www.facebook.com/407504242094/posts/10158746158002095/

I also want to share this other one about how to spot misinformation online. It is only 7 minutes or so it could be an opener for some.

https://www.facebook.com/407504242094/posts/10158763019452095/

Comments

  • KeromeKerome Certainty is the enemy of wonder The Continent Veteran

    Here is the video as a YouTube link for those who prefer to avoid Facebook...

    I only watched the first 20 minutes, but it seemed like they were touching on a few interesting topics.

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    Thanks @Kerome. I was trying to do that but couldn't figure it out.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    Dan Harris just had on Daniel Goleman, of emotional intelligence fame, and they spent a bit of time on the distinction. From what I remember Daniel split empathy into three categories, cognitive empathy or the ability to understand things from another's perspective, emotional empathy or the ability to feel what another is feeling and empathic concern or what is more or less considered compassion.

    lobsterDavid
  • Can we sum up by saying empathy without compassion is neither.

    Davidlobster
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    @Lionduck said:
    Can we sum up by saying empathy without compassion is neither.

    While doing that would certainly increase our appreciation of the value of compassion I think our overall understanding would be poorer for it.

    I suppose I'm a nerd for accuracy and understanding so while I appreciate the sentiment to promote compassion I wouldn't agree that we should do that.

    David
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    @Lionduck said:
    Can we sum up by saying empathy without compassion is neither.

    I think it depends on the wording but strictly speaking, empathy is taking on anothers feelings as your own. That is not always a good thing and can cause such maladies as caregiver burnout and depression. Compassion is recognizing suffering and the desire to ease it, not the desire to put ourselves in the same position.

    I think empathy can be toxic when it is used as a weapon. Take Trump for example. He has his followers thinking he is so hard done by that many are still sending him money. Most cons play on others empathy in what we call "playing the victim".

    Also, we cannot rightly help someone in pain if we are suffering in the same way. I think one of the examples used in the video is that of a doctor trying to help a sick person while feeling the patience sickness. A psychiatrist trying to help someone with the same issues they themself suffers with.

    I think Thich Nhat Hanh said something like "all the water in the world cannot sink a boat unless it gets inside".

    Empathy allows the suffering to get inside and cloud our judgement.

    Mostly, I think you're right on the money but it depends on the individual and where they are in their training.

    lobsterKeromeperson
  • Important point from @David
    Empathy can be self indulgent pretend action, overwhelming us with emotion. A substitution for 'active empathy' or compassion. Compassion too can mask inaction.

    We do what we can?
    Wallowing in intense emotion may help us feel empowered whilst doing nothing. Most of us can empathise with these tendencies and feel compassion for ourselves as a start ...

    Kerome
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    I haven't looked into this in a while but there was some early research into the effectiveness in compassion training to help alleviate caregiver burnout. The hypothesis was that burnout is a result of emotional empathy overload and with that attitude alone care was often more about relieving the caregivers own distress at the suffering rather than directed towards the patient. I believe the early research showed some positive results. That compassion doesn't overwhelm in a negative way like emotional empathy in that way.

    Also to add to @David's point about Trump. Empathy is a quality con men and psychopaths are often strong in and use it to manipulate their targets.

    Kerome
  • In another thread someone has lost their beloved pet. Sometimes all we can offer is empathy. Witness to their pain. In such a situation, what else do we have?

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