Sympathy and empathy- how they are quite different experiences

Here are a few paragraphs on distinguishing sympathy from empathy (and people who are “extremely empathetic” from people who are actually just “extremely sympathetic”)….

Sympathy is highly passionate / impassioned. It typically involves taking one side (who is typically glorified) against some other side (who is typically vilified). In many cases, all of that involves shame, shaming others, preventing one’s own shame from surfacing. It also can involve a lot of vanity / false pride (a rigid, anxious paranoia about one’s existing view being the best in some objective way, with attachment to social validation and unanimity).

Sympathy can unintentionally alienate others. If those others are of no importance, then alienating them or not may be trivia. However, one problem with unintentionally alienating others is that someone may not notice the cultivation of that alienation, then, in the distress of denial, say something like “but I did not INTEND to alienate her. In other words, sympathy can be quite inattentive as in negligent.

I prefer the experience of empathy. Empathy involves feeling passions without favoring one passion over another. With no ideological preference of one passion over another (or very little preference), the ability to accurately understand the source of the passion is not filtered through a self-concept of “who is the good guy and who is the bad guy” and so forth.

Intentions are not seen as glorious or vile, but just as intentions. Some are quite simple and some are complicated or even conflicted. There is no filtering to “defend” one side’s “honor” and to demonize some other side. There is no projecting of heroism or of shame.

Cruelty is seen as cruel- and one can admit to one’s one moments of past cruelty. Naivete is seen as naive- and one can admit to one’s one moments of past naivete.

Everything is recognized for what it is. Envy (which involves simple admiration) is clearly not jealousy (which involves bitterness and animosity).

Gratitude, grief, and fury can all be “impassioned.” Rage and outrage and contempt are even more impassioned (energized).

Passion itself is both an important and useful experience, but also one vulnerable to outside manipulations. Most of the holy passions of the left wing are programmed from the same sources as the holy passions of the right wing. What if the “everyday passions” of a puppy are actually a refreshing contrast to the “holy passions” of a typical 10 year old human?

What if an SJW was given a job assignment to spend twenty minutes alone with a puppy? That alone might not be life-changing, but what if they got a job at a store that sells puppies and kittens and pet birds (etc)? Within only a few weeks, they might be entirely cured of their mental instabilities!

Jiddu Krishnamurti talked about the “psychological violence” of taking sides (or strongly identifying with a religion, nation, etc). That was all about the divisiveness of sympathy.

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