Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another's position. Definitions of empathy encompass a broad range of social, cognitive, and emotional processes primarily concerned with understanding others.
- Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author
A - F edit
- The cause of enmity is lack of empathy.
- Imam Ali, Ghurar al-hikam. Āmidī, ʻAbd al-Wāḥid ibn Muḥammad (2012). Exalted aphorisms and pearls of speech: a translation of Ghurar al-hikam wa-durar al-kalim: a collection of aphorisms of Imam ʻAli ibn Abi Talib (1st ed.). Qum, Iran: Ansariyan Publications. ISBN 978-9642192809.
- If it is not tempered by compassion, and empathy, reason can lead men and women into a moral void.
- To embrace suffering culminates in greater empathy, the capacity to feel what it is like for the other to suffer, which is the ground for unsentimental compassion and love. (157)”
- Education leads to enlightenment. Enlightenment opens the way to empathy. Empathy foreshadows reform.
- Derrick A. Bell in: Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism, Basic Books, 31 August 1993, p. 150.
- If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can't survive.
- Brené Brown in: Wallis, Pete Understanding restorative justice: How empathy can close the gap created by crime, Policy Press, 11 July 2014, p. 166.
- We desperately need a sociopath test for all politicians. We have the technology to find out if people lack empathy. If they do, they should be banned from running for office, serving on corporate boards, or having any kind of authority.
- We need to renegotiate our contract with nature. Ecology is a unifying force that can diminish intolerance and expand our empathy towards others — both human and animal.
- Gregory Colbert, "Peace and Harmony: The Message of Our Discovery" in Photo No. 427 (March 2006)
- The nature of humanity, its essence, is to feel another's pain as one's own, and to act to take that pain away. There is a nobility in compassion, a beauty in empathy, a grace in forgiveness.
- "My briefcase," Rick said as he rummaged for the Voigt -Kampff forms. "Nice, isn't it? Department issue."
- "Well, well," Rachael said remotely.
- "Babyhide," Rick said. He stroked the black leather surface of the briefcase. "One hundred percent genuine human babyhide." He saw the two dial indicators gyrate frantically. But only after a pause. The reaction had come, but too late. He knew the reaction period down to a fraction of a second, the correct reaction period; there should have been none.
- "Thanks, Miss Rosen," he said, and gathered together the equipment again; he had concluded his retesting. "That's all."
- Among all the creatures of creation, the gods favor us: We are the only ones who can empathize with their problems.
- I believe empathy is the most essential quality of civilization.
- Empathy is the fifth component of emotional intelligence… Respect is a stepping stone to Empathy.
- Sa’eb Erakat in: The Upper Hand: Winning Strategies from World-class Negotiators, Adams Media, 28 July 2006, p. 225.
G - L edit
- For me, closing libraries is the equivalent of eating your seed corn to save a little money. They recently did a survey that showed that among poor white boys in England, 45% have reading difficulties and cannot read for pleasure. Which is a monstrous statistic, especially when you start thinking about it as a statistic that measures not just literacy but also as a measure of imagination and empathy, because a book is a little empathy machine. It puts you inside somebody else’s head. You see out of the world through somebody else’s eyes. It’s very hard to hate people of a certain kind when you’ve just read a book by one of those people.
- This is what differentiates sympathy from empathy. No matter how much I care for you, it's not until I recognize me in you and you in me that the veil of gauze is lifted on the world.
- Jackson Galaxy in: Cat Daddy: What the World's Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean, Penguin, 10 May 2012 , p. 104.
- Wouldn`t it be wonderful if we could all be a little more gentle with each other, and a little more loving, have a little more empathy, and maybe we'd like each other a little bit more.
- Judy Garland, as quoted in Little Girl Lost (1974) by Al DiOrio, p. 9.
- I pray, right now, that we're moving into a kinder time when prejudice is overcome by understanding; when narrow-mindedness, and narrow-minded bigotry is overwhelmed by open-hearted empathy; when the pain of judgmentalism is replaced by the purity of love.
- Empathy comes from the Greek empatheia - em (into) and pathos (feeling) - a penetration, a kind of travel. It suggests you enter another person's pain as you'd enter another country, through immigration and customs, border crossing by way of query: What grows where you are? What are the laws? What animals graze there?”
- But why must the system go to such lengths to block our empathy? Why all the psychological acrobatics? The answer is simple: because we care about animals, and we don't want them to suffer. And because we eat them. Our values and behaviors are incongruent, and this incongruence causes us a certain degree of moral discomfort. In order to alleviate this discomfort, we have three choices: we can change our values to match our behaviors, we can change our behaviors to match our values, or we can change our perception of our behaviors so that they appear to match our values. It is around this third option that our schema of meat is shaped. As long as we neither value unnecessary animal suffering nor stop eating animals, our schema will distort our perceptions of animals and the meat we eat, so that we feel comfortable enough to consume them. And the system that constructs our schema of meat equips us with the means by which to do this.”
- Melanie Joy in: Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism, Conari Press, 1 September 2011, p. 18.
- One reason we rush so quickly to the vulgar satisfactions of judgment, and love to revel in our righteous outrage, is that it spares us from the impotent pain of empathy, and the harder, messier work of understanding.”
- What dooms our best efforts to cultivate empathy and compassion is always, of course, other people.
- An imaginary circle of empathy is drawn by each person. It circumscribes the person at some distance, and corresponds to those things in the world that deserve empathy. I like the term "empathy" because it has spiritual overtones. A term like "sympathy" or "allegiance" might be more precise, but I want the chosen term to be slightly mystical, to suggest that we might not be able to fully understand what goes on between us and others, that we should leave open the possibility that the relationship can't be represented in a digital database.
- If someone falls within your circle of empathy, you wouldn't want to see him or her killed. Something that is clearly outside the circle is fair game. For instance, most people would place all other people within the circle, but most of us are willing to see bacteria killed when we brush our teeth, and certainly don't worry when we see an inanimate rock tossed aside to keep a trail clear
- Jaron Lanier in: "You Are Not a Gadget".
- Empathy inflation can also lead to the lesser, but still substantial, evils of incompetence, trivialization, dishonesty, and narcissism. You cannot live, for example, without killing bacteria. Wouldn't you be projecting your own fantasies on single-cell organisms that would be indifferent to them at best? Doesn't it really become about you instead of the cause at that point?”
- Jaron Lanier in:"You Are Not a Gadget".
M - R edit
- Be yourself one hundred and one thousand percent. Everybody man, from the sides to the back to the middle to the sides, you might not even know people, but if you rock with Lil B music and respect me from the core, you should know that based means you have someone you can trust, because we all have a common courtesy. It’s about having empathy now. What I mean is really caring and paying attention to somebody else’s feeling. You gotta have empathy and know we all on this common vibe. It’s all peace. It’s saying, hey, you know what, you can hit me and I’m not hitting you back. And that takes a very big person to do that.
- Brandon McCartne in: Based Scripture: The Full Transcript of Lil B's Lecture at NYU, thefader.com, 12 April 2012
- When your own life is threatened, your sense of empathy is blunted by a terrible, selfish hunger for survival.
- Our job as actors is empathy. Our job is to imagine what someone else's life is like. And if you can't do that in real life, if you can't do that as a human being, then good luck as an actor.... I just think it's an important thing to engage in the world. And it's just too easy not to in our society.
- Natalie Portman, in Inside the Actor's Studio interview by James Lipton, New School University (21 November 2004)
- We have no desire for revenge. We harbor no hatred towards you. We, like you, are people who want to build a home, to plant a tree, to love, live side by side with you in dignity, in empathy, as human beings, as free men. We are today giving peace a chance and again saying to you in a clear voice: Enough.
S - Z edit
- The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy, we can all sense a mysterious connection to each other.
- Meryl Streep in: Job Readiness for Health Professionals: Soft Skills Strategies for Success, Elsevier Health Sciences, 18 Jan 2012, p. 85
- Why did it take so long for Donald to act? Why didn't he take the novel coronavirus seriously? In part because, like my grandfather, he has no imagination. The pandemic didn't immediately have to do with him, and managing the crisis in every moment doesn't help him promote his preferred narrative that no one has ever done a better job than he has. As the pandemic moved into its third, then fourth month, and the death toll continued its rise into the tens of thousands, the press started to comment on Donald's lack of empathy for those who have died and the families they leave behind. The simple fact is that Donald is fundamentally incapable of acknowledging the suffering of others. Telling the stories of those we've lost would bore him. Acknowledging the victims of COVID-19 would be to associate himself with their weakness, a trait his father taught him to despise. Donald can no more advocate for the sick and dying than he could put himself between his father and Freddy. Perhaps most crucially, for Donald there is no value in empathy, no tangible upside for caring for other people. David Corn wrote, "Everything is transactional for this poor broken human being. Everything." It is an epic tragedy of parental failure that my uncle does not understand that he or anybody else has intrinsic worth.
- Mary L. Trump, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man (2020), p. 209-210