“Empathy” is a fairly young word, arising in English in 1908. It was adapted from German by English psychologist Edward B. Titchener. Its German predecessor was Einfühlung (formed of ein “in” and Fühlung “feeling”), coined 1858 by German philosopher Rudolf Lotze.

The German word is a translation of the Greek empatheia, meaning “passion, state of emotion” and formed of en- (“in”) and pathos (“passion” or “suffering”). The implication is “feeling into (someone or a situation).

The opposite of empathy is “alexithymia,” a deficiency in understanding emotions in oneself, literally meaning “pushing away the soul.” It is formed of the Greek words alekso, “push away, repel, protect,” and thymos, “the soul, as the seat of emotion, and feeling.”

#EmpathyDay (via @UselessEty)

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