die Empathie

“It’s got a name. It’s called ’empathy’.”

“I didn’t give it that name, and it’s not what I have to call it!”

“There’s an automotive process through which expressions come into accepted use. You can refuse to use the word, but people whose natural usage is a result of that process would understand you better if you did.”

“Understand me better? You mean the understanding from another person that everyone thinks they are entitled to, even if they say they don’t want it?”

“Huh?”

“I use the word – just not how you do. Everyone misuses the word. What people mean when they say it has more to do with what they expect from other people and is therefore the opposite of it’s lexicographic documentation.”

“I think you might be projecting just a tad.”

“Well, that’s the point, idn’t it? Just go and comb through its use in the real world; I think you’ll find it hard to get past the endless examples of someone’s expressing phoney dismay at someone else’s lack of it.”

“Hey, even if it’s not expressed as a personal feeling, it is still referred to as ’empathy’.”

“Exactly. It’s ‘referred to‘ – which means those making the reference have removed themselves from the meaning you say it’s earned by way of their deaf-, dumb-, and blindly parroting its use. How can you use a term that connotes a feeling if you’ve never felt it yourself?”

“I feel it right now for you and your being a pompous dick about it.”

“Aha! You feel frustration, and are maybe even a little pissed that I see it differently and refuse to show understanding for the way you see it! Admit it!!”

“I was joking!”

“Be that as it may, a feeling of empathy, in the original sense, would at least require your understanding my point.”

“But I disagree. And, anyway, it’s not on me to carry the burden of the word’s essence.”

“The way you use it, it’s devoid of essence. Name me one instance in which you have felt empathy for another person and you might be communicating that essence, but all that other bullshit, is just that: Shit.”

“So what do you call it, then?”

“I say that I know how someone feels.”

“But you cannot know how anyone else feels.”

“In a nutshell. But we can judge others for not feeling the way we think they should, in spite of our not knowing how they feel.”

“It sounds to me like you object to the concept being asserted by anyone but yourself – not just that word.”

Dueling Views from Alexandrinenstraße – Berlin 2013
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Barely related link: Antidisestablishmentarianismist

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