ICBioethics Blog 

What is Compassion?

Written by: Mitch Gennuso

What is compassion? First of all, it depends on who you are.

If you are a skeptic, compassion seems like a lofty possibility, it is non-existent. However, for those who consider compassion to be within the limits of human realization the definition can take several forms.

Some see compassion as a virtue, one that strengthens the feeling of suffering with another being. As a virtue, it requires the opening up of oneself to those individuals who are suffering. One acceptedexplanation of compassion is that compassion has two key components.

First, it is the capacity and deep engagement of another’s situation in order to gain knowledge of the individual experience of suffering of that person. Second, it is a virtue that can be described as the desire to alleviate an individual’s suffering and support them by living vicariously through the sufferer.

Mitch GennusoComment