In ancient China a person without feeling was considered as no person at all
Mencius summarizes empathy: “When I say that all men have the mind which cannot bear to see the suffering of others, my meaning is illustrated this way: when two men suddenly see a child about to fall into a well, they all have a feeling of alarm and distress, not to gain friendshipwith the child’s parents, nor to seek the praise of their neighbors and friends . . . From such a case, we see that a man without the feeling of commiseration is not a man . . . The feeling of commiseration is the beginning of humanity.”
The basis of ethics is empathy, and from that it is possible to develop the human heart more fully. It is what might be thought of as sympathy put into action.
by Arthur Dobrin