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--- On Thu, 4/9/09, Paul Kershaw <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> 
> A briefer distinction: Sympathy is "I know how you feel"
> while empathy is "I feel your pain."

I've always felt that "sympathy" was bestowed from a position of imagined superiority, or at least with an attitude of aloofness. If I am sympathetic, then when Shirley Temple's grandfather is taken from her I say "Oh, that poor dear girl."

Empathy is experienced from a position of perceived equality, where the person suffering is seen to be equivalent to myself, and his suffering equivalent to my own suffering. If I am empathetic then when Shirley Temple's grandfather is taken from her I cry.

Myself, I always did, and probably always will cry at Shirley Temple movies.

--gary