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COMPASSION

Compassion is the response to the suffering of others that motivates a desire to help. Compassion motivates people to go out of their way to help physical, spiritual, or emotional hurts or pains of another. Compassion is often regarded as having an emotional aspect to it, though when based on cerebral notions such as fairness, justice and interdependence, it may be considered rational in nature and its application understood as an activity based on sound judgment. There is also an aspect of compassion which regards a quantitative dimension, such that individual’s compassion is often given a property of “depth,” “vigour,” or “passion.” The etymology of “compassion” is Latin, meaning “co-suffering.” More involved than simple empathy, compassion commonly gives rise to an active desire to alleviate another’s suffering. Compassion is often, though not inevitably, the key component in what manifests in the social context as altruism. In ethical terms, the expressions down the ages of the so-called Golden Rule often embodies by implication the principle of compassion: Do to others what you would have them do to you.

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