“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.” -Herman Melville Connection.
“empathy,” the simple innate ability to “know what it’s like,” to actually understand. But what is it really? How does it work, and where does it come from?
The biological basis for empathy lies, like all emotions, in the brain. It might be more appropriate to substitute “synaptic” in lieu of “sympathetic” in Melville’s aforementioned quote, as empathy goes all the way down to the molecular level, generated by special brain cells nicknamed mirror neurons. These neurons were originally referred to as “monkey see, monkey do” neurons after their discovery by a team of researchers at the University of Parma, Italy.
by Matthew Garrett
Via Edwin Rutsch, David Hain, Larry Glover