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Teaching Empathy

 
 
EquesLignite
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Jun, 2009 04:38 pm
@Holiday20310401,
I have to say, empathy doesn't seem to be something that is able to be systematically "taught" like in a curriculum or a set of knowledge. Empathy comes from within, like conscience, that can be only "discovered" from the mind itself. It is not an external body that can be "planted" in mind, like making someone to memorize Gettysburg Address.
0 Replies
 
sarathustrah
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 06:03 am
@Elmud,
Elmud;71839 wrote:
I always thought that it meant that you felt someone elses pain and suffering.


yeah... more like that... not feeling sorry for someone or pitying them (which is sympathy) ...but a deeper understanding...

but i maintain that it can be learned and is learned, its not just an instinct and automatic... but the capacity for practicing it varies depending on personality and past. there is no curriculum to teach it, but i know personally i empathize alot because i have a very vivid imagination and im caring so when someone else is going through something, i can imagine vividly how it feels and i tend to really care. so it takes some qualities that can be found in some but not others...

but these qualities dont neccesarily get learned but at least can be encouraged. ...and sometimes possibly rewarded... to help boost the ability to have empathy.
0 Replies
 
parker pyne
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Jul, 2009 12:52 am
@Holiday20310401,
Trying to teach children an emotion can only make them understand it, but not make them feel it.

In fact, I'm starting to think that teaching someone empathy is actually harmful since they will think that it is a social obligation rather than a natural instinct.
nameless
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Jul, 2009 02:21 am
@parker pyne,
parker pyne;74977 wrote:
Trying to teach children an emotion can only make them understand it, but not make them feel it.

In fact, I'm starting to think that teaching someone empathy is actually harmful since they will think that it is a social obligation rather than a natural instinct.

If you think that you can teach empathy, if you think that it is an emotion, you don't understand it!
parker pyne
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Jul, 2009 02:27 am
@nameless,
nameless;75001 wrote:
If you think that you can teach empathy, if you think that it is an emotion, you don't understand it!

Woah woah! Read the first line of my post again.

I believe it is a mirrored emotion of another's.
nameless
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Jul, 2009 03:10 am
@parker pyne,
parker pyne;75002 wrote:
Woah woah! Read the first line of my post again.

Ok;
Quote:
Trying to teach children an emotion can only make them understand it, but not make them feel it.

Ok, so I am inferring that you think one can either teach or try to teach an emotion (which I doubt).
And as your second line is;
Quote:
In fact, I'm starting to think that teaching someone empathy is...

I am inferring, from the juxtaposition of the lines, that you consider empathy to be both teachable and an emotion.

Quote:
I believe it is a mirrored emotion of another's.

Mirrored?
So are you saying that empathy is perceiving another's ('mirrored') emotional state? Or that empathy is a 'mirrored' emotion?? Empaths are 'senders'?
parker pyne
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Jul, 2009 03:23 am
@nameless,
nameless;75012 wrote:
Ok;

Ok, so I am inferring that you think one can either teach or try to teach an emotion (which I doubt).
And as your second line is;

I am inferring, from the juxtaposition of the lines, that you consider empathy to be both teachable and an emotion.


Mirrored?
So are you saying that empathy is perceiving another's ('mirrored') emotional state? Or that empathy is a 'mirrored' emotion?? Empaths are 'senders'?

I said you can teach one to understand it, not feel it. Nothing about attempted teaching.

So yes, the notion of empathy is teachable.

Yes, I cosider it to be an emotion, since we can feel it. According to the dictionary, an emotion is "any strong feeling, such as joy or fear". When we identify with another's emotions, we also feel what they feel.

Empathy is a mirrored emotion; I see nothing wrong with that claim. As for the "empaths are senders" statement - I wouldn't necessarily say that, since the act of "sending" usually implies intention. When I cry, I usually don't intend other people to feel empathy for me.
nameless
 
  1  
Reply Sun 5 Jul, 2009 04:20 am
@parker pyne,
parker pyne;75014 wrote:
I said you can teach one to understand it, not feel it.

Really? Can you teach someone to understand an orgasm without their ever experiencing (feeling) it?

Quote:
So yes, the notion of empathy is teachable.

'Notion' relates to understanding like the rote knowing of a dictionary definition of orgasm relates to the 'understanding' of direct experience?
In that context, yes, one can certainly teach the dictionary definition of 'empathy' (or orgasm).

Quote:
Yes, I cosider it to be an emotion, since we can feel it.

I feel hot, I feel thirsty, I feel comfortable, I feel like a sandwich, I feel tired, I feel like going to the park, for a swim, I feel angry, I feel itchy, I feel like working today, I feel like starting right now, etc...
Are all of these things mentioned 'emotions'?
To 'perceive' something is to 'feel' it, in a way. We 'feel' our sensory input. The two terms might well be describing the same 'thing' from different Perspectives.

Quote:
When we identify with another's emotions, we also feel what they feel.

If we are truly identifying with someone, that someone can only be one and the same 'self'. One. One cannot, by definition, identify with anything other than 'self'. 'Self' is one's identity.
You and I feel the same feeling at the same time, as one.
Empathy can happen with a thought also. Empathy is not limited to feelings alone. Two (or more) can 'feel'/'think' the same thought, synchronously. An event of perception of Oneness through shared 'feelings' and/or 'thoughts'.

Quote:
Empathy is a mirrored emotion; I see nothing wrong with that claim.

The only weakness in your claim, as far as I can see, is the use of 'is', turning your statement into some claim of a 'Now and for all Universal Truth'. I don't think that is actually your intent, so i mention it.
Otherwise, as I said above, I can hang with that, as long as we don't limit empathy to just that (emotion, as that would be inconsistent with experience).

Quote:
When I cry, I usually don't intend other people to feel empathy for me.

Perhaps you mean (the judgemental ego wank of) 'pity' or 'sympathy' or worse, the vulgar (egoically vain) notion of 'charity'?
For an empathic 'link' to exist, you are both feeling/experiencing the exact same emotion and/or thought, simultaneously.
(No possibility of misunderstanding!)
No one feels empathy for another (as there is no 'other' in that 'place'). One can, as is usual, have no trouble manifesting 'compassion' as a corollary of an empathic 'connection'. Empathic experiences show us our oneness, all are self, we just experience that truth in dribs and drabs, an empathic moment here, an empathic moment there...

"Compassion (as I understand and experience it) means that we recognize their need for their present condition, and give them our love and understanding."

The direct empathic experience of oneness can transcends all feelings, all imagined limitations. Sometimes one can have an empathic link with many people, simultaneously. Gets a bit 'wierd' sometimes... The understanding od 'self' certainly changes.
(Long live the Borg! *__- )
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