Why Empathy Is Not the Best Way to Care | Paul Bloom

Why Empathy Is Not the Best Way to Care | Paul Bloom

I argued empathy is a poor moral guide. It’s biased. It’s enumerate. It zaps the spirit. It can be weaponized to make us worse people. But one question I often get is what replaces
it? And in my book I make a distinction between
empathy and compassion. Now a lot of people think the terms mean the
same thing and it’s not an argument of words. You can use whatever words you want. But psychologically there are two different
processes. One is what I’ve been calling empathy which
is you’re suffering, I put myself in your shoes. I feel your pain and that has all sorts of
effects, most of them bad I would argue. But a second distinct process is compassion
where I care about you. I care about your welfare but I don’t necessarily
feel your suffering. Now you might say well that’s just a verbal
difference or how do we know such a compassion exists. But there’s some really cool research exploring
this and actually I got into this because I was at a conference in London and I bumped
into Matthieu Ricard. He was hard to miss, long saffron robes, beatific
smile. The happiest man on earth. And I got to talking to him and he asked me
what I was up to and I told him that I was against empathy. And to me that felt kind of awkward but I
thought, you know, telling a monk you’re against empathy. But he said oh, empathy. Of course you should be against empathy. And he began to tell me about his research
and then I realized there’s a body of research, neuroscience research that distinguishes empathy
from compassion, exactly the distinction I was looking for where they put people in scanners,
FMRI scanners and they get them to engage in empathy meditation where you feel the suffering
of the other person. You imagine feeling it. And you compare that to compassion meditation
where you care for people. Loving kindness they call it. Without any empathic connection. And this work which was done in collaboration
to the neuroscientist Tania Singer illustrates a real sharp difference where empathy is exhausting,
it is unpleasant, it is difficult and it makes you withdraw. Compassion is exhilarating, it’s energizing,
it is seen as a positive experience and it makes you approach. It makes you more likely to help. And since then there’s been other researchers. Some work by David DeSteno out of Northwestern
looking at the effects of mindfulness meditation. And I’m naturally skeptical about this work. A lot of claims about mindfulness meditation
are often overblown and I think we should be cautious about them. But DeSteno’s work has been replicated a
few times and it seems robust. And the finding is it makes us nicer. It makes us more compassionate and more kind
for strangers. And there’s not exactly consensus as to
why this is so but one speculation they have is it makes us nicer because it dampens our
empathic feelings. Less empathy, more compassion, more kindness. A lot of relationships are based on other
things and I actually think for many relationships empathy gets in the way. So think about what you want from a doctor
or a therapist. You want them to understand you. You want them to care about you. But do you want them to feel your pain and
feel your suffering? On the one hand if they do so, they’ll be
exhausted. They’ll suffer from burnout. If a therapist sees a series of patients for
50 minutes each day and she feels their depression, their anxiety, their fear, their anguish she
wouldn’t make it through a week. But more than that it would make them less
effective at what they do. Think about what you want when you see a doctor
and you’re very anxious. Do you want the doctor to be anxious? No, you want the doctor to respect you, to
understand you, to listen to you, to be concerned about you. But not to echo your anxiety or your fear. Certainly for a therapist if I go to see my
therapist and I’m deeply depressed I don’t want her to get deeply depressed. Now I have two problems. I have me and I have her. I want her to look at me with that therapist
look and say so how does that make you feel? I want her to have some distance from me so
she can set herself to solving my problems and to providing a more realistic perspective. Or take parenting. You might have a teenage son or teenage daughter
who’s extremely anxious for some reason, maybe he or she left the homework for the
last minute and is just freaking out. A good parent does not freak out along with
their child. A good parent says okay, calm down. Let’s take a minute. Let’s figure out what to do. Take a breath. And is supportive and calm and loving. But doesn’t inherit the anxieties and sufferings
of their children. Part of what it is to love somebody is not
to share their suffering but try to make it go away. Now it is complicated. In intimate relationships I think there is
a place for empathy. Often we want to share our feelings and we
want to share the feelings of others. Sometimes in a romantic relationship, a couple,
one person will feel angry or humiliated or upset and wants their partner to feel the
same thing to share it. Sometimes if you have a kid and your kid is
enthusiastic about something sharing the kids enthusiasm is important. I don’t doubt that empathy plays some such
role but I think we tend to overstate it. I think when we think hard about what other
people need, what it takes to be a good person, a good friend, a good parent what really matters
is understanding and compassion but empathy often gets in the way. In some way my book is an optimistic book
because I argue about all of our limitations and how empathy leads us astray. But in order to make that argument we also
have to have an appreciation of we’re smart enough to realize that empathy could lead
us astray and that we’re smart enough to act so as to override its pernicious effects. So it’s empathy that causes me to favor
somebody who looks like me over somebody who doesn’t. Or somebody from my country or ethnicity over
a stranger. But it’s rationality that leads me to say
hey, that’s not reasonable. There’s no reason to do it. It’s not fair. It’s not impartial. And so we should try to override empathy. So what I argue is that we have the capacity
for rationality and reason. This is actually fairly controversial. In my field my fellow psychologists, philosophers,
neuroscientists often argue that we’re prisoners of their emotions, that we’re fundamentally
and profoundly irrational. And that reason plays very little role in
our every day lives. And a good one of the main goals of my work
is to argue against that. Now there’s a specific argument that is
often made which I think is just not a good argument at all which is to say well, determinism
of a sort is true. What we do, how we act, how we think is the
product of events that have started a very long time ago plus physical law. We are physical creatures. We can’t escape from causality so we’ll
just continue doing what we’re doing. And for the most part I actually agree with
that. I think that notions of more responsibility
can be reconciled with determinism. But I think determinism is correct but none
of that challenges rationality. And as an illustration you could imagine a
computer that’s entirely determined but is also entirely rational. You could imagine another computer that’s
entirely determined but is capricious and arbitrary and random. And so even in a deterministic universe the
question remains what sort of computer are we. Are we emotional creatures or are we rational
creatures? But there is nothing, not the slightest bit
of inconsistency between the claim that we live in a determined universe and that we’re
rational reasoning creatures.

100 comments on “Why Empathy Is Not the Best Way to Care | Paul Bloom

  1. Eorhythm Post author

    Sounds to me like he and his cohorts are conflating empathy with poor emotional boundaries and regulation, which makes a certain amount of sense within a culture that generally doesn't effectively help teach their youth those basic skills. But as others have said in the comments, empathy is a precursor and motivator for compassion, and I can't imagine one without the other. I had to learn through trial and error just how to cope with my own intense empathic experience because I was often driven to misery. Now that I've developed better personal boundaries and practical applications, my empathic response is a powerful tool, not a curse.

  2. Rob Wilson Post author

    Understanding someone requires empathy; that's what the word has come to mean. I'm a writer, I think about words a lot and empathy is the only word that captures thinking about others who you otherwise would have no connection to. Charity is giving something, Compassion is generally a more strong affectionate feeling for those generally close to you, but empathy. Empathy is how media and story-telling work. If I can get you to feel my character being shot in the leg, then I'm doing a good job, and it may be tiring, but the reader is learning something deep about the character and themselves.

  3. Andrew Holcrft Post author

    living kindness (metta) meditation is the most fulfilling thing one can do in this hostile world

  4. Mnogojazyk Post author

    "Are we emotional creatures [or] are we rational creatures?"

    Are the two concepts so mutually exclusive? Can't one be a mix or blend of both?

  5. Tracy Post author

    The work of Singer is groundbreaking. Neuroscience is providing a more concrete understanding around the concepts of empathy and compassion.

  6. Chloe Goodman Post author

    so basically instead of getting others' heads, try to help and share. But I'm too good at observing people, empathy is the path way to master manipulation.

  7. strpwnr3 Post author

    Too many logical flaws here. You won't get depressed by showing empathy for other people's depression, that's like saying your leg will break when you see someone break their leg. If you exclude empathy, then you exclude valuable information, and it could leave you insensetive to others. My last point; why on earth would you try to make it sound like empathy and compassion are mutually exclusive, when they're clearly not?

  8. jjsiegal Post author

    Empathy is where you can actually "FEEL" someone else's pain, joy or suffering. NOT GOOD. Not to mention the thought of being OVERWHELMED with feelings and emotions.

  9. Brock McClain Post author

    I think the more our society progress, the more likely we feel less empathy. I think we're now more liberal about our relationship than ever. Cheating is probably at the highest rate and backstabbing is perhaps just a fun social game now. What do you guys think?

  10. GulFayyaz Nabi Memon Post author

    Dr Bloom every word you said is true as a therapist but still disagree !!! Find the significance in between.

  11. Margo Hannah Post author

    You do not need to feel crappy to relate to someone who feels crappy.. I think maybe he is getting understanding that pain mixed up with feeling it..

  12. elsa Grace Post author

    This man is confused. What he is calling empathy is actually sympathy which you s feeling the feelings of others which I agree is not helpful. Too bad about his confusion.

  13. Adam Blaknovski Post author

    Load of utter shite. People who are empathic will be so, people who aren't, might care, that is compassion, and usually is limited to self serving ends, making unfeeling people feel better about their missing depth of care that comes from seeing everyone as equal, and our pain as similar.

  14. MaryEllensYTVideos Post author

    Compassion is healthy only inasmuch as it is fueled by an empathetic experience. Empathy followed by compassion is the path. However, sustained empathy for all – all the time may be dysfunctional. Perhaps compassion without empathy is completely ego-based. Even narcissists can demonstrate compassion if it makes them look good.

  15. Serge K Post author

    Empathy first, and only then compassion. Feel the pain and depression of another completely and then show him or her how you get out of it. Paul Bloom suggested the bureaucratic way of handling the pain of others. For a policeman at a crime scene that would work, but God keep everyone away from friends and relatives like that.

  16. #1Lazer Post author

    I haven't finished the video yet, but I'll comment anyways. I think both are important. Yes, chronic empathy is a problem. But no empathy is just as large a problem. Empathy serves a purpose. When relating to someone and gaining their trust, helping them realize you truly care etc… that is good for a short initial timespan, but you must be willing to transition from that to compassion. And then actually be of service or help to them. Done in a truly positive way for all parties you can't just have one or the other and have it work out to the best conclusion.

  17. tazmina777 Post author

    Hmm I wouldn't want to go to therapy with this guy. He needs to include the concept of boundaries and self care. Some knowledge of energy techniques such as protection, cord-cutting and grounding would also help immensely. But a lot of psychologists don't believe in this.

  18. Ana Tea Post author

    Excellent and timely message. Thanks for sharing!!! I totally agree, and my experience of life has confirmed it. To reconcile opposing opinions, I would share two reflections …
    First: There are 3 positions that we can have in front of the experience of the "other", Empathy on the one hand, and Compassion and Pity on the other. Neither empathy nor pity will allow you to help the "other", only compassion will give you the tools, because compassion means that "I am with you in your passion," means that I understand you and consequently I can help you.
    Second: That help would be, not from the "rational" but from the "objective", because perhaps the word "rational" many associate it with insensitivity, and I do not think that "being insensitive" is the idea that the psychologist wants to share.
    Sorry for my English, I hope it is correctly expressed …

  19. Jaime Flor Post author

    I think it's a good point, but true compassion comes from empathy. Sympathy is feeling sorry for people and it comes off as insensitive or disingenuous. I think separating empathy from compassion is black and white thinking. No doubt, there are downsides to being overly empathetic, but IMO, that would suggest a lack of balance and boundaries instead.

  20. Ryan Blake Post author

    Empathy is the investigative tool which informs us. Then Compassion is an attitude on what problems and solutions we recognise which informs our action. Without Empathy I would argue that compassion is not possible. it is easier to hate someone you do not understand.

  21. Asmongold Highlights Post author

    what if u cant do nothing to solve the problem? like a terminal illness or someone u know is going blind?
    yes there is no reason to care because you cant do nothing, but you still think about that problem that wont go away

  22. Tess Doucet Post author

    It really is a pity that Bloom starts mixing up empathy and sympathy, whereas we could actually really use more nuancing on empathy itself – what kinds exist, when to use it, when not to use it – on the one hand, and aspects such as connecting/emotional energy on the other. It seems to me Bloom has little first hand experience of empathy, or he'd sing a completely different tune. Yes, in fact I feel sad for him and it makes me wonder: why he would feel the need to reject such an important and valuable concept? Maybe some kind of disappointment in his personal life/therapy/relationships? I'd be interested to learn about his personal experiences. That would clarify his position and enable further development of these important emotional concepts.

  23. HeartOfSky Post author

    Yeah, I just stopped at "Empathy is a poor moral guide".

    This man is a fool and quite possibly lacks a firsthand understanding of what Empathy actually is. Mind you… this world is exactly where it is right now (a large shit hole), because of the profound lack of empathy people have for each other. Sure, there's compassion and sympathy. Neither of those really get to the core of connecting to another person.

    Whatever comes after this man's first sentence I'm going to assume is complete and utter bullshit.

  24. JD Mumma Post author

    WTF* Empathy is "Poor moral guide"?
    I'm going to go way out on a limb here and take a wild guess that this Paul Bloom guy is not teaching the Logic & Critical Thinking Class at Yale University!  
    1) He fallaciously (false dilemma/dicotomy) frames empathy as only focusing on "suffering". Human can empathize with numerous feelings/emotions/experiences – joy, pleasure… not just suffering
    2) As presented his perspective and research seems to be cherry picked to match his bias (confirmation bias).
    3) Of course any empathy meditation focused only on suffering is going to be: unpleasant, exausing, difficult… no experiment needed, just basic critical thinking.

    *What The Fallacy

  25. Anthony Goodman Post author

    Oh dear…! This, and Tania Singer's work, and Brene Brown's work, is all fantastic stuff, but there are too many crossed wires in defining the words, compassion, empathy and sympathy. No doubt it's because our dualistic language and thinking makes it so difficult to agree on clear definitions. These words are signposts for behaviours, feelings and emotions, and there are always two or more viewpoint and numerous situations to consider, when it comes to using these words. BE CAREFUL with them, and make sure you know what YOU mean, and then you make clear what MEANING you're broadcasting when using these words. Otherwise will get in a frightful mess, won't we..?

  26. Luftata McSkanky Post author

    The problem with this sort of reasoning is that it separates emotions from decisions. Doing this makes it more difficult to distinguish between right and wrong. There are strong and reasoned arguments for genocides, many claiming to help the targeted group but often times it is the pain felt at the thought of others suffering that prevents such damage from being done.
    There are also varying degrees to which a person can empathize that don't require getting exhausted.

  27. Per Olsen Post author

    He, and the Lama, forgets that empay could be about love and happines… i would never use a doctor (or Guru) that would have no Empaty for my love, compassion express poverty enpaty – and I would never subscribe to a Lama that is set to never feel love one-on-one! Get a life, as you only get one… <3

  28. Dennis Grass Post author

    What we have here, is a FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE……
    Layman`s definitions vs. Psychology definitions vs, dictionary definitions

    Sharing the feelings (empathy) vs. pity for the other person (compassion)
    AND then…. the continuum issue.
    Paul Bloom is talking about full blown empathy, which overlaps with mirroring.

  29. Russell Spears Post author

    I think his work has not provided enough clarity, though it has brought some good useful distinctions.

    My personal take makes more useful distinctions: Having a feeling about something is what #Meaning means! If you have no feeling about something it is likely an abstract notion that you don't "feel you understand". Feelings build connections in my opinion: connections between people and even ideas in our own heads.

    No I see #Sympathy as having the same emotionality (This is the assumptive element he mentioned).

    #Empathy is having your own emotional reaction to others suffering – it may or may not be the same.

    #Compassion is a very moral perspective that may or may not require sympathy or empathy to be meaningful to the compassionate person.

    Having a #Feeling (some type of sympathy or empathy) about something is necessary for therapy, because it shows a meaningful connection. Thus empathy is key for therapeutic work and – or else a toaster with AI can do the same work someday soon…can you even imagine the situation…. lol

  30. Paul Muwadeeb Post author

    I get where he is coming from of course but you cannot have the one without the other, surely? Like anything, balance is key, if kept in balance, Empathy and Compassion will mediate each other.

  31. dgk934 Post author

    Empathy: noun. The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

    The base problem here is that the formal definition blurs two things, understanding + sharing.

    If I understand what Paul is saying, he is saying that the sharing part is often harmful. I agree with that. But the understanding part is essential, and something that he kind of pushes into this other word 'compassion'.

    So basically, I agree with him, that 'sharing' peoples feelings is not always a good thing, but I don't like how he uses the language.

  32. Kaisei Inoue Post author

    This is confusing. I need more explanation about the distinction between empathy and compassion.

  33. Danny Vela Post author

    Pity – Feeling bad for someone without doing anything.

    Sympathy – Hoping someone will feel better without feeling emotion and not helping them

    Empathy – Feeling emotion for the person because you've had personal experience and you know how they feel and not doing anything to help, just saying "you know how it feels".

    Compassion – Having personal experience but the emotion they have motivates you to help, care and you want to help the person find a solution.

    Altruism – Wanting to help the person (because you feel like it's the right thing to do) find a solution but don't have personal experience in knowing how they feel.

  34. Dr. Cinder Post author

    Ram Dass (a guy famous for sitting with dieing AIDS patients and a near living saint) gave a similar talk the same points. This is an incredibly advanced talk.Many of the negative comments here are from people who haven't actually experienced compassion or empathy yet. Go actually do some good deeds kids. Go volunteer at a prison or a hospice. Go help a mentally ill person. Care for a dieing relative. Come back and watch this video again.

  35. prodigygod1 Post author

    i think many here are using their selective hearing and looking at it in a black and white perspective which isnt what i got from what he said. i believe he said compassion should be valued more than empathy but doesnt mean empathy should be voided out of the picture completely. when trying to drive a point all the way sometimes we as people talk as if its black and white when point encompasses most if not all of the conversation at hand but doesnt mean it is. maybe if at the end he would take a step back and tldr it into compassion>empathy but empathy still relevant which i still think he kinda did. maybe im completely wrong but these comments man..

  36. CJusticeHappen21 Post author

    Question: I understand that Psychopaths cannot feel empathy. Is it possible for psychopaths to feel compassion?

  37. gareth hodgson Post author

    I agree with this but at the same time don’t, I empathise with someone’s pain I feel how they feel because I believe you can’t get someone out of hole without the understanding of what it’s like in it, but in saying that while I feel it the pain dosnt matter which is a strange thing to say and it’s not that simple of corse. I feel how they feel without the side effects of drowning in it more like if you had a broken leg once if someone had one you could relate you could empathise with them but that dosnt mean your leg is broken. The side effect of this of corse is the robotic impact it has because you have to somewhat shut down you own emotions to do it because if you don’t you will drown that and regardless as to weather you feel there pain and understand most people won’t believe that you truly do because how could you unless your leg is broken too. But it dose allow you to better find a solution because you understand where they are and so it’s easier to figure out how for them to get out.

  38. Besty Post author

    Although I find merit in Paul Bloom's version of “empathy” and its repercussions, I believe there is dangerous potential for misunderstandings, hence the disagreeing comments below.

    Empathy: ‘the ability to understand and share the feelings of another’. Nowhere in this definition does it state to become immersed and overwhelmed with another’s experience.

    In the therapeutic world, empathy is seen as the ability to understand another’s experience from their point of view, but not allowing the other’s feelings to consume your being. In other words, to walk in someone else’s shoes but keeping your own socks on – no easy task.

    When applying Bloom’s version of ‘empathy’ to the example of the ‘bleeding hearted liberal’ (which he goes on to do in another video), this hypothetical liberal when reacting to political media and discourse, is trying to understand other people’s negative experiences but is letting the feelings of the other consume him/her. In other words, the liberal is walking in someone else’s shoes but has forgotten to keep his own socks on. They are not embodying the therapeutic world’s version of empathy.

    Now given the therapeutic definition of empathy from above, lets compare it to the definition of compassion. Compassion: ‘sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others’ (and for some ‘accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering’).

    Nowhere in the definition of compassion does it explicitly state to put yourself in another’s internal frame of reference or to ‘walk in their shoes’. Since many people (such as the ‘bleeding heart liberal’) will try to understand others’ pain and suffering by putting themselves in the others’ shoes, they certainly aren't just doing ‘compassion’. So perhaps it would make more sense to tell people to be correctly ‘therapeutically empathic’ rather than ‘compassionate’ since the natural tendency of some people is to put themselves into another’s frame of reference anyway.

    Since I first learnt about empathy in the therapeutic sense I can see why Bloom's version may cause disagreement and feelings of disservice to the word. Alas, no one owns the word empathy and gets to decide what it absolutely means. This is the blurred phenomena that comes with language and definitions.

    TLDR: I believe Bloom needs to highlight the distinction between his version of ‘empathy’ and the therapeutic world’s version. Bloom’s version does not equate to the therapeutic version. Bloom says, “it isn't an argument of words” and yet semantics is inherently involved here.

  39. scope flash Post author

    Compassion is dangerous. A mother bear is compassionate towards her children. A mother bear will also rip your face off if you get near her children. Even if the perceived threat is not a threat at all. Compassion is irrational.

  40. K R Post author

    How I wish I had come across this last year. I went and messed up a friendship by making this mistake.

  41. Chris Kokolios Post author

    I think empathy is something encrypted into the DNA of a person it is difficult to make a highly empathetic person lose that ability but we don’t have the same rate of empathy for any person it is higher for our loved ones like parents and children than the parent of my former schoolmate for example

  42. Avani Gupta Post author

    Tysm sir. I too felt so.. Thanku coz i was looking for such a video and it really helped a lot to know the thing

  43. Paul S Post author

    "[empathy] is enumerate" Huh? Enumerate is a verb meaning to count or iterate. How does this relate to empathy?

  44. Jaap Rozemeijer Post author

    Question of non native english speaker. He uses enumerate in the first sentence. What does this mean?

  45. Sam Naven Post author

    Empathy: The ability to understand and share feelings of others.
    Compassion: Sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.

    Both this psychopathic dickheads definitions are wrong and is just more evidence on the danger of psychologists, psychiatrists and other so called "mental health professionals" sorry the human brain is just too complex to stereotype and label people with and science will attest to that. People like this guy are incredibly dangerous if these are the lies they're trying to convince people of.

  46. James Love Post author

    This is exactly the kind of nonsense that has people who live outside the ivory tower of academia having lost near-absolute faith in said tower.

    How, exactly, could I respond to my thearpist being burnt out, or even tell what state he or she is in, without exactly this thing he's in favour against; empathy.
    I'm sure it made a great deal of sense from the perspective of himself and lab partners; it's a shame humans (and all of the rest of existence) works according to practice, and not the theory of some careerist desperate to get a foot note in the historical records.

    Also, what he's descibing here isn't new.
    We've taken to calling his medicine "sociopath". Generally, not tremendously workable in large groups.
    For 12,897 reasons ……

  47. Ix Suomi Post author

    Exactly how all philanthropists work, by abusing our empathy for their greater benefit.
    Compassion with unknown people, is leading to death of Western Europe.

  48. Katherine Kelly Post author

    If empathy is the experience " That could be me or is me" and you rescue a person to save yourself than it can be destructive by keeping the other a perpetual cripple. This is what parents often do to their children when they cannot tolerate the pain of seeing their children suffer. Risk adverse parents are prone to this. Compassion has its own dark side as "Idiot Compassion" but it is absent the person feeling the suffering of another and is instead ego driven as that person who rescues another out of their own self importance. "I can do so I will do". This also keeps the other who is rescued needing to be always rescued (disempowered). It is the difference between a hand out and a hand up. Usually these two toxic displays of empathy and compassion travel together. When people look back and wonder why western civilization collapsed onto itself, it will partly be because of toxic empathy and compassion.

  49. E De B. Post author

    What I got from this was that empathy works well on a small scale but goes wrong on a large scale, hence the need for rational compassion.

  50. Tammy Reynolds Post author

    Finally–someone is speaking sense into the matter. People talk empathy, then accuse of not being empathetic, then scream it from the rooftops…it's sickening. I'm a writer, and my goal is to have the readers FEEL the emotional situations of the characters in each novel (to live it in their own minds). Being empathetic in everyday life is not helpful in most circumstances.

  51. pagli acci Post author

    Sheeps value naivety than depth, true solution comes after reaching the core issues. Sheeps want to be nice, afraid of pain, too weak to take on true ugliness of life, they want to exist on shallow surfaces and live on the merits. Staying Complacent & happy go lucky. Avoiding empathy all together is just pure laziness, educate and groom people with wisdom and uplifting consciousness, yes it take real work, yes it take emotional and spiritual maturity to properly utilise empathy, but this is what sentient existence is truly about, they is no easy way out to transcend our sentience and in the end it will be worth it! Namaste ~

  52. felicity mcdowell Post author

    Empathy and sympathy have always been distinct. Actors have to use empathy but they get paid highly to dip into the feelings of others.

  53. nielsbaloe Post author

    Empathy is not mirroring feelings, it is seeing things from the others perspective. Not feeling-with, but feeling-in.

    In Dutch there is actually a word for it: it is called "medelijden" (with-suffering), that is what you are referring too. But real empathy is called "mededogen" (with-caring). Real empathy generates compassion.

    If I were you, I would look into Non-violent Communication (from Marshall Rosenberg, see cnvc.org) which blasts your unfortunate misunderstanding away as dust in the wind 😉

  54. heytherespookyface Post author

    I would argue that not all humans are capable of empathy. The thing about being empathetic is that you have to guard against a lot of things, and exhaustion is a real thing that happens to empaths. I think what people are actually looking for is understanding. He seems to be misunderstanding what empathy is. I can put myself in someone else's shoes and understand their feelings and why they have them without losing my capacity for logic. To suggest that being empathetic to depression or anxiety, for example, will turn me into a depressed, anxious mess is misguided at best, and flat out wrong. Empathy isn't taking on the emotions of another. It is a unique capacity for understanding a situation you yourself have not faced.

  55. Stephan Söderberg Post author

    It seams to be a linguistic problem here. What a Nerd! He has no socio-political understanding whatsoever. But he's better at getting attention than me.

  56. Arr Ziz Post author

    I didn't think there was a difference until I saw the thumbnail..I realize how 0:22–0:27, 0:35–1:00, 1:35–2:24 are crucial to developing understanding of guilt and shame not based in religion..0:22–0:27 It is to me b/c of traumatic experience by abusive ppl who would probably never really care to expand their vocabulary and b/c of 0:35–1:00.

    3:13–3:48 Reminds me of past experience/ interactions `_` and this video could be said to be just as much about 'how to get ppl's attention' as it is about empathy.This is one of those instances where I think that the fear of offending others/insulting is a very real preventative factor in saying otherwise meaningful information..

    I think that 3:49–4:00 is done imo b/c for all the objective scientific knowledge a person might have it is still aggravating, enraging and borderline criminally irresponsible/stupid when the provider doesn’t care about the provided beyond what minimal function/effort/labour is to be performed for wages ..=_= think 'x privilege' and bad experiences with teachers and a ‘might makes right’ instead of a ‘might serves right’ attitude..

    2:38–3:11 I am weary of as well as 4:25–5:03 b/c of how love or caring can be seen as being patient with others*..if 5:045:25 caught on most kyriarchical inequity (or *at least ‘bullying’) would be on the way to diminishing and going the way of chattel slavery *even faster*…if you factor in the evolutionary psychology of competition it might make a bit more sense..

    5:36 —I would much rather live in a world where ppl care *too much* than be indeterminate/indifferent/not care or not care enough..the ‘real deal labour’ self-improvement only begins once you have reached ’normalcy’ and there is so often excessive addiction (including pornography addiction) and deficiency in the world not the least when it comes to understanding the ontology of production/ thinking less of ppl who do a certain kind of work or don't do a certain kind of work. Two related ‘kettle of fish’ examples is the acceptability of legal organized sex trade as even being a thing whilst many non cisgender heterosexuals are still subject to unsafe prejudice and the nature/current understandings of forms of assisted death (ex. euthanasia or abortion).

    5:38–5:52 I didn’t quite understand and I would be open to anyone trying to clarify and/or help me understand it. As well as 6:05–8:20;Daniel Dennett came to my mind for some reason

  57. 3muzika Post author

    It seems that Bloom thinks that empathy equals sympathy. According to Merriam-Webster sympathy is when you share the feelings of another; empathy is when you understand the feelings of another but do not necessarily share them. I wish there would be an unanimous use of the concepts of sympathy, empathy and compassion among the psychologists, scientists etc., because now it's just confusing.

  58. Joseph DESTAUBIN Post author

    On the issue of causality and rationality I completely agree. But on the issue of empathy, I think it's important to remember that empathy is a tool, an unfortunately necessary tool in order to bring about fuller understanding of another's condition in rare cases. If one relies too heavily on empathy in order to gain understanding of the world around them, one is not living one's own life. But there are times when the experiences of others are so far outside of our own that in order to fully comprehend the condition of our fellow man we must embark on empathetic exigence. This is particularly useful when there exists conflict and a concurrent reluctance to see the world from our interlocutors point of view. I believe it was C. Wright Mills who defined the phrase sociological imagination to include the use of an empathetic eye words an alien culture; and sometimes empathy is the only tool available for use.

  59. Jim Kiefer Post author

    I guess I just believe that empathy is the engine that drives compassion. I perceive compassion that is without empathy is not compassion at all but instead just a biased moral representation of apathy that lacks unity.

  60. WastedstupiD Post author

    For parenting, This is not true. Nothing goes away. If you can't empathize your child then your help will only lead them down a path towards your lies. Parents who are compassionate will never understand their kids.

  61. 4sKipp Post author

    this whole idea of being against empathy feels like a jab at the media for attention and publicity … too many people nowadays start promoting radical things just to have the media spotlight on them in the hopes of becoming famous

  62. goodnight Sir Post author

    I understand what he's saying. But he's wrong. I'm super empathic and it's taxing very taxing. But it's worth it. He talks very cold. Very cold. Compassionate – feeling or showing sympathy and concern for others. Do the world need more Sympathy? Or Empathy? If we had more empathy, america gun violence would get fix. How's your "sympathy" working. More people are alone now than ever before. He talks robotic. Analytical too analytical. Also "optimistic" doesn't mean positive. You can be a optimistic bad guy. KEEP YOUR EMPATHY! JUST LEARN HOW TO DISCONNECT! I MASTER IT. I learned to remind myself take the human emotion, but don't make it yours. Analyzed it and tell the person/human where the emotion came from. I study so many humans and gave them the truth or I been where you been. I help so many people. And you tell me it's in vain. All in vain. NO, I say no. We need more empathy. Sympathy if you ready for robots. Sympathy if you want a ever growing cold world. Do you want someone compassion when you been raped? Or you want someone to empathize with you. Tell you I understand, and I feel you. And tell you "I'm here to support you, because I may felt what you felt". "Maybe not to your degree, but I've felt that feeling".

  63. Benny Lyngdoh Post author

    I googled the words empathy vs sympathy…and every other dictionary gives out a different meaning for it.

    I'm baffled.

  64. akinoreh Post author

    Might just be the first video I intentionally/knowingly disliked. He's confusing the terms he's using. He's talking like empathy is a contagious disease. Empathy is not (directly) about caring. It's about understanding. I can understand someone, but (choose to?) not care. You can have compassion, be loving to people, but if you're not capable of empathy, well, you won't get very far.

    I'm literally having hard time finishing the video. Writing this mid-video. But just to be thorough, let's finish it.

  65. Martin K. Schröder Post author

    I've never seen the need to suffer because of other people. Why would anyone want to do such a thing?

  66. Kimberly Howard Post author

    I approve of this 100%
    We are susceptible to manipulation by those who pry on sympathy, and even empathy. Empathy is ok in any moment of connection but it should be short lived and then replaced by compassion, it allows you take your strength back and put the hurt back with the source it came from with compassion for that person.


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