Compassion is often regarded as having sensitivity, an emotional aspect to suffering, 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 also based on sound judgment. Compassion motivates people to go out of their way to help the physical, mental, or emotional pains of another and themselves.
The etymology of “compassion” is Latin, meaning “co-suffering.” Compassion involves “feeling for another” and is a precursor to empathy, the “feeling as another” capacity for better person-centered acts of active compassion; in common parlance active compassion is the desire to alleviate another’s suffering.
Compassion involves allowing ourselves to be moved by suffering and experiencing the motivation to help alleviate and prevent it. An act of compassion is defined by its helpfulness. Qualities of compassion are patience and wisdom; kindness and perseverance; warmth and resolve. It is often, though not inevitably, the key component in what manifests in the social context as altruism. Expression of compassion is prone to be hierarchical, paternalistic and controlling in responses. Difference between sympathy and compassion is that the former responds to suffering from sorrow and concern while the latter responds with warmth and care.
TRAILER: The true story of Rachel Joy Scott – the first student killed in the Columbine High School shooting on April 20, 1999.
The scene where Bobby “O” carries Carol up the hill is a beautiful portrayal of courage, fortitude, mercy and compassion. The scene comes about 3/4’s of the way through the film. (Bil Shappell)
The first schoolbus scene with Forrest trying to find a seat is a great lesson in mercy and compassion. While no one else would offer Forrest a seat, Jenny invites him to sit with her. (Bil Shappell/St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lutherville, MD)