Kathryn Aegis (
Thu, 10 Apr 1997 21:20:52 +0000

I missed the beginning of this, apologies for the unattributed quote:
> <It might feel that, since our ability to interpret the state of other
> people is largely subconscious - just think of those pheromones. We

It may not have been on this list, but I recall having a discussion
on empathy. At that time, I mentioned that in the relatively new
areas of study involving emotional skills, psychological experiments
have been conducted on children to determine how they develop empathy
and how that development can become stunted. Empathy is considered
by psychologists and conflict resolution practitioneers to be a
learned skill and as such, one's abilities can be enhanced in that
area. Conflict resolution trainings teach people methods of
increasing the use of empathic skills in problematic situations, and
this is done from the standpoint that much of what we consider
'subconcious' is actually 'unconcious'. I agree that there is a
point at which our limbic systems take control, but an increased
self-awareness can bring some of the process into our control.

As an example, I could use the people that make themselves known as
'psychics'. In actuality, according to the histories of the slavic
peoples, gypsy fortunetellers could be considered the first
therapists, because they had developed empathic skills to a degree that
they could cloak them in mystic rigaromole and render sage advice to
others. Modern 'psychics' often play the same role, focusing their
attention and acumen on perceiving what sort of state a person is in
and then using that as a basis for making 'predictions' that are
usually just commonsense advice. In societies where psychiatry has
not been widely accepted, astrologers and fortunetellers fulfill the
roles of therapist and advisor.


Kathryn Aegis