Empathy means physical affection or partiality is commonly defined as a person’s ability to recognize, perceive and feel directly and deliberately the emotion of another person as well. Since the states of mind, beliefs, and desires of others are intertwined with their emotions, one with empathy for another may often be able to more effectively define another person’s mode of thought and mood. Empathy is usually described as the ability to “put oneself into another’s shoes”, Or might as well, experience the feelings and emotions of another being within oneself.
A matter that implies an emotional coherence and resonance. Empathy Prelude The word ’empathy’ is a previous translation into English from the German ‘Einfuhlung’. This final word was coined by the philosopher Robert Vischer . Vischer meant by the term something like “aesthetic sympathy. ” This practically is the sentiment, not otherwise definable, which one feels in the face of a work of art. His father Friedrich Theodor Vischer had already made use of the evocative word ‘einfuhlen’ in his studies about architecture, in accordance with the rules of the Idealism (Stein, E.
On the problem of empathy, p. 11. Washington: ICS Publications,1989).
Empathy is a concept recognized as “reading” another person as well, deliberately translating each movement into comprehensive conversation. Usually, an empath can quite literally feel the emotions of another person or persons. Empathy, like any other complex term, has attracted to itself specific more-overt metaphors, especially those of mirrors and resonance. In addition, one theorist has proposed structural affinities between empathy and touch.
A Chinese translation proposes the metaphor of the reasoning heart. Philosopher Edith Wyschogrod asserts: “Since touch is the paradigmatic sense for bringing what is felt into proximity with feeling, structural affinities between touch and (empathy and sympathy) can’t be shown. ” Wyschogrod points out that visual objects and auditory sensations are both apprehended as occurring at a distance from their objects or sources, while touch implies not only proximity but contact (Stein, E. , On the problem of empathy, p. 11. Washington: ICS Publications,1989).
Empathy as an Application In general, “in intersubjective encounter is involved in caress and sexual arousal, as well as in aggression, slapping, punching etc. ” Wyschogrod notes a vulnerability in empathy which is indeed more like that of touch; empathy implies that we can be genuinely affected, saddened, grieved, touched by those with whom we empathize. While she doesn’t precisely summarize in this way, by the time she is done, Wyschogrod’s vision of empathy links it to a sense which is not only that of our fingertips, or even of our entire skin surface, but of our limits, location, and movement.
Conventional English usage supports Wyschogrod’s approach. When empathizing with another, we are reaching out to the other with our guard down which makes us vulnerable in a way. If the other chooses at that point to lash out, we can easily be very hurt. When this happens, it feels like nothing so much as a fresh wound being pierced We can take Wyschogrod’s metaphor and go further, suggesting that the kinds of touch, such as surgery, which move beyond the surface, and which fail thereby to observe Carl Roger’s “as if,” are, even if well intentioned, invasive, and do necessary violence.
Examples of this invasive type of empathy are not hard to find, with a paradigmatic case being a parent using her superior empathic skill to invade and attempt to control the inner life of her child, in an exploitation of her child’s vulnerability (Stein, E. , On the problem of empathy, p. 11. Washington: ICS Publications,1989). Since empathy involves understanding the emotions of other people, the way it is described is aberration of the way emotions themselves are characterized.
For instance, emotions are taken to be centrally characterized by physiological feelings, then grasping the physiological feelings of another will be central to empathy. On the other hand, if emotions are more centrally characterized by combinations of beliefs and desires, then grasping these beliefs and desires will be more essential to empathy.
• Furthermore, a distinction should be made between deliberately imagining being another person, or being in their situation, and simply recognizing their emotion. The ability to imagine oneself as another person is a sophisticated surreal process (Eisenberg, N. , Empathy-related emotional responses, altruism, and their socialization. In R. J. Davidson & A. Harrington (Eds. ). Visions of compassion: Western scientists and Tibetan Buddhists examine human nature. (pp. 135; 131-164). London: Oxford University Press. , 2002).
However, the basic capacity to recognize emotions is probably innate and may be achieved unconsciously. Yet it can be trained, and achieved with various degrees of intensity or accuracy. The human capacity to recognize the bodily feelings of another is related to one’s imitative capacities, and seems to be grounded in the innate capacity to associate the bodily movements and facial expressions one sees in another with the proprioceptive feelings of producing those corresponding movements or expressions oneself.
Humans also seem to make the same immediate connection between the tone of voice and other vocal expressions and inner feeling (Stein, E. On the problem of empathy, p. 11. Washington: ICS Publications,1989). Empathy Requisites There is some debate concerning how exactly the conscious experience (phenomenology) of empathy should be characterized. The basic idea is that by looking at the facial expressions or bodily movements of another, or by hearing their tone of voice, one may get an immediate sense of how they feel (as opposed to more intellectually noting the behavioral symptoms of their emotion).
Though empathic recognition is likely to involve some form of arousal in the “empathizer”, they may not experience this feeling as belonging to their own body, but instead likely to perceptually locate the feeling ‘in’ the body of the other person. Alternatively, the empathizer may instead get a sense of an emotional atmosphere, or that the emotion belongs equally to all the parties involved. More fully developed empathy requires more than simply recognizing another’s emotional state.
Since emotions are typically directed towards objects and states of affairs, the empathizer, of course may first require some idea of what that object might be (where object can include imaginary objects, concepts, other people, or even the empathizer). Alternatively, the recognition of the feeling may precede the recognition of the object of that emotion, or even aid the empathiser in discovering the object of the other’s emotion. The empathizer may need to determine how the emotional state affects the way in which the other perceives the object as well.
For instance, the empathizer needs to determine which aspects of the object to focus on. Hence, it is often not enough that the empathizer recognize the object toward which the other is directed, plus the physiological feeling, and then simply add these components together. Instead, the empathizer needs to find the way into the loop where perception of the object affects feeling and feeling affects the perception of the object.
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