African Tradition knows Compassion thoroughly (by it being a Primordial Interconnection—i.e. first in time, original, and an elementary base for “ME/WE”); is vaguely familiar with “Empathy”; and has no concept of “Sympathy” (feeling sorry for another’s pain and suffering). Both Empathy and Sympathy are short of a “ME/WE” mesh. “Empathy” (‘affecting the emotions) was originally associated with Pathos (‘suffering’), Pity(‘pious’), and Pathetic (‘sensitive’). In 1903, it referred to art appreciation, depending on a viewer’s ability to project her/his Personality (which has many definitions) into the object. In African Tradition, a human’s Selfhood Divine Material and perishable Personality is a contrary Indivisible opposite of ones Immaterial “Self”. European dictionary definitions of Empathy include: “intellectual identification of oneself with another”; vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another”; “Imaginative apprehension of another’s condition or state of mind without actually experiencing the feelings of the other”; “putting oneself in another’s position so as to gain an idea of how another is feeling”; and “feeling things together”. Ramifications of this in European thought make for thoughts opposite to other cultures. One example pertains to African Tradition’s Immaterial Unconditional Love. They deemed it as the Supreme Unifying Principle of Cosmic Life–emanating such Archetypes (African, “Seed”) as Life, Beauty, Goodness, Happiness, Wellness, Perfection, Universal Truth, Reality, Divine Consciousness, Death, and Natural Order. Prototype Attributes of these Archetypes (African for “Seed”) each send off Rays that go into, through, and around all Creatures and the Environment’s Creations of the Cosmic Prism. That conglomerate forms or contributes to all Activity categories of Daily Living. Europeans’ use of Supernatural fantasy defines “Love” as an Emotion, featuring Physical world degrees. Examples include: Agape and Caritas–giving a higher or selfless love sense; Eros and Amor–forms of love based on desire.
Since Sentience (‘feeling’) is at the core of Empathy, to perceive others as Sentient Beings is foundational for “us” to be able to empathize with “them”. Comparing Europeans’ “Love”, Sympathy, and Empathy definitions against Afrocentric derived God’s Will Spiritual Instincts of Unconditional Love and Compassion mean humans decide to bring them about–with a decided intensity–and for a certain duration. Chinese’s chosen middle path shows in “Jen,” the central Confucian principle characterizing Humanity as "Human-Heartedness”. Hence, “Love” of fellow man is the most important characteristic of Human Ideals; its basis is a natural Empathy for others; and its expression is the maintenance of an “US” mutuality and loyalty by way of kindness, goodness, and humaneness. It is about having an emotional concern for all living things–the degree and nature of such concern varies according to ones relationship to such things. Yet it is not Intimacy in the sense of meshing Systems of Values between involved people. Later Confucians explained Jen as a human being of one body with all things, and hence being sensitive and responsive to their well-being.
Europeans borrowed this broad sense of Empathy under the term Phila (Jen in Chinese)—i.e. “Love” involved in friendship. I, too, borrowed this Chinese Secular Empathy concept for use in my Orthopaedic Surgery practice. Since Chinese-type Empathy (actually originating in Ancient Africa) and Compassion were constantly demonstrated by my all-Black community in Wilson and Greensboro, North Carolina, in taking my patients’ histories, both were naturally shown to all I regularly encountered. Their combined benefits meant effortlessly treating my patients like family. Thus, because patients sensed I truly understood them and had their best interest at heart, that led to trust me with their deeper emotions and thoughts. As a result of feeling comfortable and accepted as they were, they conveyed their medical complaints in a manner that removed veils off what would otherwise have been diagnostic dilemmas. Still, it was necessary for me to draw a line between Empathy and Compassion so as to not cross that line and thus enter into Compassion. To violate that and then accompany patients into their strongest and deepest emotional realms would have caused me to lose control of my objectivity. To be caught up in their flow would equate to an inability to see the forest for the trees [Ref: Bailey, Unconditional Love]jabaileymd.com; JABLifeSkills; Theievoice.com