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Thread: Empathy

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    Dear everyone,

    Recently Iíve found myself asking more questions about empathy, and my experiences of it, and Iím finding it slightly strange.

    In a couple of other threads I posted these:

    If I had to take a guess at what empathy is, I guess Iíd say that itís the subtle, intuitive, back-of-your-mind awareness of the vibes that other people put out.
    But, when I watched myself talking with others, I could sense a kind of intuitive 'seeing' into other people, their moods, vibes and so on.

    It wasn't a touchy-feely thing, and nor could I do write-ups of the exactly what kind of person you might me. I also noticed that I found it more comfortable to let it be, at the back of my mind, and not try to force it. It just got tiring if I forced myself to use it.
    I guess I was trying to say is what other people make of this idea of "empathy". The thing that really throws me when it comes to empathy is that, if I tried to be more empathic, in a way, I wouldn't know where to start. Because it's so obviously ĎthereĎ, but it's also quite back-of-your-mind stuff - it's difficult to express in actions how much you care, and sometimes it's difficult to know how much you take your empathy for granted and would miss it if it was taken away.
    Iím just a little confused about this. Iím not sure how Ďnormalí these feelings are, what other people make of them, or how they can be explained Socionically. And itís really strange to have something so Ďthereí and yet so difficult to pin down, and so difficult to intellectualise about.

    Any ideas would be really appreciated

    Thanks everyone
    Five/Tanzhe

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    ...been here longer than the fucking monarchy Ezra's Avatar
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    Right, is empathy Fi? Or is it Fe? Or both?

    I lack empathy anyhow. To the point of autism.
    Ideas don't determine who's right. Power determines who's right. And I have the power. So I'm right.

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    Creepy-Cyclops

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    Some would say it is what seperates the man from the beast

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    I lack empathy anyhow.
    No, you lack experiences.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ezra
    I lack empathy anyhow. To the point of autism.
    out of curiosity, what do you mean by that? Do you mean you don't know how others are feeling, or don't care how others are feeling, or don't easily see things from another's point of view, or don't easily imagine how one might feel in certain situations given what you know about them already, or don't easily imagine how others you know might perceive certain actions toward them, or don't easily understand the motives behind people's actions, or what?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kioshi View Post
    *Given these conditions, is "x" true or false?
    *Under what conditions is "x" true?

    The later approach is what I think leads to empathy.


    Note: If it helps, substitute whatever emotional response the observer is aware of for "x" and "appropriate/inappropriate" for "true/false":

    *Given the conditions the observer is aware of, is the emotional response observed appropriate or inappropriate?
    *Under what conditions is the emotional response appropriate?
    I like this, a LOT.

    One of the problems with the things that Five quoted is that if you're (general you) basing things on "vibes" then how do you know that you aren't projecting your own "vibes" onto the other person? Empathy, imo, comes from stepping into the other person's shoes, and focusing on their past experiences, their likes/dislikes of the situation, and how they feel about the current situation. Viewing the situation as if being the other person, instead of being one's self.

    And in order to do that, one can't say if an emotional response or a physical action is universally appropriate/inappropriate but maybe at most if it is appropriate/inappropriate for that particular person, in that particular situation, with those particular experiences, and with the resulting particular consequential effects on that person.

    And since we only know what goes on in our own lives, and what another person has told us what goes on in theirs, the most we can do is ask ourselves...this person reacted/responded in this manner, what would have led him to that? what experiences/thoughts/emotions would lead him to respond/react that way? And then test (usually by asking the person questions) to see how correct we were or not. (But it's not empathy/understanding/knowledge of the person unless you test and correct it.)
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    good topic. i'd say that empathy is primarily an ethical skill and secondarily a skill of sensation. ethics probably doesn't need a lot of explanation...sensation might though. with ego block Se, the person is tuned into people's needs and desires. with Si, the person is tuned into people's comfort.

    so i'd say it's the NT's that are hanging out there on the empathy issue.

    ILE

    those who are easily shocked.....should be shocked more often

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    Hi all,

    Thanks for your responses. Kioshi and Ann, I must admit that I didn't get what you were trying to say, but it obviously clicked for you and that's fine by me. But I'd still be interested in finding out if anybody has similar experiences of empathy as I've had, or what they think of my descriptions.

    Thanks!
    Five/Tanzhe

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    I would say that empathy is primarily a two step process that requires both Fe and Fi to be used effectively. In order to be empathetic, one must first be able to properly "read" the latent emotional situation of the other individual (Fe) and then be able to determine one's own sense of personal connection with that person and situation (Fi). Depending on whether Fe or Fi is in the ego function (along with obviously the other blocked function) will most likely affect their response this empathetic process.

    The LII, LSI, LIE, and LSE may all try and establish an empathetic link (LII and LSI from Fi-role and LIE and LSE from a Fe-role), but it can be something that they struggle with as a weak half of empathy is in their role function, which I call the "I guess I should, but do I have to?" function.
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    Quote Originally Posted by anndelise View Post
    I like this, a LOT.

    One of the problems with the things that Five quoted is that if you're (general you) basing things on "vibes" then how do you know that you aren't projecting your own "vibes" onto the other person? Empathy, imo, comes from stepping into the other person's shoes, and focusing on their past experiences, their likes/dislikes of the situation, and how they feel about the current situation. Viewing the situation as if being the other person, instead of being one's self.

    And in order to do that, one can't say if an emotional response or a physical action is universally appropriate/inappropriate but maybe at most if it is appropriate/inappropriate for that particular person, in that particular situation, with those particular experiences, and with the resulting particular consequential effects on that person.

    And since we only know what goes on in our own lives, and what another person has told us what goes on in theirs, the most we can do is ask ourselves...this person reacted/responded in this manner, what would have led him to that? what experiences/thoughts/emotions would lead him to respond/react that way? And then test (usually by asking the person questions) to see how correct we were or not. (But it's not empathy/understanding/knowledge of the person unless you test and correct it.)
    god... i bet you can guess what i'm going to say right here, and i know you don't want to hear it.

    but even so...

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    A few notes about empathy from the following site: http://www.answers.com/topic/empathy?cat=health

    Empathy
    * Ability to imagine oneself in another's place and understand the other's feelings, desires, ideas, and actions.
    * the state of being emotionally and cognitively Ďin tune withí another person, particularly by feeling what their situation is like from the inside, or what it is like for them.
    * The ability to project oneself into the situation of another person and thereby understand the feelings and thoughts of that person.
    * Identifying oneself completely with an object or person, sometimes even to the point of responding physically,
    * The feeling or capacity for awareness, understanding and sensitivity one experiences when hearing or reading of some event or activity of another, thus imagining the same sensation as that of those actually experiencing it.
    * one's ability to recognize, perceive and feel directly the emotion of another. As the states of mind, beliefs, and desires of others are intertwined with their emotions, one with empathy for another may often be able to more effectively define another's mode of thought and mood. Empathy is often characterized as the ability to "put oneself into another's shoes", or experiencing the outlook or emotions of another being within oneself, a sort of emotional resonance.

    Most importantly is this portion of the page:
    Discussion
    Ö[]....
    Since empathy involves understanding the emotions of other people, the way it is characterised is derivative of the way emotions themselves are characterised. If for example, emotions are taken to be centrally characterised by bodily feelings, then grasping the bodily feelings of another will be central to empathy. On the other hand, if emotions are more centrally characterised by combinations of beliefs and desires, then grasping these beliefs and desires will be more essential to empathy.

    Furthermore, a distinction should be made between deliberately imagining being another person, or being in their situation, and simply recognizing their emotion. The ability to imagine oneself as another person is a sophisticated imaginative process. However the basic capacity to recognize emotions is probably innate and may be achieved unconsciously. Yet it can be trained, and achieved with various degrees of intensity or accuracy.
    ...[]...
    There is some debate concerning how exactly the conscious experience (or phenomenology) of empathy should be characterized. The basic idea is that by looking at the facial expressions or bodily movements of another, or by hearing their tone of voice, one may get an immediate sense of how they feel (as opposed to more intellectually noting the behavioral symptoms of their emotion). Though empathic recognition is likely to involve some form of arousal in the empathiser, they may not experience this feeling as belonging to their own body, but instead likely to perceptually locate the feeling 'in' the body of the other person. Alternatively the empathiser may instead get a sense of an emotional 'atmosphere' or that the emotion belongs equally to all the parties involved. (ann's note: this is probably closer to how an Fe would approach empathy than an Fi would)

    More fully developed empathy requires more than simply recognizing another's emotional state. Since emotions are typically directed towards objects or states of affairs, the empathiser may first require some idea of what that object might be (where object can include imaginary objects, concepts, other people, or even the empathiser). Alternatively the recognition of the feeling may precede the recognition of the object of that emotion, or even aid the empathiser in discovering the object of the other's emotion. The empathiser may also need to determine how the emotional state affects the way in which the other perceives the object. For example, the empathizer needs to determine which aspects of the object to focus on. Hence it is often not enough that the empathiser recognize the object toward which the other is directed, plus the bodily feeling, and then simply add these components together. Rather the empathiser needs to find the way into the loop where perception of the object affects feeling and feeling affects the perception of the object.
    (ann's note: this is probably more of a combo of functions than any particular one)
    Ö[]...

    There are also concerns that the empathiser's own emotional background may affect or distort what emotions they perceive in others. Empathy is not a process that is likely to deliver certain judgements about the emotional states of others. (ann's note: underlined emphasis is mine) It is a skill that is gradually developed throughout life, and which improves the more contact we have with the person with whom we empathise. Accordingly, any knowledge we gain of the emotions of the other must be revisable in light of further information. Thus awareness of these limitations is prudent in a clinical or caregiving situation.


    Methods for empathising
    When seeking to communicate with another, it may be helpful to demonstrate empathy with the other, to open-up the channel of communication with the other. In this case two methods of empathy are possible:
    a) either simulate 'pretend' versions of the beliefs, desires, character traits and context of the other and see what emotional feelings this leads to;
    b) or simulate the emotional feeling and then look around for a suitable reason for this to fit.

    Either way, full empathetic engagement is supposed to help to understand and anticipate the behavior of the other.
    Empathy may be painful to oneself: seeing the pain of others, especially as broadcasted by mass media, can cause one temporary or permanent clinical depression; a phenomenon which is sometimes called weltschmerz.

    Without a basic emotional understanding of others there is no basis for relationship, (ann's note: bolded emphasis is mine) therefore a tension struggle lies in the dilemma to protect oneself from the pain of empathy or seek to relate to other humans despite the potential risk of injury.


    Contrasting empathy to other phenomena
    One must be careful not to confuse empathy with either sympathy, pity, emotional contagion, or telepathy.
    Sympathy is the feeling of compassion for another, the wish to see them better off or happier, often described as "feeling sorry" for someone.
    Pity is feeling that another is in trouble and in need of help as they cannot fix their problems themselves.
    Emotional contagion is when a person (especially an infant or a member of a mob) imitatively 'catches' the emotions that others are showing without necessarily recognising this is happening.
    Telepathy is a controversial paranormal phenomenon, whereby emotions or other mental states can be read directly, without needing to infer, or perceive expressive clues about the other person.

    Sympathy is, "I'm sorry for your sadness, I wish to help."
    Pity is, "Things are bad for you, you seem as though you need help."
    Emotional Contagion is, "I feel sad."
    Empathy is, "I feel your sadness."
    Apathy is, "I don't care how you feel. "
    Telepathy is, "I read your sadness without you expressing it to me in any normal way."
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    You also mentioned not knowing how to be more empathetic.
    Maybe I wasn't particularly clear on that point. What I meant to say was that trying to be more empathetic doesn't work. If I want to be more empathetic, it's better if I relax, go with the flow, don't worry about it, don't think etc. So, in a sense, yes, I do know how to be more empathetic. It just doesn't involve trying.


    What I was trying to get at is that "empathy" is an objective awareness.
    I actually find it difficult to say that empathy is objective or subjective. In a way, it's objective: about accurately perceiving/understanding other people's emotions. But, at the same time, it's subjective: it's about emotions, you can't use your head to intellectualise about it.


    If you are basing things off "vibes", then it's hard to see how you can be so certain that what you are experiencing is "empathy".
    If you're basing things off "vibes", then I guess I need to make it clear I don't think that vibes are surface things - they're deep. Accurately seeing vibes is like being able to 'see through' somebody.

    And, at the moment, and for me personally, if you're basing things off vibes, then I find it hard to see how you can arrive at empathy if you're not looking to your emotional reactions, involvement, perceptions etc. I mean, you seem to think that empathy is a case of working it out - under what conditions, a certain emotional response, appropriate/inappropriate. But my experience is that empathy is often something that you don't work out, and something that you don't realise is there (or was there) until you take a step back. That you can't focus on trying to increase it - you have to relax about it, let it be, trust your gut instinct, be in the moment. And when you look back, you feel "wow, I really connected to/understood/saw into/felt strongly about a particular person". When I look back at the memories I take from school and such, it's often memories of friends and good times - of really enjoying people's company etc. I also notice that I can't work out, categorise or systemise my approach to empathy as I feel you have; it seems to be something that must be adapting, changing, different in each situation.


    Is this making any sense? Or (more to my aim in starting this thread) can anybody understand/identify with what I'm describing?

    Five/Tanzhe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kioshi View Post
    Logos,

    Once you start making it personal, it becomes "sympathy", not "empathy". You start to lose the objectivity.
    Empathy can still be personal without being sympathy.
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    Hi Kioshi,

    What I was suggesting was that empathy is about being aware (i.e. responsive, externally sensitive, outwardly perceptive, or whatever).
    I think Iíd agree with that.

    What I was suggesting was that it is not empathy if it's not critical (i.e. being aware of the potential for error) and objective (i.e. being able to verify the conclusions independent of oneself).
    I think maybe we each have different understandings and experiences of empathy. For instance, you believe that empathy must be critical and objective, whereas the thought of being critical and objective honestly hadnít occurred to me. My focus was more on the quality of the emotional connection, and the experience of that connection.


    But still Iím puzzled that no one else seems to have experienced what I have. No one seems to relate to my take on empathy. Of course, thatís fine (everyoneís got a slightly different take on it), but Iím really puzzled why this should be so.

    C'mon folks Ö
    Five/Tanzhe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kioshi View Post
    How do you know the connection is real?
    Because I can feel it. Maybe they canít, but I can.

    Itís kinda like knowing when youíre hungry. You just feel it.

    Although, of course, I could be completely wrong. This is why I think weíve got two different approaches. You seem to place emphasis on the empathy being objectively real, whereas Iím more focusing on its experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kioshi View Post
    When I develop an attachment to someone, I feel an "emotional connection". But this is not empathy.
    Well, Iím afraid itís going to be difficult to talk about things like that over the internet and make subtle distinctions etc. Trying to find out exactly what you're experiencing and exactly how other people would define your experience is usually quite difficult using forums.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kioshi View Post
    The only other thing I can think of is maybe you are talking about identifying with someone. Like someone says "I feel x about y" and its like "oh, yeah! I feel that way about y too."
    I donít think itís identifying with someone. Itís more like an ability to intensely see through someone.


    By the way, I do appreciate all the time youíre taking to respond to my posts
    Five/Tanzhe

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    I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that we're not really talking about different things.

    For myself, over the years I've read books that deal with counseling techniques and such. It was during those readings and quite a bit of (unusual) self observation that I finally realized what I did, and how naturally it came to me. (Though there were some things I felt I needed to improve to be better at it.)

    From Kioshi's previous posts, I'm assumming he's read a number of things and does a LOT of self observation. He also has the Ti ha to understand, and so that could help explain why he focuses on the objective and critical aspects.

    The reason that I focus on the testing is that I learned from the books (and personal experience with therapists) that if you don't test your understanding of the person's situation, then most often you're just projecting your thoughts onto the person..or being temporarily delusional. It comes down to the therapist saying "you have such and such issue", you thinking over the issue and saying, "no, that's not quite right, I actually think that it's closer to this other issue, and that's what I want help with", and therapist saying "who's the professional here, I say you have such and such issue, i know more about you than you know about yourself, and i'm going to treat you for such and such issue instead of what you came here for help with". ok, so not those exact words, but pretty damned close enough.

    Had I not read those books and looked inside myself and begun testing my understanding of a person's situation, I'd have merely been aware of the results but not the process of what I do, and I'd also probably be one of those people who insist that they know more about the person than the person does about themselves. (and i'm still paranoid about doing that)

    I think that what Five is describing is the end results of whatever her process is. It doesn't seem that she is aware of her process. (which isn't a bad thing, btw) But she does seem to be aware of the results and maybe how she feels about the results. It doesn't seem yet that she tests her understanding or empathy of the person, however. Which a lot of people don't do anyways, so it's nothing unusual. And as long as one isn't trying to push one's understanding onto the other person, then ultimately, the worst that can happen is that the interaction goes bad. "you are...""no i'm not, i am...""no you're not, you are..." etc etc etc "you don't understand me at all!""i know more about you than you can ever hope to know, cuz *I've* read about socionics!"

    (that last statement was meant as a joke and doesn't reflect Five whatsoever)

    Anyways, basically I don't think that we are talking about different things. Some people are more aware than others of the process they go through to do something. Some people are more aware of the final result. Some people test, some don't. Some people are better at empathy than others. Some people push their understanding, some don't. And none of those things above are necessarily connected to another.

    (For example, we can have a person who is more aware of the final result than the process they go through, they don't test, but still have good empathy and don't push their understanding onto the person they are empathizing with.)
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    I still think that the most basic part of empathy is an awareness of what someone else is feeling... it differs from sympathy in that it's not just that you feel for them, but that you actually feel what they are feeling. This is where it can be nit-picked though, because I don't see how you could feel *exactly* what they are feeling, as every sort of feeling is unique. For instance when I feel sad, each time it is not the same as it was the last time I felt sad... and it tends to change even as I'm feeling it. Also their experience and feelings are unique to them, and though you may feel something close to it, I don't see how you could feel it exactly.

    Raw empathy is a sort of langauge... it's the cues the other person sends out, in their words, their tone of voice, their movements, their expressions, etc. that tells you what they are feeling... it's not that you analyze these things or even are aware necessarily that you're "reading" them... but the feeling gets communicated to you anyway... you feel it. This then affects how you interact with them... you respond to their emotions. For humans this language seems to be pretty universal... it seems to be genetic... for instance a smile means about the same thing regardless of your culture, or the conditions you were raised in. "Smile" doesn't necessarily always mean happy... there are sad smiles, and cynical smiles, and sadistic smiles... etc. But there's no confusion in reading these things regardless of where someone comes from (the conditions in which they developed), as near as I can tell. If there is, it's negligable.

    This also becomes apparent when people "read" the feelings of other animals - because they may automatically misread them. For instance, I was watching a program on chimpanzees a while back, and it was noted in the program that chimp expressions are sometimes *very* different from human expressions. I don't remember off the top of my head, but for example, when a chimp "smiles" I think it usually means they are afraid. People tend to misread chimpanzees at first because they're going off their natural ways of interpretting the *human* "language" of empathy, which differs somewhat from the chimpanzee "language" of it. But it seems that humans and other mammals are usually able to learn to interpret each other's feelings pretty quickly... probably because mammals tend to be very similar emotionally.

    Of course this isn't all there is to empathy. But I think that's the most basic element of it. Alone, this is not something where you can project your feelings onto someone else... it's that their feelings are being read by you (though you may not be aware of this) and in your mind you start to feel the same feelings that you just "read" (in a much milder form, hopefully). Or you simply match the feeling with a concept of a particular feeling in your mind (again automatically) without actually feeling it... and so then you know (*automatically*) what the other person is feeling. This is a dynamic process in that it is always underway... it flows... your awareness of their feelings flows with their conveyence of the "same" feelings.

    I think the part of empathy that I am most in tune with (more than all that I just said above) is insights I get about how someone is feeling, thinking, what their point of view is, what led them to where they are, just all sorts of insights about them and who they are. Once I see most of their "essence," most things about them are not hard to understand... I wouldn't call this empathy by itself though, because it isn't just about feelings... in fact it could have very little to do with feelings. This is probably the "key" way that I "read" others... I've noticed I'm often not looking at people when they're talking, yet I get all these insights about them... I'm not reading a lot of the cues they're sending out, because I'm not even noticing them... so I derive a lot off of very little. But I've also noticed that if I'm unclear, *then* I will glance at them and search for the information I need, or ask them certain questions... and then I'll go back to pretty much looking inside my own mind. But again, this is dynamic... it happens simultaneously... automatically... I don't really think about it very much.

    The other part of it is that you can think about your interaction with them after the fact and analyze what went on... this can be a very logical process in that you're putting pieces together. More insights can arise during this, as things fall into place.

    The entire time, the mind wanders over previous interactions with the person, or similar patterns in interactions with others, or things it reminds you of... or memories that have been brought forth... blah, blah, blah.

    Meh... this still is way too simplistic to describe everything... it's a gross over-simplification.

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    Hi Ann,

    I think that what Five is describing is the end results of whatever her process is. It doesn't seem that she is aware of her process. (which isn't a bad thing, btw) But she does seem to be aware of the results and maybe how she feels about the results. It doesn't seem yet that she tests her understanding or empathy of the person, however.
    I agree that maybe I donít test the results. But then again, my Ďseeingí into other people seems so vivid that the need to check it out never occurred to me, and it seems so difficult to rationalise the process. The process seems more intuitive.

    Itís also interesting that you mentioned things like saying ďyou are ÖĒ Because, if I were asked to rationalise who somebody was, Iím not sure where Iíd start. Itís difficult to put it into words - but maybe you should check out my posts in the statues thread, starting from the bottom of this page:
    http://www.the16types.info/vbulletin...t=15212&page=9

    Maybe that'll give you some insight into what I'm describing.

    By the way, why do you think Iím a she? I usually keep details about myself, including gender, out of my posts


    Hi Loki,

    I still think that the most basic part of empathy is an awareness of what someone else is feeling... it differs from sympathy in that it's not just that you feel for them, but that you actually feel what they are feeling.
    Personally, Iíd agree that empathy is that awareness, that seeing into other people. But Iím not so sure about feeling what theyíre feeling. I can sort of see that what other people feeling has a deep, low impact on what Iím feeling, but itís incredibly subtle and I think you mean something more overt.

    Raw empathy is a sort of langauge... it's the cues the other person sends out, in their words, their tone of voice, their movements, their expressions, etc. that tells you what they are feeling... it's not that you analyze these things or even are aware necessarily that you're "reading" them... but the feeling gets communicated to you anyway... you feel it. This then affects how you interact with them... you respond to their emotions. For humans this language seems to be pretty universal... there's no confusion in reading these things regardless of where someone comes from (the conditions in which they developed), as near as I can tell. If there is, it's negligable. Ö Or you simply match the feeling with a concept of a particular feeling in your mind (again automatically) without actually feeling it... and so then you know (*automatically*) what the other person is feeling. This is a dynamic process in that it is always underway... it flows... your awareness of their feelings flows with their conveyence of the "same" feelings.
    I quite identify with this.





    I really like how we are all talking about roughly the same thing, but having such different approaches. Could this be a Socionics thing? My Socionics knowledge is pretty hazy, so Iím looking forward to see if you have anything to say
    Five/Tanzhe

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    escaping anndelise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Five View Post
    Hi Ann,

    I agree that maybe I donít test the results. But then again, my Ďseeingí into other people seems so vivid that the need to check it out never occurred to me, and it seems so difficult to rationalise the process. The process seems more intuitive.

    Itís also interesting that you mentioned things like saying ďyou are ÖĒ Because, if I were asked to rationalise who somebody was, Iím not sure where Iíd start. Itís difficult to put it into words - but maybe you should check out my posts in the statues thread, starting from the bottom of this page:
    http://www.the16types.info/vbulletin...t=15212&page=9

    Maybe that'll give you some insight into what I'm describing.
    Thanks for the link, that actually helps a lot in understanding what you are talking about. To be honest, though, describing what you think someone is like, or could be like, or describing some insights about them, wouldn't fall under "empathy". If I'm wrong, someone correct me, please.

    By the way, why do you think Iím a she? I usually keep details about myself, including gender, out of my posts
    My apologies. It was a sense that I got from reading your posts. Which I obviously didn't test. But I have now been...sorta corrected, lol.. and will strive more to not place a gender upon your name.

    I really like how we are all talking about roughly the same thing, but having such different approaches. Could this be a Socionics thing? My Socionics knowledge is pretty hazy, so Iím looking forward to see if you have anything to say
    I would think that before we can determine if this is possibly a socionics thing, we have to make sure we are speaking the same language. And after reading the link you offered to help further describe what you are talking about, I don't believe that we are talking about the same thing.

    hmmm....

    Unless maybe you were doing something along the lines of: b) simulate the emotional feeling and then look around for a suitable reason for this to fit.
    Like, in the case of the statue/bust, if you were attempting to simulate the emotional feeling the bust showed, and then looked around for a suitable reason for the bust's wrinkles, look, etc..then it would still fall under empathizing. Note: This doesn't have to be a conscious process. And would still fall under being more aware of the results rather than the process.

    Other valid option is that I haven't a clue on this thread topic .
    IEE 649 sx/sp cp

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    Quote Originally Posted by Five
    Personally, Iíd agree that empathy is that awareness, that seeing into other people. But Iím not so sure about feeling what theyíre feeling. I can sort of see that what other people feeling has a deep, low impact on what Iím feeling, but itís incredibly subtle and I think you mean something more overt.
    Hmm. I think you're right actually. I don't think it *needs* to involve feeling what someone else is feeling (as Kristiina pointed out once, it could be a logical understanding of what they are feeling), but that it *can*. I think that might put it better. (Again, keeping in mind it may be impossible to feel or to know *exactly* what someone else is feeling.)

    Also, what you said about the extent to which how someone else feels impacts your own feelings is also relevant I think... For instance, it's possible to be very empathetic without allowing the feelings of others to strongly impact how you feel (or even to impact it at all). I think that's actually a separate element... empathy *can* involve being impacted emotionally by others emotions, but it need not to still be empathy.

    I think maybe this fleshes it out better. Hopefully.

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    Hi Ann,

    I would think that before we can determine if this is possibly a socionics thing, we have to make sure we are speaking the same language.
    Very much so.

    Thanks for the link, that actually helps a lot in understanding what you are talking about. To be honest, though, describing what you think someone is like, or could be like, or describing some insights about them, wouldn't fall under "empathy".
    Iíd agree. Empathy isnít just about who somebody is, itís also about what theyíre feeling. But Iíd say that this ability to tell who somebody is definitely overlaps with being able to tell what theyíre feeling (i.e. empathy). For those statues, they have their own feel and vibe, and that was what I was picking up on - not who they were, more of how they were feeling or what image was been projected through the statue.

    Or, to put it another way: I see who person X is. But ďwho person X isĒ includes emotions, vibes, feelings etc.

    My apologies. It was a sense that I got from reading your posts. Which I obviously didn't test. But I have now been...sorta corrected, lol.. and will strive more to not place a gender upon your name.
    Thatís OK Empathy is normally considered a more Ďfeminineí topic

    But Iím a he, just for future reference


    Hi Loki,

    Hmm. I think you're right actually. I don't think it *needs* to involve feeling what someone else is feeling (as Kristiina pointed out once, it could be a logical understanding of what they are feeling), but that it *can*. I think that might put it better. (Again, keeping in mind it may be impossible to feel or to know *exactly* what someone else is feeling.)
    Ah cool


    And, for everyone (although maybe thisíll help you Kioshi a little),

    I just found something by Expat that might clarify what Iím trying to say. Check out his Fi description here: http://www.the16types.info/vbulletin...ead.php?t=7305

    To try to use this as a basis on which to describe what I feel:

    What I seem to experience is a kind of foundation, static laser beam and a more advanced, changing laser beam.

    The foundation laser beam is about who somebody is, kinda deeper down; the more advanced laser beam is about what theyíre putting out at that time. The connection seems to happen in that I can be very aware of the two laser beams intuitively, although I might find it difficult to intellectualise it and definitely say what the laser beams are like, as in: ďhey, the foundation laser beam is purple for about 95% of the time, and the other 5% is completely random, and the advanced laser beam is about 20% red, 40% green, and the other 40% is flickering between yellow, orange and pink in a 2:1:4 ratio every minuteĒ.

    But these laser beams are not peopleís faÁade or mask. Its more like their internal personality than anything else.


    Hmm ... does this help at all?
    Five/Tanzhe

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    Empathy is developed through emotional experience. You don't really know how it feels to be burned, dumped, betrayed, stranded, etc. until it happens to you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zenbrat View Post
    Empathy is developed through emotional experience. You don't really know how it feels to be burned, dumped, betrayed, stranded, etc. until it happens to you.
    That's true... but you can imagine it rather easily... but of course, experience can trump imagination in vividness or intensity.

    When my sister and I were little, if either of us hit our mother (I guess we did a few times)... she hit us back (not hard or anything). This strongly communicated to us (apparently, as I don't remember) how it feels to be hit by someone (emotionally)... which taught us very quickly not to hit because we were able to put it together that how we felt when she hit us back was how she had felt when we hit her... and since the feeling was unpleasant, naturally the desire not to inflict it on anyone arose.

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    Did I mention that I lack empathy to the point of being autistic?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ezra View Post
    Did I mention that I lack empathy to the point of being autistic?
    I'm not sure if I can empathasize with your lack of empathy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ezra View Post
    Right, is empathy Fi? Or is it Fe? Or both?

    I lack empathy anyhow. To the point of autism.
    "Empathy" is a loaded word.

    I think there are Fe and Fi forms of empathy, and the basic misunderstanding between Fe and Fi quadra types is partly because each side sees the other as lacking their own form of "empathy".
    , LIE, ENTj logical subtype, 8w9 sx/sp
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    gah you're like the shittiest ENTj ever!

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    Empathy, as it is commonly used, has to fairly distinct meanings.

    The first, which is the more traditional meaning, is contrasted frequently with sympathy. In this sense, empathy is the ability to related to someone emotionally because you've been there. This, as opposed to sympathy, which the care you feel for someone's well-being (like compassion), is meant as a more "logical" kind of feeling, in that you can express it in terms of a similar experience: "Oh, I know how that goes, because this one time I was..." This is something that can be conveyed through any information aspect. For example (these examples are kinda stereotypical):

    • - I remember when I overcame the challenge of that feeling and grew as an individual
    • - That really sucked, but it opened my eyes to a new way of seeing things.
    • - Those times really made me evaluate the nature of reality.
    • - I remember I couldn't get anything done, but by pushing through, I became more capable than I was before.


    The second meaning, which is a more recent meaning, refers to the ability to pick up on others' emotions and experience them as your own. In this sense, you are still relating, but it based on that ability to experience the emotion with someone else. This is much more strongly correlated with and , but it also implies a special sensitivity and vulnerability that many are not willing to expose themselves to among those they do not care about. In this way, empathy is more of a developed trait, produced by a willingness to be vulnerable because you care about the person involved, or because you've made a decision not to guard yourself so strongly even in public. Even as a logical type, empathy is something that I can open myself up to. But it's scary.

    But and empathy are distinctly different. The reason and empathy of this sort conflict is because is about an emotional state ("internal dynamics of bodies"), whereas is about an attitude toward someone or something ("internal statics of fields"). I'm much better with because it treats feeling as some sort of object, and doesn't focus on it's relationship with anything else. In music, for example, most valuers seem to not really care what the emotion of the music is about; i.e., picks up on the mood of the song, but is largely indifferent to the reasons for and the outlook of said mood. There are a lot of songs that I don't like specifically because I cannot relate to the mood, but I can listen to a song about being angry at yo woman when I'm angry at my boss, just because it's the anger I'm interested in. types have to know what the mood is about.
    Last edited by JRiddy; 04-16-2008 at 06:50 PM.

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    Hi Expat, nice to see you back

    Quote Originally Posted by Expat View Post
    "Empathy" is a loaded word.
    Yeah, I can see that now. Itís amazing that different people all have different ideas of what empathy is. Which is why Iíve tried to keep my focus on my experiences.

    I think there are Fe and Fi forms of empathy, and the basic misunderstanding between Fe and Fi quadra types is partly because each side sees the other as lacking their own form of "empathy".
    May I ask what, in the posts so far in this thread, you would consider Fe-empathy and what you would consider Fi-empathy? And where do you see Fe- and Fi-quadra types?

    Best,
    Five/Tanzhe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Five View Post
    Hi Expat, nice to see you back
    Thanks! Sorry for taking long to reply.

    Quote Originally Posted by Five View Post
    May I ask what, in the posts so far in this thread, you would consider Fe-empathy and what you would consider Fi-empathy? And where do you see Fe- and Fi-quadra types?
    Not sure if I understood your question. Fe-quadra types are Alpha and Beta; Fi-quadra types are Gamma and Delta.

    JRiddy's understanding as per his post just above is close to how I see it (if I understood him correctly).

    I don't want to say who is referring to what in previous posts, because I think that, like with empathy itself, people may be using the same words to describe different things.

    I see empathy as the inclination, or ability, to put yourself in the other person's shoes as to what the other person is going through emotionally. But isn't that the problem - that people have different emotional needs? Suppose that person A is very upset in a given moment - for some reason - and says very hurtful things to person B, who in principle had nothing to do with person A being upset.

    Now, person B may complain about person A's "lack of empathy" in not realizing how what A said would hurt B. At the same time, A may complain at B's "lack of empathy" in not understanding A's emotional state and that what A said should not be seen as something to permanently affect A and B's relationship.

    I think that in this case A was complaining about B's lack of Fe empathy, and B was complaining about A's lack of Fi empathy.
    , LIE, ENTj logical subtype, 8w9 sx/sp
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    gah you're like the shittiest ENTj ever!

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    Not sure if I understood your question.
    Sorry about that - I think it was just a tautology for ďwhatís Fi/Fe empathyĒ and ďwhat in this thread is Fi/Fe empathyĒ.

    But I think you answered the question. Hopefully I've got this straight -

    Fe empathy = understanding anotherís emotional state and that maybe the emotional state requires certain interaction-rules to be temporarily changed

    Fi empathy = understanding that, despite anotherís emotional state, the interaction-rules remain more constant and that what you say can still have the same effect as in another emotional state

    So would a good illustration be practical jokes? As in, a Fe-quadra type will tend to think that practical jokes are OK because the emotional situation allows for it, while a Fi-quadra type will tend to think that practical jokes aren't OK because they just don't think that way.

    Best,
    Five/Tanzhe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Five View Post
    Fe empathy = understanding anotherís emotional state and that maybe the emotional state requires certain interaction-rules to be temporarily changed

    Fi empathy = understanding that, despite anotherís emotional state, the interaction-rules remain more constant and that what you say can still have the same effect as in another emotional state

    So would a good illustration be practical jokes? As in, a Fe-quadra type will tend to think that practical jokes are OK because the emotional situation allows for it, while a Fi-quadra type will tend to think that practical jokes aren't OK because they just don't think that way.
    That is sort of what I think, not sure if we mean the same thing.
    , LIE, ENTj logical subtype, 8w9 sx/sp
    Quote Originally Posted by implied
    gah you're like the shittiest ENTj ever!

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    Yeah, words on a webpage aren't always the greatest way of communicating

    Anyway, thanks for your help
    Five/Tanzhe

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