What is Compassion?

What is Compassion?2018-10-19T10:34:20+00:00

Compassion

/kəmˈpaʃ(ə)n/

Middle English: via Old French from ecclesiastical Latin compassio(n-), from compati, meaning to suffer with

empathy – sympathy – kindness – altruism – reciprocity – selfless action – prosocial behaviour – empathic concern

Easily championed, but everywhere challenged
COMPASSION
is a complex yet under-researched concept

Compassion can be defined as a feeling or sincere sympathy and sorrow for another’s suffering, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate that pain. Precipitated by a complex of emotions, thoughts and responses to social and moral norms, compassionate action takes a step beyond sympathy or empathy in seeking to resolve or ease that suffering.

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries
Without them, humanity cannot survive
– Dalai Lama XIV

The Golden Rule

that one should treat others as one wishes to be treated oneself
seems both self-evident and universally accepted as the ethic of reciprocity, yet the evidence suggests that humans struggle to put

compassion into action

even though we are unique among species in having the capacity and motivation
to do so.

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