On Compassion Summary and Response

Kaitlyn Riesland English 101 T. McCann October 2, 2012 Summary Response 2 Summary & Response: Barbara Lazear “On Compassion” In “On Compassion” Barbara Lazear shows three main examples on how people in the Manhattan area show compassion for the homeless people in their community. After she gives the three main examples she then goes on to question whether they are actually showing compassion or if they are showing pity, care, or simply just selfishness. She also goes on to wondering if the people who are doing good things for the homeless people in the community are doing them just out of fear itself.
One example of this is when the lady with the stroller gives a homeless man money while he is staring at her baby, she brings up the point that she may have just given him the money so he wouldn’t do anything to her or her baby. While wrapping up the end of the story she discusses how she believes that compassion is not something that someone is born with but rather something that you have to learn throughout your life. What is the difference between empathy and compassion? (Provide examples) In today’s world there are two words that are very easily confused for one another.
These words are empathy and compassion, two words with similar meanings but one is more deep then the other. By definition empathy is one person’s ability to realize the feelings of another person. Another way to put that is you can physically see that someone else is going through something that causes them to have emotions. An example of empathy would be if you were crying and someone realized that you were sad, that would be empathy. However Compassion is when you are feeling the emotion that another person is feeling.

The other way of explaining compassion is that you are going through the same emotions that another person is feeling and going through. An example of compassion would be if you see that one of your friends is mourning the death of a family member and you start to feel sad and get filed with emotions because you know what they are going though so you are sad as well. I think that empathy is felt more towards someone that you really don’t know that well because you may not know all of the details going on in their life. Most likely you only know the surface problem or emotion being felt.
Whereas compassion is something that is felt more towards people that you are closer with in your life because you know about the emotion or emotions that they are feeling in more depth and you are more open to them then you would be with a stranger. However the line between empathy and compassion is a very thin line that could be crossed in the proses of being with someone. As you are with someone they might tell you more about their emotions being felt and you may open up more and feel the same emotions that they are feeling at the time.

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