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Acquiring Empathy

April 18, 2012

I wish I knew for certain how to acquire empathy, but I don’t even know for sure I can acquire it at my age. I think it could prove useful, although I don’t think it’s necessary for compassion (that’s sympathy) or for love (unconditional love (Oneness) is accomplished by letting go of identification, which is an integral part of empathy).

I do think that empathy is an essential part of communication at the human level though, so I am making it a priority to acquire it for this reason. I wish for my thoughts and feelings to be meaningful, and since emotions are the transmitters of meaning at the human level, the acquisition of empathy is necessary for such transmission, as well as the subsequent appreciation thereof.

If empathy is incremental in its acquisition, then I have most certainly acquired empathy, just not in levels high enough for me to appreciate. Since I do experience moments of empathy, and all studies on empathy show a noted difference in observable/statistical empathy between males and females, and (to an extent) between different age groups, political affiliations, etc.) I think that certain that I do have some empathy. However, since levels of empathy are not reliably measurable, it’s difficult to say how much empathy I do have, or how much empathy I have acquired.

In the making of the record of my psycho-social/spiritual progress (it will take a bit of time to finish writing it I think), I will also determine roughly how much empathy I had at various stages. This figure is of course rough, and will be measured using major paradigms shifts in my frame of thought, focus, writing style changes, etc. I believe it will prove most useful to you in your compassionate efforts helping me in my journey to acquire a reasonable amount of empathy.

The concept of acquiring empathy by simulating it: this is something that I have been wondering for a while. I think that one of the greatest means by which I have improved my empathy is by making use of it artificially (by simulation)…that is, by acting it out based on what i know of empathy. This is because by acting out empathy while at the same time trying my best to genuinely have it, I am tapping into my underdeveloped emotional intuition; I’m enlarging my SuperEgo through pumping my own empathetic chemicals through my brain, which tells me conscious and unconscious mind to produce its own chemicals….or something like that. Mind over matter, as they say.

I believe that with enough effort and perseverance, I can develop true empathy by acting it out to exercise my empathetic muscle (the SuperEgo). My emotional muscles are so unused that they have become underdeveloped, so to fix it I just need to use them more. The more I empathize artificially, the stronger and more real my genuine empathy will become over time. This will result in more meaningful relationships and more emotionally-charged communication, and help me to truly understand people, both individually and cosmically, on a far more meaningful level.

My understanding of the relationship of others’ to myself is complicated and multi-layered. From the energy perspective, everything is all energy, whether packaged as soul, body, or (as Plato referred to it as) “form”; the identity is irrelevant in this layer.

Another layer sees us all as one being, represented and appreciated in our diversity; for this layer I use the analogy of a diamond, which is a single, solid, tightly bonded object that is paradoxically appreciated more through its diversity: through the reflections of its countless facets which are similar in the most important ways, yet all distinctly unique in more subtle ways.

Yet another layer sees relationships with people as the means of communication, particularly through emotion, thereby exchanging energy to appreciate the unity of layer one and the diversity of layer two. This layer is where empathy is more essential.

There are many others layers to my reality, but the above three are the main ones.

In general, up until recently I “got to know” people through a combination of deductive reasoning and empirical observation, and saw the emotional intuition (empathy) that others’ possessed as both a blessing (which I envied for the convenience in which the blissfully ignorant used it) and a curse (because in general, empathy does more harm than good– empathy *usually* includes the component of identification, and as a result causes more harm than good for most people in the form of misunderstandings– causing broken hearts, misled hatred and mistrust, and all manner of meaningless suffering.

Because empathy is perceptually-based and dependent on the intuitive form of identification, it’s very easy to let oneself be manipulated by it, becoming emotionally controlled by ones feelings and limited in one’s emotional reality by the perceptions experienced through empathy.

But like the movie “The Matrix”, it’s possible to experience empathy without becoming a slave to it or letting it limit our reality. By using empathy, we can travel freely in and out of the reality of life, using empathy as necessary to meaningfully connect with people still trapped in the matrix of perception. When empathy is used properly and conscientious like this, it is no longer a curse that limits and distorts reality in exchange for socio-emotional convenience, but a useful and essential tool for connecting with the people still residing in perceptual reality on a meaningful level!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 18, 2012 6:00 am

    I would be interested to hear more about your ideas on “empathetic chemicals”. It feels to me after understanding how you view “empathy” that the game plan is a “fake it till ya make it” one. Do you feel others energy when you are with them? Or are you more in their mind? Thinking the logistics of their thoughts?

    • April 18, 2012 12:55 pm

      @tfor2and2fort I responded to your comment by extending this post Thank you for inspiring an even more complete post on acquiring empathy, and the importance thereof 🙂

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  1. Why I Consider the SuperEgo the Seat of Socio-Emotional Functions « NspyraishN

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