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Glossary.svg This page describes a concept which is part of our glossary
W. David Hoisington from defines compassion as empathy in action. It is expressed through the action that people demonstrate in relationship with other sentient beings as part of their willingness to reduce suffering. One can have empathy without compassion, meaning one can feel the suffering of another without doing anything. Often this can lead to what is incorrectly called “compassion fatigue”. But when people are asked to describe people who they think are compassionate people they do not say “they sat and thought in a compassionate way”. Instead they speak of compassion as having an action component. When people think of compassion heroes they think of people who acted in ways that showed compassion. How would we know if someone was compassionate unless there was action?

The Way of Action

By itself though compassion is not enough to achieve global change, because the achieving of any kind of goals in a consistent way requires a system. This is why we've defined our common vision including the compassion aspect (maximising the well-being of all and the environment), but also the systemic aspect including the concepts of governance, bottom line and openness.

See also