Day 45 – Q 2. What do you understand by compassion? How is it different from empathy? Do you think compassion makes people too emotional? Critically comment.  

  • IASbaba
  • July 31, 2020
  • 0
Ethics Theory, GS 4, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
2. What do you understand by compassion? How is it different from empathy? Do you think compassion makes people too emotional? Critically comment.  
करुणा से आप क्या समझते हैं? यह सहानुभूति से कैसे अलग है? क्या आपको लगता है कि करुणा लोगों को बहुत भावुक बना देती है? समालोचनात्मक टिप्पणी करें।

Demand of the question:

It expects students to put their thoughts about compassion. It also expects to differentiate between compassion and empathy along with presenting both sides arguments whether compassion makes people emotionally ill or not.


Compassion is a sense of concern that arises when we are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to see that suffering relieved.  


At its core, compassion is a response to the inevitable reality of our human condition—our experience of pain and sorrow. e.g. Mother Theresa has often been referred to as an embodiment of compassion. Her selfless work for the poor and destitute till date is inspiring and spoken of.

  • Empathy refers to the ability to imagine oneself in another’s place and understand others’ feelings, desires, ideas and actions. Whereas, Compassion gives rise to an active desire to alleviate another’s suffering. It involves a sense of empathy.
  • However, It does not end with pity like empathy. It invokes sensibilities to understand and even feel the pain of others and motivates one to be truly helpful in overcoming this pain. It basically implies to suffer together.

Compassion and emotional state of people:

  • Compassion offers the possibility of responding to suffering with understanding, patience, and kindness rather than, say, fear and repulsion.
  • A person in need would always be happy to get help. It would not only help him face the situation but will generate a blissful feeling of being noticed and cared by others.
  • Compassion allows a person to have a feeling of self-satisfaction of helping others whether an animal or human.  Hence, it promotes a positive holistic mental health.
  • When such a society evolves having compassion for others and helps others in need, each individual is taken care of by the society and in turn he also helps the society. It in turn ensures great sense of security and blissfulness in people, resulting in healthy emotional state. 
  • Strongly integrated social capital grows with a co-operative and co-existing ecosystem, resulting in reduced toxic or criminal outbreaks and instances.  e.g. Compassionate Kozhikode programme in Kerala has same effect. 

However sometimes Compassion has produced some negative effects in society:

  • Compassion sometimes is said to lead  a guilt-induced decision making. 
  • Many a times, people involved in compassionate deeds find themselves feeling negative and less hopeful of their being. e.g. A downtrodden family in the neighbourhood who helps others in need but doesn’t gets help when in need. It results in negative emotion. 

In spite of these negative sides of compassion, recently scientists have found that compassion as a virtue releases happy hormones in the brain resulting in an efficient and positive outcome.


When it comes to compassion though it has some negative aspects, it’s positive aspects are more relevant and beneficial for human beings as rightly said by his holiness the Dalai lama that, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

For a dedicated peer group, Motivation & Quick updates, Join our official telegram channel – https://t.me/IASbabaOfficialAccount

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE to watch Explainer Videos, Strategy Sessions, Toppers Talks & many more…

Search now.....

Sign Up To Receive Regular Updates