Disclaimer

The content of this blog is my personal opinion only. Although I am an employee - currently of Imagination Technologies's MIPS group, in the past of other companies such as Intellectual Ventures, Intel, AMD, Motorola, and Gould - I reveal this only so that the reader may account for any possible bias I may have towards my employer's products. The statements I make here in no way represent my employer's position, nor am I authorized to speak on behalf of my employer. In fact, this posting may not even represent my personal opinion, since occasionally I play devil's advocate.

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Saturday, February 07, 2009

Empathy

From wiktionary:

empathy (uncountable)

  1. the intellectual identification of the thoughts, feelings, or state of another person
  2. capacity to understand another person's point of view or the result of such understanding
Empathy is not just being able to think as if you were in somebody position. Let's call this first-order empathy.

Empathy is thinking as if you were that somebody else, in that somebody else's position. Let's call this second order empathy.

A selfish person, employing first order empathy, would take his selfish viewpoint to that other person's situation - and would imagine what that other person would do, if he were selfish like me.

Second order empath is to imagine what that other person feels. If you are selfish bit they are not, imagine what an unselfish person would feel. And vice versa.

Empathy is not necessarily sympathy. I may be able to imagine what Hitler felt, but I do not feel symapthy for his views.

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