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November 15, 2012 9:10 am  #1

Sherlock Holmes and empathy

An interesting article on the concept of empathy as shown by Sherlock Holmes:

"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)


June 21, 2015 3:46 pm  #2

Re: Sherlock Holmes and empathy

I just found this, scrolling through old threads, has it been discussed elsewhere already?

I find the article very convincing, and I agree on the concept they discuss.
Recently I had a course about the concept of "non-violent communication". It has several steps and one of the steps is to make sure you have fully understood the other ones position, emotions and needs. During practice, I realised how superficial we sometimes act, how fast we assume to know already what the other one feels. How we listen but not listen closely enough. I agree that empathy has a lot more to do with understanding the other one than just feeling.

In German language, "empathy" is "Einfühlungsvermögen", which means sth like "the ability to feel what the other one feels" (I would say, I cannot translate it better). But I think the way to feel that, might really be more like an analytical, careful process than just emotional, compassionate abundance. I like that they mention that creativity is needed to achieve real empathy. I've found that to be true, especially when the person opposite has a very different mindset from your own.

the article says:
"The emotional element in empathy is itself a limited one. It is selective and often prejudicial — we tend to empathise more with people whom we know or perceive to be like us, or simply when we have more mental space to bother. Empathy can be all the more powerful and creative in its cognitive form when it is independent of context and emotional outpouring."

I think in this line of argumentation, it's not so hard anymore to see Sherlock's potential and ability for empathy.


"It is what it is."


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