Compassion as a practice of shifting focus from the self on to another

Emily Dickinson was perplexed by this notion that access to truth has two dimensions, which she referred to as circumscription and circuitry. Circumscription refers to the outer reaches of what we as humans can possibly understand about the cosmos, the universe, and ultimate truth. The circuit refers to our individual existence, and the scope of […]

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Empathizing with Difference

In a 2010 study entitled ‘How do we empathize with someone who is not like us? A functional magenetic resonance imaging study’, Lamm, Meltzoff, and Decety measured empathic neural circuits and connectivity coding for somatosensory, affective, and cognitive aspects of the perception of pain in similar and dissimilar others. Participants in a functional magnetic resonance […]

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Reinforcing Concern and Compassion Versus Distress and Fatigue in Empathic Responses to Psychosocial Stress

This is an early post to gather ideas about a project proposal I am developing. My goal is to distinguish underlying processes and and response patterns in empathic distress and empathic concern/compassion. Batson, Fultz, and Schoenrade (1987) regard empathic distress and empathic concern as two qualitatively distinct emotional responses to another person that also produce […]

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Humanizing Empathy

While I would love to live in a post-empathic world, where people were just eager to learn about and share with one another, and explore human communication to its utmost ends, I find that instead I live in a world where some people are still not seen as entitled to or deserving of the same […]

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Festival in Helsinki

As soon as I land, Helsinki appears to me as a dream-memory juxtaposition of my own wonderment and imagination. Wandering the block, I find artifacts of my childhood and places I have cherished throughout my life: a swinging picnic table, a sandbox, a swing, a little library, a used bookstore, the scent of burning wood, pine trees, […]

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Persistence of Illusion

In my Neuroscience of Consciousness course yesterday, my instructor presented Jackson’s (1982) Mary’s Room thought experiment, also known as the knowledge problem. This is the thought experiment: Mary is a brilliant scientist who is, for whatever reason, forced to investigate the world from a black and white room via a black and white television monitor. […]

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