OK, I had to admit that I had my doubts when I heard the first rumblings about a giant “fish quilt” we were making to raise awareness about the fact that fish are intelligent, intriguing animals who feel pain just as all other animals do and that they don’t deserve to be violently killed for food, painfully hooked for “sport,” or cruelly confined in aquariums. But now that I see the finished product, I have to admit that it’s pretty cool.
Gruen describes entangled empathy as a type of caring perception focused on attending to another’s experience of well-being.
It is an experiential process involving a blend of emotion and cognition in which we recognize we are in relationships with others and are called upon to be responsive and responsible in these relationships by attending to another.
When we engage in entangled empathy we are transformed and in that transformation we can imagine less violent, more meaningful ways of being together.
As Oxford University zoologist Alex Kacelnik and colleagues noted in a 2012 Biology Lettersreflection on empathy research, some ants display helping behaviors similar to Mason and Ben-Ami Bartal’s rats. “Any solid evidence for empathy in non-humans would be a notable advance,” they wrote, “but, in our view, it remains unproven outside humans.”
Other researchers defended the possibility of rat empathy.
“Ants are not rats,”quipped Frans de Waal, an Emory University ethologist who has written extensively about empathy, on Facebook. “It would be totally surprising, from a Darwinian perspective, if humans had empathy and other mammals totally lacked it.” As for Mason and Ben-Ami Bartal, they’ve downplayed the empathy interpretation in their latest work, restricting it to speculative discussion.
we think of this oft-reviled creature, and maybe even ourselves.
Animal shelter workers in the Sacramento area are learning how to cope with “compassion fatigue,” a condition associated with the emotionally draining task of caring for abused and unwanted pets.
The stress can take its toll, according to experts, in the form of “compassion fatigue.
The phrase – more typically used to describe a condition common among nurses and doctors who treat trauma patients – increasingly is being applied to people who care for animals.
“Animal care professionals are some of the most pain-saturated people I have ever worked with,” said J. Eric Gentry, a Florida psychotherapist and leader in the study of traumatic stress and compassion fatigue.
“The very thing that makes them great at their work – their empathy and dedication and love for animals – makes them vulnerable.”
Self-awareness and language are two traits that scientists would say make us human, along with a sense of compassion or empathy, according to Scientific American.
Empathy is defined by Dutch primatologist and ethologist as Franz de Waal as, "the capacity to be affected by and share the emotional state of another, assess the reasons for the other's state and identify with the other, adopting his or her perspective."
As we head into 2015 there's a need for compassion and rewilding revolutions
As I read and reflected on these two books, I thought about what a young student once said to me after we had a discussion about what we all need to do to help our troubled and wounded world. He simply said, "compassion rocks." It does indeed, as does rewildling. If this youngster got it and understood the power of compassion, then we should too.
Rewilding Our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence [Marc Bekoff, Richard Louv] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. In wildlife conservation, rewilding refers to restoring habitats and creating corridors between preserved lands to allow declining populations to rebound. Marc Bekoff
“I was told you have to give them numbers because you've got to be objective as a scientist, and you mustn't empathize with your subjects and I feel this is where science has gone wrong. To have this coldness, this lack of empathy has enabled some scientist to do unethical behavior.
Moreover, why deny a perfectly respectable tool? I think those two are behaving like that because that’s how I would behave if I was in that situation, that’s empathy. Once you've worked out why you think they are doing that, then you can start testing that. Am I right? Is this a valid assumption or not? But it gives you the groundwork for asking questions,
I think empathy is really important and I think only when our clever brain and our human heart work together in harmony can we achieve our full potential. “
Contagious yawning in wolves give researchers a glimpse at the roots of empathy.
Still, these theories don’t totally explain one of the more fascinating aspects of yawning: When we see someone else yawn, our chances of yawning go way up.
The leading hypothesis among scientists, Romero says, is that this contagious yawning is related to empathy—meaning an empathetic person or animal will feel tired when he or she observes another individual looking tired.
From left, Dominique Edwards and Emma Malzacher, both 12, pet Schatzi as he sits in on their compassion education class. School Resource Officer Rob Tallion of the Kearney Police Department brings animals into the classroom to help students learn empathy.
Dominique is the daughter of Abigail Edwards, and Emma is the daughter of Brian and Sara Malzacher.
A new book by Wesleyan University philosopher Lori Gruen called Entangled Empathy: An Alternative Ethic for Our Relationships with Animals
is a wonderful addition to a growing literature in the transdisciplinary field called anthrozoology , the study of human-animal relationships (the Kindle edition can be found here.
An interview I did with Professor Gruen lays out the basic foundation for her ideas about entangled empathy, a new and practical ethic for improving our relationships with nonhuman animals (animals) and also other humans. When I asked her to answer a few questions, in true form and in living up to her own deep connections with other animals, Professor Gruen wrote back to me, "Ok at the vet with one of my rescued rats, will do this as soon as I get home!"
Why did you write your new book?
I have been thinking about and writing about and talking about empathy for a while.
I was at a conference at Yale a year or so ago and many people came up to me after my talk wanting to learn more about entangled empathy.
"Just like there's a physical cost to running a marathon, there's an emotional cost to working with patients who are in pain or hurting," says Enid Traisman, a certified grief counselor and director of the Pet Loss Support Program at DoveLewis.
"It's different from ordinary stress, because with compassion fatigue, the causes are always related to caring for another person or animal when they're in crisis or pain."
Symptoms include increased negativity, isolation, difficulty separating work and personal life, self-destructive behaviors and apathy.
The key to combating compassion fatigue involves two simple steps, Traisman says: Awareness, which helps people prevent and heal, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Researchers from the University of St Andrews and Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, showed chimpanzees learn kindness by watching each other
Claim it's the first evidence children and chimps share traits of altruism
In the experiment, pairs of chimps, monkeys, children and adults chose whether or not to reward each other with treats
Study found that adults did but monkeys and young children didn't
Children and chimps learned kind behaviour off more generous individuals
...Monkey see, monkey don't: The study revealed that capuchin monkeys (stock image shown) and young children didn’t display any prosocial traits in certain situations. But some children who failed to display kindness, showed generous behaviour after watching other kinder children.
This very real story could be anywhere in the world, Australia, UK, Europe, but this story comes out of Sacremento US told by The Bee’s Cynthia Cuthbert.
Compassion Fatigue is becoming a real issue world wide for carers in general, whether you are a carer for animals, elderly, sick or a loved one. This particular story looks at the everyday stress endured by Animal Shelter Workers. .
Turning Points in Compassion: Personal Journeys of Animal Advocates [Gypsy Wulff, Fran Chambers] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Covering a range of topics from politics and law, to spiritual and social change, Turning Points in Compassion makes a compelling case for the recognition of the beauty
What is the link between compassion for animals, social justice, and harmony in our human world? This book consists of a series of essays by internationally recognized authors and activists.
These insightful and inspiring essays focus on how the seemingly disparate issues of human, animal, and environmental rights are indeed connected. Illuminating the connections between injustice to animals and the various forms of social and ecological injustice, these thirty authors provide essential keys to effectively addressing the hidden roots of our dilemmas.
The essays also provide practical guidance about how to make the individual, systemic, and social changes necessary to effectively create a peaceful and just world for all. This landmark book provides a crucial impetus for us to break through our confining delusions, build bridges of understanding, and awaken from the cultural trance of indifference and inequity.
Why do we have empathy? Why do we rush to another’s aid? Why do we put our arm around others to support them?
Empathy comes naturally to a great variety of animals, including humans.
In his work with monkeys, apes and elephants, anthropologist Dr. Frans de Waal has found many cases of one individual coming to another’s aid in a fight, putting an arm around a previous victim of attack, or other emotional responses to the distress of others. By studying social behavior in animals — such as bonding and alliances, expressions of consolation, conflict resolution, and a sense of fairness — de Waal demonstrates that animals and humans are preprogrammed to reach out, questioning the assumption that humans are inherently selfish.
Paws with Compassion is a group of dedicated dogs and handlers who desire to alleviate suffering by offering open hearts and friendly paws.
Our varied backgrounds, experiences, and breeds enable us to engage with a broad population and address a variety of needs. We are proud to be the only therapy dog/K-9 crisis response group to require extensive, documented member training. Each team is interviewed and observed before joining Paws with Compassion. Once members, teams train and work regularly to maintain their skills.
Required training includes dog handling, canine body language, canine first aid, canine manners, therapy dog and crisis response dog handling, crisis intervention, crisis response, compassion fatigue, and appropriate response methods.
People do it. They see someone near them yawn and then they yawn too. But new research shows that yawning is contagious among animals, mainly wolves, as well.
Yawning in response to another yawn isn't exactly an emotional reaction, but their contagious nature has been "clinically, psychologically, neurobiologically, and behaviorally linked to our capacity for empathy," the study authors wrote in the journalPLOS ONE.
...Contagious yawning is also observed in dogs; although, they don't yawn in response to yawns from other dogs, but to yawns from people.
Researchers looked at whether or not wolves caught yawns from each other.
On the basis of observational and experimental evidence, several authors have proposed that contagious yawn is linked to our capacity for empathy, thus presenting a powerful tool to explore the root of empathy in animal evolution," the researchers stated in their PLOS ONE tudy abstract.
Despite the small sample size the results suggest contagious yawning may relate to the wolves' capacity for empathy; other animals may also have the same ability to experience empathy.
But animals that are not so conspicuously brainy, from chickens to ants, show distinct physiological responses when members of their own species are in distress.
This might be hard to ascribe to anything other than hard-wired, instinctive behaviour. If that is indeed the case, then it could be that what we describe as empathy, even in humans, is simply the kind of behaviour that one expects natural selection to favour in social animals.
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