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Conceptualizing the Self. Empathizing with Others - Essay Example

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Conceptualizing the Self, Empathizing with Others When people think about empathy, the tendency is always to focus on the external factors that prompt the individual to react. When a human being feels compassion for another, it is usually the condition of the subject that is highlighted and not the internal dynamics of the person that felt…
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Conceptualizing the Self. Empathizing with Others
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Download file to see previous pages While only a few could indeed achieve such level of appreciation, this happens to be the most accurate description of the grounds for empathy. When a person empathizes, he does not just react to what he sees. His empathy is always based on the concept of the self. In treating others, a selfless individual can have a different approach to one who has even the slightest selfish tendencies. Such difference could still be identifiable despite the fact that they are confronted with the same objective condition of the others. Robert Thurman’s Wisdom clarifies this point by citing the experience while engaging in Buddhist meditation. Thurman asserts that genuine empathy requires selflessness. Juhani Pallasmaa, on the other hand, articulates that in order to make a connection with his environment, man must use all his senses more. In his Architecture and the Senses, he explains that senses play a key role in the human being’s correct appreciation of the situations he is confronted with. Empathy, however, is not just used on fellow human beings but also with the other species. Charles Siebert’s An Elephant Crackup focuses on this. At the same time, it also gives insights on how human insensitivity could lead to discord not just with the other species but with themselves. ...
Because of the absence of any reaction, positive or otherwise, the idea immediately developed by observers is that such persons do not see them at all. The truth, however, is that as long as human beings have the faculties or the five senses working, it is impossible for one to be insensitive. However, the senses can only do so much. If the mindset can actually disregard the senses, then whatever it is that can be seen, touched, tasted, smelled, and heard would be immaterial. It is when this occurs that one would also be unable to connect or to empathize with others. According to Robert Thurman, “you cannot disappear into your own blissful void, because you are part of everyone and they are part of you…if you have no ultimate self, that makes you free to be your relative self, along with other beings” (463). When an individual is consumed by his own mindset, he tends to lose his connection with the real world and he detaches himself not just from the people that surrounds him but also from himself. This is because is himself a product of reality. However, to fully grasp the essence of self and appreciate its connection to others has become difficult to do, especially now that technology has made it possible for the individual to work, study, and have leisure without the company of others. This is what Pallasmaa points out when writes that “the growing experiences of alienation, detachment, and solitude in the technological world today, for instance, may be related with a certain pathology of the sense” (284). Man’s appreciation of reality has increasing become dependent on what he sees on TV or on the movies, or on what he reads and views ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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