Landscape of Empathy

This drawing is an attempt to make appropriate distinctions in a complex reality around ‘empathy’. Terms that are used to point towards the distinct parts – as always – contain arbitrariness. Disclaimer Please take this with a grain of salt. The drawing is a metaphor to make some things clear while other important distinctions are Read the full article…

The Why of Corporate Compassion

Corporate Compassion is not about pity, nor softness. Its effects are as rock-solid as a corporate building if you know how to bring it about. [see: “Compassion, basically“] Empathy in the line of Compassion Basically, Compassion goes deeper, taking into account the importance of mental-neuronal processing in any human endeavor. Thus, it is also broader, Read the full article…

How to Keep the Empathy

The COVID-era has profoundly shaken many people. This has enhanced an upsurge of interest in empathy. However, may this be a passing phenomenon? What can one do to make it more durable? About empathy [see: “Landscape of Empathy”] The term ‘empathy’ – unlike Compassion – does not necessarily relate to depth. [see: “Compassion = Empathy-Beyond“] Read the full article…

Compassion = Empathy-Beyond

The difference, conceptually, mainly denotes the importance of subconceptual mental processing. This is my use of terminology. Please look at it conceptually ― much more interesting. [see: “Conceptual Landscapes”] In any case, the two concepts have fuzzy and overlapping borders. Please also read about this other distinction: [see: “Altruism – Compassion”] Empathy beyond the conceptual, Read the full article…

Empathy Before Money?

This is indeed challenging in a world (still) bent on money. The challenge is to make ’empathy’ more worthy in the stakeholders’ perception. Money at second place This may seem too idealistic to be viable. Does the money not always prevail? “Cash is king” and “Money makes the world go round”? So, will people who Read the full article…

Is Compassion Art?

Is a person’s Compassion unchangeable? Or can one enhance it, building further on an innate capacity? Placebo To understand Compassion-as-art, we need to differentiate it from placebo-as-lie (which I generally call just placebo). If this is not done, Compassion may be fought against – correctly – by any scientifically minded person. And that would be Read the full article…

Compassion and Equanimity

Compassion and equanimity: two complex concepts that belong together in-depth. Compassion is a kind of positive empathy. Not: getting carried away in other people’s feelings, but:  having and showing attention for them  => feeling those feelings like the waves on a deep ocean and then inviting the others to go deeper with you. Emotions are Read the full article…

No Compassion, no Sense

In search of sense in the most general way, I come to Compassion. Even intelligence makes no sense without it. What’s the meaning of it all? God is an easy solution. Believe in one or another, and you get meaningfulness for free. However, the solution is so easy that we find a thousand of them. Read the full article…

Compassion towards Happiness

The search for common ground may lead to practical consequences. This is a subtle piece of writing. Its appreciation needs feeling as well as thoughtful understanding. Enforcing happiness doesn’t work. Commonsensically, one cannot enforce happiness nor fight against unhappiness. Trying to do so readily leads to less happiness immediately or in due time ― a Read the full article…

My People is Everybody

Without diminishing the “XX (= my people) first,” it explodes the XX. There is no first, principally, thus also no second and no last. No zero-sum ― only abundance. Please, read first [see: “Compassion, basically“] One can start from the right of the strongest and win ― especially in a game made by oneself with Read the full article…

How to Build a Culture of Compassion

Challenging indeed ― especially in an organizational environment with zero compassion and a lot of fear and toxicity. Some AURELIS-congruent ideas may be helpful. Please read first, [see: “Compassion, basically“]. No coercion One might be tempted to impose some Compassionate rules and quickly get on with the real business. In my view, this is not Read the full article…

Worldwide Compassion

I have a recurrent dream: worldwide Compassion. Note that in this text, I bring my personal view upon what this encompasses. Please read this first: [see: “Compassion Connecting East & West“] Ubiquitous Compassion – in the sense of [see: “Compassion, basically“] – is a worldwide, recognizable phenomenon, although people may realize it in many different Read the full article…

Compassion, Basically

This text and diagram form an entry to the basic idea of Compassion as I write about in many blogs. Preliminary Note that the following diagram is but a mnemonic coat rack. It needs the proper coats for any correct understanding. Some of these are more intellectual, others more pragmatic, to be grasped by doing. Read the full article…

We’ll Make it Through

We may get sick. We will die. We encounter adversities of many kinds. We’ll make it through, together. This is more than a promise. It is a faith. Humankind at its best. Is anything worth anything that diminishes this? I am for you, and you are for me. Compassion in coaching and anywhere else. All Read the full article…

In-Depth Compassion

This is a very complex phenomenon. It is very difficult to reach and has very important implications. The usual view of compassion in relation to empathy Empathy is usually seen as part of a bigger sum that leads to compassion. This is straightforward, as in this simple scheme: If we go somewhat more profoundly into Read the full article…

From Mirror Neurons to Mirror Brain

Seeing the brain as a ‘mirror brain,’ we can see how empathy plays a crucial role in many things mind-related. Empathy is not an add-on. The human thinking is basically empathic. This is an excerpt from [see: “The Journey Towards Compassionate AI.”]. (This blog text is no easy reading.) Some researchers see mirror neurons as Read the full article…

How Empathy Works

This is an explanation at the mental-neuronal patterns level. Encompassing this, empathy goes beyond the purely conceptual, towards ‘big-c-Compassion.’ Please read [see: “Landscape of Empathy“], [see: “Essence of Compassion“] This text is a high-level explanation Being theoretical, it doesn’t delve into the how of making empathy work better depending on the goal. It does show Read the full article…

No Compassion without Growth

Striving towards Compassion puts you in the balance. Are you willing to take the risk? Are you willing to fundamentally ‘grow’? This is about big-c-Compassion ― not something pity-like. [see: “Essence of Compassion”] Please also read [see: “Growth, Compassion, Love”] Compassion will not happen without effort. A Compassionate person doesn’t mind the effort. Like Grace Read the full article…

Compassion over Addiction

Addiction and Compassion (with capital C) are subconceptual happenings. Thus, they belong to the same domain and which is different from the merely conceptual one. This opens specific perspectives. Please make sure to read first: [see: “Essence of Compassion”] [see: “Addiction: in Search of Deeper Meaning”] [see: “About ‘Subconceptual’”] Also, please follow the other links Read the full article…

Empathy vs. Placebo

As in other cases, how terms are used is of little importance as long as crucial conceptual distinctions are valued. The landscape of subconceptual communication Mere consciousness is not the realm of subconceptual communication (SC). [see: “About ‘Subconceptual’”] This is also the case in health-related issues. [see: “Subconceptual Processing in Health and Healing”] A patient Read the full article…

Choosing for Compassion

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Compassion: Relief of Dissociation

This is not straightforwardly the diminishment of suffering. Relief of inner dissociation acts from where it counts: from inside out. Inner dissociation is the presence of stark incongruence(s) in human depth. Eventually, in-depth, ‘suffering’ is itself the feeling of this inner incongruence. The related tension is the tension between mutually incongruent, mental subconceptual patterns. [see: Read the full article…

Only Compassion Works

What works and towards what? This simple dual question has far-reaching consequences. [see: “If it works, then it’s OKAY?”] To me, this question is always important. “It works” is not enough as a statement about anything. Compared to placebo A placebo (defined as deceitful) will never do in any straightforward way since the ‘towards what’ Read the full article…

Altruism – Compassion

Taking into account the depth of nonconscious, subconceptual processing. Empathy is considered elsewhere. [see: “Landscape of Empathy“] For this text, ’empathy’ may be considered as a part of altruism and Compassion. Terms and concepts in an image The relative sizes of the arrows are arbitrary. The circle stands for the mental life of a person. Read the full article…

From Therapy to Empathy

The future cannot be to un-science. It cannot be without empathy in full mode. The term ‘therapist’ comes from the Greek ‘Serapis,’ a Hellenization of the Egyptian god Osiris. [see: “Isis’ priests, named ‘therapists’”] I think that, in those ages, anyone with a serious psycho-somatic disorder could best go and visit such a temple. The Read the full article…

Compassion Connecting East & West

And North and South, of course, and everything in-between ― even past, present, and future. Essential A Compassionate attitude is to be received gracefully after sometimes earning it with huge effort and even danger to yourself. Sacrifices are unnecessary, but the person who is reluctant to make them can hardly attain a Compassionate stance. At Read the full article…

Practicing Compassion

Deep, spontaneous, difficult. Looking for a shortcut? Then it’s even much more difficult. Formal meditation Yes, the beautiful action ― in my view, warm and friendly. [see: “True Meditation is Warm and Friendly”] At least this kind of meditation is a direct practice of Compassion towards yourself, then towards others, and all sentient beings. Soto, Read the full article…

Empathy ― Sympathy

Differences are subtle yet essential ― even more so in healthcare, for instance. Semantics To avoid conceptual misunderstanding, please see the image at [see “Landscape of Empathy”] before reading further. To me, empathy is sitting in the boat, while sympathy is swimming in the water of the stream. Even so, there is no strict delineation Read the full article…

Looking at Suffering

We should never forget the suffering. Numbers don’t suffer. People do. Children and mothers and fathers, as you know. Husbands and wives. We know. Should we then all keep thinking about the suffering of so many who are in misery? Yes, we should, in a way. Of course, we cannot, for several reasons. We don’t Read the full article…

Compassion and Constructionism

Constructionism shows the importance of not getting stuck in a constructed reality. Compassion ethically realizes this for the good of many. I write Compassion with a Capital because of its relation to the subconceptual. Depth involved Compassion encompasses a profound way of looking at people (and all sentient beings). ‘Deep’ in this means that the Read the full article…

Compassionate Goal of Coaching

This goes further than usual. Compassion takes into account the total person and leads to Inner Strength. More than symptomatic This means that people need some proper insight early on. To some, this may be a hurdle even to consider it as a worthy goal. The West, at least, has become a symptomatic society. For Read the full article…

The Coach’s Charisma

Crucial is where it comes from: the outside or the inside. I see in the latter the Compassion-factor. Compassion [see: “Two-Sided Compassion”] Compassionate healing comes from the inside out. This ‘inside’ doesn’t just mean ‘inside the mind.’ It goes deeper within the mind itself in accordance with subconceptual processing, getting to inside mental-neuronal patterns. [see: Read the full article…

Guan-Shi-Yin

Today, you may call me an idealist as never before. An ultra-woke person may call me a sexist. A fact is that Guan-Shi-Yin is female. That, at least, is what is. I cannot help it. Besides, she started male. In Indian Buddhism, long before Jesus preached his lovely message, ‘she’ was known as Avalokiteshvara, the Read the full article…

Sustainability through Compassion

In order to be more than a buzzword, sustainability needs to be more than itself. Without Compassion, there may not even be sustainable sustainability. Please read [see: “Essence of Compassion“] to get a feel of appropriate un-easiness. That is always a good start towards Compassion. Abstractly Compassion is the connection between people in total-person. Making Read the full article…

Essence of Compassion

Effortless and challenging. Compassion is the most natural thing. Thus, there is no effort needed to get into the Compassionate journey. Rather, it needs a letting-go. The direction is towards harmony in the huge set of mental/neuronal patterns of the mind/brain. [see: “Human Brain: Giant Pattern Recognizer”] The more harmony, the less ‘stress.’ Of course, Read the full article…

Religion and Compassion

Compassion = Open Religion? Please read first [see: “Essence of Compassion“] to get a feel of appropriate un-easiness. That is always a good start towards Compassion. Compassion, the road towards nonbelief A belief in a conceptual anything is not religious in my use of terminology. I foresee a gentle slope towards Open Religion [see: “What Read the full article…

Sustainable Healthcare through Compassion

Without Compassion, it is impossible to see the complex connectivity shaping health and illness. This leads more and more to unsustainable healthcare. Please read [see: “Essence of Compassion“] to get a feel of appropriate un-easiness. That is always a good start towards Compassion. Horizontal, vertical This is one way of looking at health and healthcare. Read the full article…

Through Compassion to Compassion

When the means is also the goal, one can foresee a self-enhancing journey towards more Compassion, if only well supported. This is highly hopeful. Compassionate healing A Compassionate stance can have a healing influence in many situations. The Compassionate person does this through closeness in an environment of safety ― including the absence of any Read the full article…

Superficial Empathy?

‘Empathy’ sometimes has a bad name, being what may lead people to irrational behavior. Making a proper distinction between superficial and deep empathy brings us a lot further. A warning: ‘Superficial empathy’ is possible. And it’s, well, superficial, in the sense of exclusively shallow. The latter is very different from a superficial layer that is Read the full article…

When Weeping is Strength

I weep sometimes. Mostly, it has nothing to do with sadness. Also, as a strength, there is never any shame involved. Scientifically Scientifically, I see weeping as very broad mental patterns being touched in an emotional way. Why, in our evolution, did tear glands lend themselves to the expression of such? Maybe it’s because we Read the full article…

25. COVID Compassion – Healing Individuals and Society

In a socially challenging period, human traits may come out intensified. Hopefully, in this corona pandemic, Compassion will prevail. ►►► WHY read this? Compassion is a strong answer to many COVID-related issues. Can it be your answer too? ◄◄◄ Compassion is not ’empathy.’ Apart from terminological issues [see: “Landscape of Empathy”], empathy can be narrow Read the full article…

What Makes Lisa Compassionate?

There are two sides to this: the ethical and the technological. ►►► WHY read this? Thinking about Lisa or working with her, this background may make you better understand what is happening. ◄◄◄ Lisa is an A.I.-driven coaching chat-bot. For more: [see: “Lisa“]. Compassionate Artificial Intelligence In my book The Journey Towards Compassionate A.I. : Read the full article…

Two-Sided Compassion

To relieve suffering and to attain human growth: these two sides form ‘Compassion,’ which one may see as the main aim of humanity. Compassion (with big C) is not something like ‘pity’. To keep the distinction clear, I write Compassion in this text with capital C. A total person (no mere ego) is the modality Read the full article…

Compassionate A.I.

Let me be very positive, envisioning a future in which A.I. will have as the main characteristic that which also is the best in human being. Let me call it ‘Compassion.’ A term does not have the magical feature of conjuring up a concept unless this concept is well defined and agreed upon. To me Read the full article…

Be(com)ing Positive

It happens: people who see themselves as ‘positive’ but who are such only in a superficial layer, like thin ice over a pool. Being positive is not saying ‘yes’ to anything and then again, it is. But not thoughtless, not feeling-less. One can say ‘yes’ in many ways. It can mean “I see you”, “I Read the full article…

Truly Gentle

Being truly gentle includes being gentle to truth in a most humane way. Thus, striving to be gentle is of the highest importance. As in gentle-man, again [see: “A Lady’s Beauty is a Gentleman’s Delight”] Of course, this is not to acquit the ladies from any responsibility or other personal involvement. I’m talking from a Read the full article…

Beyond Sadness

‘Sadness’ is not fixed, impersonal and ‘real’ as is the computer on which I am typing this text. Instead, it is personal, social and ‘real’ in a much more interesting way. As any other emotion: surprise, fear, disgust… We live with emotions. We talk about emotions. We see emotions in other people. We feel them Read the full article…

24. Empathy in 1, 2, 3 – Part 3: ‘Beyond the Conceptual’

“Where two of you are together, I am present.” The human mind: rather a chest of drawers or a cloud? One could see the human mind as a collection of boxes, a kind of chest of drawers in which one can store all kinds of things. There is a clear subdivision. In each tray, there Read the full article…

23. Empathy in 1, 2, 3 – Part 2: ‘Openness’

Most important in empathy: Do not stand in the way of it. Openness to meaningful patterns By this I mean YOUR openness. It may feel like intuition or a deep sensation. You may have already heard of ‘non-conceptual communication’: in addition to everything a patient tells you at a verbal conceptual level, he/she always sends Read the full article…

22. Empathy in 1, 2, 3 – Part 1: ‘Silence’

Silence is the mental space in which the patient may be him/herself. Harsh destination In a previous column, you could read about the importance of empathy. [see: “Empathy: What it Was, Is and… Will Be?“] An empathic doctor does not need to be convinced of that. A non-empathic doctor does, because for him it is, Read the full article…

21. Empathy: What it Was, Is and… Will Be?

Empathy is difficult to conceptualize because it is ‘beyond the conceptual’. What it was In the second half of the 19th century, bedside manners were the main instrument of the doctor. The time of bloodletting, purgatives, and leeches (in 1827 in France still good for an import of 33 million specimens, in addition to the Read the full article…

Growth, Compassion, Love

With capitals, for it is about the total person, including a vast universe of unconscious processing. It’s altogether a familiar, yet tremendous domain. [see first: ‘Landscape of Empathy’]. Please especially look at the image there before your read this present text. Dedicated lexicon: Growth: developing qualitative mental patterns at the subconceptual level, of which the Read the full article…

Can A.I. be Empathic?

Not readily in the completely human sense of course. But can A.I. show sufficient ‘empathy’ for a human to recognize it as such, relate to it and even ‘grow’ through it? [Please read: “Landscape of Empathy”] Humans tend to ‘recognize’ human features in many things. We look at the clouds and we see human faces Read the full article…

Towards Universal Empathy

Universal empathy is a moral stance that may solve the in-group >< out-group problem. [‘further on ‘In-Group Creates Out-Group?’] “How numerous the living beings may be, I pledge to liberate (from suffering) them all.” This is one of four Buddhist ‘vows of the Bodhisattva.’ Not being an adept of Buddhism, I find in it a Read the full article…

Beyond ‘Carrot and Stick’

Carrot and stick have a long history. Going beyond, one can foresee a future based on a more realistic view on human being. Reward and punishment are efficient means to make someone comply to rules and authority. So has always been thought and taught. Reality may have been quite more complicated. In the face of Read the full article…

Manipulation of Empathy

Since empathy is a primordially social reflex, manipulation of empathy is relatively easy and can rightly be called ‘sociopathy’. Unfortunately, this is not seldom in politics worldwide. People are ‘natural empathizers’ but diverse in form and object. For example: empathy for close circle (family, ‘own people’…) versus empathy for wide circle (‘human rights’…). Thus, even Read the full article…

Empathy and Morality

I (yes, I) contend that morality of a really human kind is basically based on empathy. Rationality is its servant. [This text is a continuation on ‘Landscape of Empathy’.] One may recognize a quote from the Scottish philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can Read the full article…

The Middle Way of Dialogue

Dialogue:  speaking while listening and listening while speaking. Dialogue strengthens. Unfortunately, there seems to be a growing lack of it. Speaking while listening Non-verbally, deeply attentive: showing yourself in your listening. It helps the other to speak well and thus it also helps your listening. Listening while speaking Straightforwardly: seeing the other ‘speak while listening’. Read the full article…

The Concept ‘Kindness For the Total Person’

Kindness… is probably the first word that comes to mind with reference to AURELIS. E.g. if you want to explain to anyone what AURELIS is about. It is also very important when you are doing an AURELIS session for example. The aim here is to allow you to be friendly to yourself. It’s not pushing Read the full article…

Do Not Turn the Other Cheek…

… unless you think it’s worthwhile. I have a lot of respect for other-cheek-turners. If however, nothing gets learned from it, one may keep turning cheeks indefinitely. If someone slaps you on the cheek, then I think that it’s better to look at that person than to turn your gaze away while offering the other Read the full article…

Is Empathy a Force of Evil?

Of course not. Still, some describe it this way. The main – but not all – disagreement is one of terminology. Terms matter. Concepts are important. See ‘Landscape of Empathy’. In that drawing, I’ve distinguished some related concepts. Others may put other terms to these concepts. Empathy devoid of rationality is impossible in my conceptualization, Read the full article…

There is Still a Dire Need for More Empathy in Leadership

Good leadership is mostly defined as empathic, yet we frequently end up with a non-empathic, ‘coercive’ one. May this be related to ignoring the unconscious? Although a lot of science proves the importance of the unconscious, to many it is ‘the alien inside’, which provokes anxiety when there is even a possibility to have to Read the full article…

How to Become a Strongly Empathic Leader

Empathy gets wrongly confused with weakness. What we need is strong empathy. Empathy can be defined as understanding and sharing another person’s feelings and emotions, accompanied by a desire for action and while not canceling your own personality. It comes frequently together with integrity, authenticity and humility. Empathy is not a weakness. To constantly take into Read the full article…

About Tolerance

One cannot be tolerant to something one doesn’t know. So first comes Listening. Otherwise ‘tolerance’ can be quite in-tolerant. “You must be tolerant.” is of course a paradox. Is tolerance then selective? It appears to be so. You could even define tolerance as being intolerant to intolerance. There is – at first sight – no Read the full article…

68. Altruism is egoism

Have you ever heard of the Samaritan paradox? Some ‘scientists’ find samaritanism (just doing something for someone else) a very weird phenomenon because it doesn’t fit the so-called biological premise of me-first (including we-first for a group). They look upon any derivation of me-first as either having a hidden agenda or being an aberration, something Read the full article…

24. Love is the ultimate healer

‘Love conquers everything, even death.’ You’ve probably heard it (many times) before. And yes it sounds good, doesn’t it? So you may wonder: is there more to it than just sounding good and ever in a while, maybe, also a bit cheap? ◊◊◊ I think it has been heard and used so many times that Read the full article…

Can Tango Teach Us Empathy?

Tango as art… Historically seen, thinking about empathy originates from thinking about experiencing art. Someone looks at a painting and experiences through this something meaningful deep inside. The viewer feels deeply, empathically touched ‘as if from inside the work of art.’ In most cases it’s difficult to express in words really what this is or Read the full article…

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