Emotional Structure

(Emotional) Numbness



The ability to experience emotions on the basis of information that mainly affects another individual or entity.



"... affects the another ..."

"individual or entity"

"entity" here can include many things: groups, abstract concepts like nature or even the whole Universe, etc.

A property of Human Nature.

not a skill!

Mirriam-Webster's Definition:

"the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner"

Core Concepts

Empathy and (Emotional) Numbness


... describe opposite directions of the same phenomenon.

... are inversely related.

Empathy has segmental properties

and sometimes not

“There is a price to be paid for every increase in consciousness. We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain.”―Alan Watts


(Emotional) Pain


continuous spectrum


useful and sufficient

Sympathy can become empathy

"Empathy is similar to sympathy, but empathy usually suggests stronger, more instinctive feeling. So a person who feels sympathy, or pity, for victims of a war in Asia may feel empathy for a close friend going through the much smaller disaster of a divorce."

The "one-way mirror" metaphor

see CIT

Empathy and Self-Worth

The relationship between someone's Empathy and Self-Worth

A higher self-worth is always connected with being able to reduce empathy for self-protection, when needed. The "ability" to empathize does not mean one "has" to empathize.

This is something that so many of the "helping professions" have to learn. When you have this skill, then being highly empathetic AND being able to distance yourself form the suffering of others is possible.

On "Learning" Empathy

The Myth: Empathy is a skill. So by definition, you can learn Empathy like any other skill ...

Debunking Myths

I.e, by ...

... practicing it

... repetition

This is only possible under certain conditions

person has not been numbed yet

person is not a sociopath (or has an otherwise altered brain structure / psychiatric condition)

Empathy is a source of satisfaction and fulfilment


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