With sympathy to the family of Hadiya Pendelton, most recent victim of gunshooting
We may not believe but some scientists attribute empathy to emotions related to pain. In other words they do not make difference between empathy and sympathy that probably occupy similar zones of response in the brain to produce these emotions. They also believe that empathy means not only emotion but also action. However, there could be one and the same empathy in different people with different reactions – some may even would not express empathy although exited, while others could even die transforming the empathy in a joy harmful for the heart. In other words, since scientists speak in different languages about empathy, it may need a framework for a paradigm that can create steady parameters of the most important feeling in the world: there would not be human culture without empathy: the people would kill each other and will turn down the world. Or, briefly: the history of human civilization is about cultivating empathy in people and reproducing and developing empathy.
One of the best factors of creating empathy is smell. Whether you will smell Lady Million around, or just cleanness, it is again an achievement of the human civilization. But there is one specific smell that makes you full with empathy. It is a hallmark of hostility in the USA – the smell of complimentary popcorns. If you sense popcorn smell in the hotel where you go to overnight, in the student Cafeteria or in the neighbor bar, your positive emotions begin to act. Your mood becomes different, your thoughts become different, your empathy to the world begins to work better and shapes your mind toward absolute humanity. And it is so important in this world of contrasts, conflicting personality, absence of willing of many to stay on the road of humanity, etc.
Psychologists may do not make difference between empathy and sympathy, but the author will prefer to follow her students who could discuss forever what is empathy and what is sympathy. Since both empathy and sympathy may relate to similar parts of the brain, we need to be very careful and to contribute to the world of empathy and not to create a context for sympathy in our everydayness. In other words, it depends completely on everybody whether this human world will continue and how will continue.
Today when all the world has been expressing sympathy to the family of Hadiya Pendelton, at the same time her name will recall always an empathy toward humanity which may have such victims if everybody learns from birth that our world is world of love, joy and happiness and not of violence. Unfortunately, there are so many adults who teach their children that the world is violent and there are so many who watch the violence not as something that should not happen but as an archetype of own behavior.
Hadiya, you are not among us just because we still cannot find way to make all people attached to empathy in way the baby is attached to mother. Empathy means self-responsibility, self-criticism and self-understanding of world that make you react to the world in way that builds and produces positive values.