|# 16 Oct, 2013 22:50|
||I've heard before that empathy isn't just READING the emotions/energy of others, but sometimes involves actually TAKING ON those traits. I.e. Being sad around a sad person (not just knowing they're sad) or even feeling loopy off of someone else's drugs. Has anybody else heard of/experienced this?|
|# 17 Oct, 2013 14:58|
||I get what you mean. I have learned with some people and situations that I have to put myself into their state of mind completely in order to fully communicate with them. You used sadness as an example so let's say someone is really upset about something. Even if you fully understand what they are going through you can be damn sure they don't want to hear your positive thinking bullshit. I feel like sometimes the best way I can help and communicate with someone is just by joining them in that emotion and riding it out with them. Situations like this are when I feel like I need to go above and beyond just getting a read on someone.|
|# 17 Oct, 2013 17:34|
I dig what you're saying, but what I'm asking is a little different (not your fault, I didn't ask it very clearly). Let me try again…
Think of empathy as a sense…like seeing or hearing. I’ll use hearing for this extended metaphor. Imagine you walk into a crowded room. If you are listening to your iPod, you hear nothing. This is like a person who is entirely selfish sees nothing in the face of other people. The basic sense of empathy is blocked by a more overwhelming distraction (their own thoughts) that prevents external focus.
Now say you’re not 100% selfish. When you walk into the crowded room you’re going to be hit by the energy around you. This is like walking in and hearing the buzz of a crowd. Is the crowded room a funeral? Then empathy is going to hit you with a sense of sadness. Is it a party? You’re probably going to feel upbeat and excited. So that’s a very general form of empathy.
If you’re more advanced at empathy, you can start getting a vibe from specific individuals that you choose to tune into. In the hearing metaphor, you’re walking up to someone and listening to them talk. Now, you’re not just getting a buzz of sound, you’re focused in so you can process what that person is actually saying. This would be like what Daniele was talking about. Of course, you can’t take this step if you don’t know how to speak the language this person speaks. That’s where the homework comes in. You have to learn to “speak” empathy so you can take in the details.
What I’m asking about above, though, is more like the extremes of this sense. Sticking with my metaphor, here would be some examples:
A person who is deaf = a sociopath, a person who utterly lacks empathy (or conscience). In both cases it’s a disorder…a failed system in the way the human animal is supposed to work. At some point, something went wrong in the circuitry…
A person with musical ability = someone like Daniele. The musician not just hears sound, but is able to use that sense to the fullest range of it’s potential (at least in the human spectrum). They can grasp minute changes in pitch that other people can’t. In them, hearing is an art and they enjoy it. Similarly, a person who is gifted at empathy can naturally pick up more nuance when discerning people’s energy and emotional state…like figuring out somebody’s girlfriend wants to suck blood. Some people are born naturally “musical,” but anybody can learn to play an instrument with enough training…so do your homework, right?
A person with super-sensitive hearing = an “empath.”* This is a term you run across in New Agey type of material. It’s generally referring to somebody who’s got borderline psychic powers. An “empath” is defined as someone who TAKES ON the emotions/energy surrounding them. These people would be completely overwhelmed by crowded spaces because, like the person with super-sensitive hearing, they wouldn’t hear buzz, they’d hear the minutiae of all the conversations at once, which would be completely overwhelming. Or, in the example I used in my first post, they’d experience the physical side affects of someone who is on drugs….sort of like a human that can hear a dog whistle. So, the super-sensitive hearing and the super-sensitive empathy would mean that you’d be experiencing a normal sense at a higher, more intense level than the average human. It would get in your head and you couldn’t turn it off.
That last example is like what I was asking about in my first post. Do you know anybody that has this super-sensitivity? Do you think ANYBODY does. I think the shit that exists on the edges of what we currently consider “normal” is really cool, so I was just wondering if anybody else had an opinion on this.
I was trying to work that all out while I typed so it’s probably a disaster…hope it makes SOME sense! Anyway, I’m really curious about your thoughts.
*For the record, I kind of hate the term “empath.” It creates a box around something we don’t really understand well enough to attempt to define…
|# 17 Oct, 2013 18:18|
I'm sure we have all experienced what you are talking about in those more general examples like the funeral or being in a crowd. You can definitely feel the energy. There have also been times where an individual I was with was having a very strong emotion that I felt and picked up on. But that seems pretty normal to me.
So what your saying is maybe this is an ability we all have and while most of us can only experience the more extreme undeniable examples above there might be some who are more naturally gifted Who pick up and take on every feeling and emotion the people around them are having.
It would be pretty cool if this was the case and like you said was something we could train. I have never experienced something like this myself but it's definitely pretty interesting.