The Invention of Empathy: Rilke, Rodin, and the Art of "Inseeing"

Author: Maria Popova

Empathy, an orientation of spirit decidedly different from sympathy, has become central to our moral universe. We celebrate it as the hallmark of a noble spirita pillar of social justice, and the gateway to reaching our highest human potential — a centerpiece of our very humanity. And yet this conception of empathy is a little more than a century old and originated in art: It only entered the modern lexicon in the early twentieth century, when it was used to describe the imaginative act of projecting oneself into a work of art in an effort to understand why art moves us.