So you think compassion means being nice to people? Sure, it’s Latin root literally means ‘to suffer with another’, which is pretty close to the psychological concept of ‘affective empathy’, where you share in or mirror someone else’s emotional state.
When I feel your pain or suffering, I may well do something to help you out. But there’s much more to compassion than that. It’s time we recognised it as a source of radical social change which can erode prejudice, create human bonds across social divides, and spur political action.
By Roman Krznaric