Empathy is the ability to understand what it’s like to get inside someone else’s skin and feel what they are feeling. Most people have empathy, but there is a small percentage who wear their empathy on their sleeve. These are called Empaths, people who not just display empathy, but who literally take on another persons emotional pain so that person can be relieved of what they are feeling.
A couple of years ago, my Dad, my son Chris, aged thirteen, and I went to the zoo. We walked around and admired the animals. When I was a child I loved the zoo, but this time all I could feel was the collective encompassing misery of hundreds of sentient beings locked up in small, dark, dank enclosures. It made me very sad and internally I had a fierce debate over the pros and cons of animal conservation versus animal extinction. Eventually we bought lunch and sat on a platform overlooking the elephant enclosure, which, from the point of view of the zoo, is a magnificent structure. From the point of view of an elephant, it’s a miserable hell-hole.