(from Latin: “co-suffering”) is a virtue
—one in which the emotional capacities of empathy and sympathy (for the suffering of others) are regarded as a cornerstone of greater social interconnectedness and humanism
—equivalent to the highest principles in philosophy, society, and personhood.
There is an aspect of compassion which regards a quantitative dimension, such that individual’s compassion is often given a property of “depth,” “vigour,” or “passion.”
More vigorous than empathy, the feeling commonly gives rise to an active desire to alleviate another’s suffering. It is often, though not inevitably, the key component in what manifests in the social context as altruism.
In ethical terms, the various expressions down the ages of the so-called Golden Rule embody by implication the principle of compassion: Do to others what you would have them do to you.
The English noun compassion, meaning to suffer together with, comes from the Latin. Its prefix com- comes directly from com, an archaic version of the Latin preposition and affix cum (= with); the -passion segment is derived from passus, past participle of the deponent verb patior, patī, passus sum.
Compassion is thus related in origin, form and meaning to the English noun patient (= one who suffers), from patiens, present participle of the same patior, and is akin to the Greek verb πάσχειν (= paskhein, to suffer) and to its cognate noun πάθος (= pathos).
Ranked a great virtue in numerous philosophies, compassion is considered in all the major religious traditions as among the greatest of virtues.
Public Domain Images:
Strahlung, M.Hofheinz-Döring, Hinterglasmalerei, 1962 (WV-Nr.1696)
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TOP TEN (6) IN C.O.R.E. CHALLENGE “Ethics = empathy x respect squared”