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Compassion... Empathy... The Capacity for Both.

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Sundiata
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Compassion... Empathy... The Capacity for Both.

Postby Sundiata » Sat Nov 21, 2020 6:58 pm

I took some time to think today about empathy. I recall hearing that the human capacity for it is pretty limited: Dunbar's number. It's not an easy thing to achieve for everyone. There's always circumstances that we can't put ourselves in no matter how hard we try. That isn't to say that you should quit trying to empathize with others but instead, maybe that's not always the most immediate solution.

Rather than trying to empathize with every person, it might just be better to opt for compassion instead at the individual level. I'm not sure. I think that trying to be compassionate and nice is a generally good ethical default for any person.

Have you acted intentionally kind towards anyone lately? If so, in what way?

Is human nature oriented towards kindness and compassion?

Do you ever get tired of acting compassionately? I think the term is "compassion fatigue."
Last edited by Sundiata on Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Parxland » Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:10 pm

Sundiata wrote:I took some time to think today about empathy. I recall hearing that the human capacity for it pretty limited: Dunbar's number. It's not an easy thing to achieve for everyone. There's always circumstances that we can't put ourselves in no matter how hard we try. That isn't to say that you should quit trying to empathize with others but instead, maybe that's not always the most immediate solution.

Rather than trying to empathize with every person, it might just be better to opt for compassion instead at the individual level. I'm not sure. I think that trying to be compassionate and nice is a generally good ethical default for any person.

Have you acted intentionally kind towards anyone lately? If so, in what way?

Is human nature oriented towards kindness and compassion?

Do you ever get tired of acting compassionately? I think the term is "compassion fatigue."


I have a disability which is stigmatized with a lack of capacity for empathy. I reckon I have more empathy today than my fellow countrymen. Whether that's through my own means or the society around me has grown so dumb and apathetic is still up in the air.

Have you acted intentionally kind towards anyone lately? If so, in what way? At my job, I help elderly customers and make their day a little easier, a little quicker to save them time in their waning life. Despite it not being required by my job. Despite my opinion that they're likely supporting a man that got led to one of my family dying. Because it wasn't too far out of my way, because they asked, because I'd feel guilty if I didn't.

Is human nature oriented towards kindness and compassion? No. For example, if we see something cute like a puppy or kitten the urge we get to hug/squeeze it doesn't come from compassion or kindness; but it's born from a subconscious urge to crush the animal because of something to do with the brain being incapable of processing stuff properly. Something related to emotional health.

Do you ever get tired of acting compassionately? I think the term is "compassion fatigue."
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Postby Geneviev » Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:06 pm

Human nature is definitely compassionate and empathetic. It was the best for us always, so it's become ingrained in how we work. You still see it now, with so many people being willing to risk their own health and safety to care for people who are sick. There's so much good in people that we have to recognize.
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Postby Xmara » Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:56 pm

According to every online EQ test I've ever taken, I apparently don't have much empathy. And I guess that's kinda true for me. I don't really feel what other people feel (but I guess in a way that's a good thing, since I'm going in to forensics). I don't tell others that, because the second I say that I'm not that empathetic, I'm worried they'll think I'm a psychopath, and I'm not. That's because I'm actually a high-functioning sociopath. :p

Anyway, I try to be a nice person. I can't think of any specifics I've done recently. It's mostly just been little things, like opening doors for people. I did donate some food to a local food bank a couple of months ago, though.
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Postby The Holy Therns » Sat Nov 21, 2020 9:42 pm

Interesting topic.

Sundiata wrote:Have you acted intentionally kind towards anyone lately? If so, in what way?


Kinda? If settling some disputes that didn't concern me but people trusted me on and visiting a friend to have movie night while really not having the energy to do it counts, I did. But that's just basic friendship.

Is human nature oriented towards kindness and compassion?


I'd certainly like to think so, but I'm not sure. Anyone I like seems geared towards compassion.

Do you ever get tired of acting compassionately? I think the term is "compassion fatigue."


I get tired of interacting in general pretty easy, compassion has nothing to do with it.
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Postby Nobel Hobos 2 » Sat Nov 21, 2020 9:45 pm

Compassion and empathy won't get you far. Just ask a dog!
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Postby Sundiata » Sat Nov 21, 2020 10:36 pm

Nobel Hobos 2 wrote:Compassion and empathy won't get you far. Just ask a dog!

I've encountered a limited sample size with respect to dogs. I will say this, the fluffier, the better.
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Postby Albrenia » Sat Nov 21, 2020 10:40 pm

I find myself less compassionate and empathetic than I once was, although obviously I can still feel both.

I still try to live according to compassion though, since even from a less emotional angle that's the sort of world I want to live in.

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Postby Neanderthaland » Sat Nov 21, 2020 10:41 pm

Sundiata wrote:Do you ever get tired of acting compassionately? I think the term is "compassion fatigue."

I've never heard that term used before. But I know what you mean. I think it's more of a general tendency that it's hard to prioritize other people's needs when you yourself are feeling low. This is worse for introverts, for whom dealing with people is draining, not energizing.

Is human nature oriented towards kindness and compassion?

Obviously. This is true of any species with a highly social lifestyle. Of course humans, being apes, struggle with consistency and emotional stability.
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Sundiata
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Postby Sundiata » Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:00 pm

Albrenia wrote:I find myself less compassionate and empathetic than I once was, although obviously I can still feel both.

I still try to live according to compassion though, since even from a less emotional angle that's the sort of world I want to live in.

I'm inclined to agree with you. I had ideals when I was younger. However, with respect to human beings I've always been quite pessimistic. I don't think that people are innately bad, but I've always thought that they were feeble in their collective capacity, especially to care for others.

When you look at the world and the people who lead it, it's a strange thing because they're in a coveted spot, a spot that most people would do all manner of egregious things to reach. However, death and old age claim us all despite the goals we have. Being aware of life's shortness really puts into perspective the value of the human person.
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Postby Neutraligon » Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:18 pm

Empathy is a necessity for any group to function, so yes as a social species we tend to be empathic. Compassion is an extension of this empathy.
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Postby Saiwania » Sun Nov 22, 2020 12:35 am

I consider myself to have an iron heart like Reinhard Heydrich is said to have had.

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Postby An Alan Smithee Nation » Sun Nov 22, 2020 12:44 am

This video of a nine year old Kurdish girl auditioning, before she and her family drowned trying to get to the UK as migrants, breaks my heart.
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Postby Nanatsu no Tsuki » Sun Nov 22, 2020 12:56 am

Sundiata wrote:Have you acted intentionally kind towards anyone lately? If so, in what way?


Yes, by lending a sympathetic ear to a particular person.

Is human nature oriented towards kindness and compassion?


In some capacity, yes.

Do you ever get tired of acting compassionately? I think the term is "compassion fatigue."


Yes. I used to do it too much and got burned out. Then decided to be very selective with my compassion so as not to get taken advantage of or get mentally exhausted. You need to be compassionate to yourself too.
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Postby Stellar Colonies » Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:47 am

I'm introverted, which makes interacting with other people a chore as it is, but I hate seeing people upset or unhappy and want them to be happier (especially if I am the cause of those negative feelings). However, sometimes it is difficult for me to differentiate between me genuinely 'feeling for their feelings' and wanting them to feel better or me just feeling uncomfortable by their emotional display and wanting them to stop to make me feel more comfortable.

I like to think it's always mostly the former, but the latter is always there in some capacity. Either way, both would push me to make them feel better.
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Postby The Blaatschapen » Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:51 am

Sundiata wrote:I took some time to think today about empathy. I recall hearing that the human capacity for it pretty limited: Dunbar's number. It's not an easy thing to achieve for everyone. There's always circumstances that we can't put ourselves in no matter how hard we try. That isn't to say that you should quit trying to empathize with others but instead, maybe that's not always the most immediate solution.

Rather than trying to empathize with every person, it might just be better to opt for compassion instead at the individual level. I'm not sure. I think that trying to be compassionate and nice is a generally good ethical default for any person.

Have you acted intentionally kind towards anyone lately? If so, in what way?

Is human nature oriented towards kindness and compassion?

Do you ever get tired of acting compassionately? I think the term is "compassion fatigue."


So, yesterday, I was waiting on the elevator at the station ( I was with my bicycle), and I let a woman with child in cart go ahead first. I take the next one.

While in the elevator, I noticed a child's glove, so I picked it up. I went out of the station, saw where the lady went and cycled after her and gave the glove. She thanked me. I turned my bicycle around and biked towards where I needed to go.

Then I saw the other glove lying on the street. I was tired of it at that moment, so I left it there.
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Nakena
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Postby Nakena » Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:55 am

I am a rather kind and empathic person. Too much kind sometimes.
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Postby Nuroblav » Sun Nov 22, 2020 11:38 am

I think I've improved in this area over the past year (this might due to a change in my attitude towards my beliefs, although I don't think it's required), but it's not something I like to force onto people. See, I'm quite the introvert so 1) I understand how hard it can be to show compassion, and 2) I sometimes come across as rather harsh because I end up sometimes being too afraid to help out.

As for the human nature question, I don't buy into the concept of 'human nature' that much, unless by which you mean how humans act on average. In which case, I do think it can be in the right settings.
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Postby Dumb Ideologies » Sun Nov 22, 2020 12:05 pm

I've been told enough times that I'm not a particularly empathetic or compassionate person that there's probably a little bit of truth to it.

During lockdown I've regularly been dropping by to visit someone from work who lives alone and isn't in great health, but I've been relatively isolated myself and so it's not an entirely selfless act - speaking to someone other than the few people I'd otherwise chat to means I also get a little out of it personally.

I don't judge myself particularly harshly on this point. I have an anxiety disorder and so it stands to reason that I'm liable to get caught up in my own trivial shit and have limited capacity to focus on the struggles of others, particularly those I don't have a relation to. I tend to try to cheer people up and deal with uncomfortable situations by making jokes rather than be a deep listener or whatever as I'm much better at the former.
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Postby The Archregimancy » Sun Nov 22, 2020 12:05 pm

Saiwania wrote:I consider myself to have an iron heart like Reinhard Heydrich is said to have had.


Reinhard Heydrich was also so unpopular with the people he was supposed to be governing that he ended up being assassinated before the age of 40; so I'm not sure I would recommend setting out to follow that particular potential role model.

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Postby Sundiata » Sun Nov 22, 2020 12:21 pm

The Archregimancy wrote:
Saiwania wrote:I consider myself to have an iron heart like Reinhard Heydrich is said to have had.


Reinhard Heydrich was also so unpopular with the people he was supposed to be governing that he ended up being assassinated before the age of 40; so I'm not sure I would recommend setting out to follow that particular potential role model.

That's crazy.
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Postby Sundiata » Sun Nov 22, 2020 12:23 pm

Saiwania wrote:I consider myself to have an iron heart like Reinhard Heydrich is said to have had.

Get that Nazi mess out of my thread. Disgusting.
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Postby The New California Republic » Sun Nov 22, 2020 12:25 pm

Saiwania wrote:I consider myself to have an iron heart like Reinhard Heydrich is said to have had.

...it's just bad identifying with/making a connection with the architect of the Holocaust ngl.
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Postby Saiwania » Sun Nov 22, 2020 12:36 pm

The Archregimancy wrote:Reinhard Heydrich was also so unpopular with the people he was supposed to be governing that he ended up being assassinated before the age of 40; so I'm not sure I would recommend setting out to follow that particular potential role model.


Heydrich's rule wasn't actually as harsh as it could've been. He was actually successful to a large extent in reducing unrest via a carrot and stick approach. He mercilessly went after his enemies but also threw the Czechs a bone so as to win over some loyalty. Rations and wages were increased in his jurisdiction of the Reich. He was fully competent and successful in his role within Hitler's circle. His assassination may've been done by Czechs but it was primarily the fault of the British from what I can tell.

I really do mean it. Growing up, I was verbally mistreated by a sibling too much and I have a ton of hatred in my heart. I'm bad towards them in return and I relish when they suffer any setback which has come to pass before. I never could get myself to care or know other people's emotions and when I see suffering I more often than not don't care. After all, I've never been in touch with my own emotions either. I'm perhaps just incapable of doing so.

In any case, I embrace my capacity for cruelty. I don't see it as a disorder that I can fix or that'd otherwise impose difficulties for me. If for example, it makes my romantic prospects non-existent; it doesn't upset me. Instead, I'll simply learn to be content in celibacy and use money for what I'm missing if I think I'm missing anything. Other people are more draining than rewarding for me.
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Postby Suriyanakhon » Sun Nov 22, 2020 12:41 pm

Saiwania wrote:I consider myself to have an iron heart like Reinhard Heydrich is said to have had.


Being cruel isn't a sign of strength, it's weakness.
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