Arquivo para January 4th, 2022

Empathy: or what it really is

04 Jan

In my humble opinion, because I haven’t seen any of the readings I’ve done to assert this, the word empathy is on the rise because the word Love, in its broad meaning: eros (in the sense Byung Chul Han uses in “The Agony of Eros”), filia (in the sense of the decay of family relationships and friendships) and mainly in the sense of agape, since all the instrumentalization made by modern romantic love, read Balzac’s human comedy, turned into connections, proselytizing or of pure interest.

Empathy, in a didactic simplification, is the ability to understand the Other as it seems, so it is inseparable from the concept of otherness in the most side of the word.

Empathy escaped these traps, from psychology to philosophy, Husserl studied it and Edith Stein went deeper into neuroscience past using it, in her article in The Atlantic Magazine entitled “A Short History of Empathy”, Susan Lanzoni claims that the word it has existed (in the current sense of course, it has Greek origins) for only a century.

A psychology with empathy I define as having 3 types: a cognitive is an intuitive corn refers to understanding how the other is and feels, an emotional and a compassionate one, it goes without saying that the emotional is also explored as emotional intelligence , the most difficult compassion to intuit is the one that goes beyond understanding and feeling the sensations of the other person, starting to mobilize to help them, but be careful, the help also has to be empathetic, that is, the one that really or other accurate and not any guesswork.

Empathic behavior is known to be natural not only in humans, but in many mammals and some birds as well, and this is actually closer to natural.

Closer because there is a totally induced natural, or consumption, different types of philosophies, theory or even religions that have little or nothing to human nature, and by extension, like nature as a whole, we are a cosmic being, broader than that we think, even though we are a spark in such a vast and mysterious universe.

Every contemporary belief, that seeing the ideas of modernity is that empathy is a new utopia, the realities that come from modern thought have induced the idea that an authoritarian state is needed, even those who deny it dream of it and say it will be “from another like”, essentially the imposition of a model of thought is an affirmation of the ego, it is the inexistence of empathy, it is the antipathy set in motion, just see the polarization this concept becomes clear.

Neuroscience and science itself show that since birth, the maternal and paternal relationship with the baby has an empathic relationship, to live in society an empathetic relationship is needed, an empathic relationship is needed to defend ourselves from the pandemic, without it there is a denial “structural”, that is, the other can die and I cannot.

The theory of neuroscience simulation, through the discovery of mirror neurons (Rizzolatti and Graighero, 2004), a type of neuron that fires when an animal acts when another animal observes and performs the same observed action, so this neuron “mirrors” the behavior of the other, as if the observer himself was acting, this is also observed in some primates and birds, I remember when smoking was allowed in the classroom when, when lighting a cigarette, several students also lit.

This theory has not only advanced neuroscience but has helped the study of some natural phenomena and some types of autism (Distein, Behrmann, 2008).

In addition to being innate, empathy can be trained, this by the most fantastic feature of our brain, which is its plasticity, that is why we are subject to auto-suggestion but also to alter-suggestion, so it could revolutionize the entire theory of self-help for a alter-help in a society focused on empathy, it took several centuries of training (I would say detraining) so that hatred, revenge and the idea that only war can solve (in part) our empathic capacity, since love -agape is in discredit whether it is for excessive labeling without content, or for the formulation of words without corresponding action.

Rizzolatti, Giacomo; Craighero, Laila (2004). “The mirror-neuron system” (PDF). Annual Review of Neuroscience27 (1): 169–192.O comportamento empático é conhecido como natural não somente nos seres humanos, mas em outros mamíferos e em algumas aves também.

Dinstein I, Thomas C, Behrmann M, Heeger DJ (2008). “A mirror up to nature”. Curr Biol. 18 (1): R13–8.