as understood on Shade
(see general empathy
) is traditionally purely, or almost purely, emotion-based, and less precise than telepathy
Scholastic opinions vary, and conflict with folk wisdom, as to whether empathy, as a measurable, atypical 'power', actually exists.
- 1. Properties
- 2. Existence
- 2.1. Sceptics and opponents
- 2.2. Arguments in favour, or in favour of keeping an open mind
- 2.3. Spat
The following describes the reported properties of empathic power if it exists (see Existence for details of the controversy).
Empathic power is 'always on' and cannot usually be suppressed by the empath. It cannot be controlled in the same way as telepathy, though it has been suggested that the strength of empathic feedback may vary with the empath's own state of mind.
Empathy, like telepathy, is claimed to be extremely rare. The highest prevalence of self-proclaimed empaths is found in voks and ferais.
There are no statistics giving the proportion of scientists for and against empathy.
2.1. Sceptics and opponents
Many people are convinced there is no such thing as abnormal empathy, only differing degrees of the natural empathy possessed by any of Shade's social sapients
. Any such individual has some degree of ability, however slight, to read another individual's reaction and interpret it.
No additional or unique mechanism or mental activity has been demonstrated in claimed empaths, who are a self-selected group.
2.2. Arguments in favour, or in favour of keeping an open mind
Some animal-science scholars believe in empathy or think it likely that it will be proven to exist. They claim it may be qualitatively like magic
, which both seem to be spooky action at a distance until the underlying material principles are demonstrated.
Other scholars are undecided or avoid the debate until more concrete fact is brought into it.
Certain researchers, themselves claiming to be undecided as to its existence, have gone on record saying self-proclaimed empaths damage the case for empathy by being extremely oversensitive
, yet utterly oblivious to anyone's feelings but their own. These and similar remarks caused a large and messy argument.
Several groups of self-proclaimed empaths now refuse to cooperate with research from anyone representing what they call "the scientific establishment".