Under The Umbra Ep 02 – Empathy Part 1 of 2

In this episode, we’re discussing Empathy! This is part 1 of 5. The next episode will be more about Empathy,…...

In this episode, we’re discussing Empathy! This is part 1 of 5. The next episode will be more about Empathy, and then we’ll have 3 episodes about Collaboration. The Co-Host is Kiki and you can find her work here: Instagram: @heretic.homestead and TikTok @heretichomestead


  • 0:00:00 Intro
  • 0:00:40 Intro essay with content warnings for the whole show, and a TL;DListen for this 4-part series.
  • 0:01:18 Trigger warnings for talking about Empathy and Collaboration challenges
  • 0:03:23 Links to other discussions of warm (emotional, affective) and cold (cognitive, dark) empathy
  • 0:06:32 TL;DListen summary of Empathy Parts 1 and 2 and Clickbait for Collaboration Parts 1 and 2
  • 0:07:50 OMG I talk a lot! Will this change? Maybe. On with the conversation!
  • 0:08:28 Intro to Kiki!
  • 0:10:06 Grounding Prayer and Intentions
  • 0:11:13 Empathy is a stack of neurological functions that we can have developmental or situational (phasic) strengths or challenges with, and when we investigate the stack of things that build it up, we can see how we can get challenged.
  • 0:17:43 Empathy Challenged - more specific detail - what makes up empathy? Includes Mirror Neurons, Theory of Mind (not mentioned but included: memory of our own emotional and body state)
  • 0:19:50 Warm Empathy involves Caring - as in, I have lovingkindness towards you, and also, I have desires about outcomes in this situation
  • 0:22:45 Warm Empathy linked to "Conscience" as well as minimally prompted felt-sense of shame and guilt about having harmed others
  • 0:25:52 Cold empathy is "cognitive" but still subconscious, and has many of the same actions, but has less of the embodied "drive" that prods action.
  • 0:28:10 More about Cold Empathy and pattern recognition for where you fit into society and sorting out what the rules are, which includes Salience as in Important, Relevant, Significant, Noteworthy.
  • 0:30:09 Digression about the words Good and Bad and why I prefer Pro-Social versus Self-Oriented or Survival-Oriented; because that makes it hard to describe harm and patterns of harm, and how to set up systems of incentives for pro-social and harm-reduction behavior
  • 0:32:54 Thought exercise to develop empathy for people behaving Empathy-Challenged because of being Under Resourced
  • 0:36:24 Choosing "Empathy" as a concept to evaluate and plan for interpersonal and systems interactions, and how being Empathy-Challenged can trigger "personality disorder" levels of difficulty in flexibility in how one responds to stress (also, my cat is loving on the microphone).
  • 0:41:13 Outro and Credits - To Be Continued in Part 2

References mentioned in the show:

Autism In Heels by Jennifer Cook O’Toole at Libro.FM and Bookshop.com (These partially affiliate links.)

@livedexperienceeducator clip about perspectives on empathy

@NarcJester Instagram post about types of empathy and kindness with low empathy post

This is Under the Umbra: Using Empathy and Collaboration to Navigate a World of Shadows. In each episode, Electra and the co-hosts explore ways to think about and plan for difficult relationships with people and systems in a way that stays grounded in values and centers community. I invite you to try out focusing on Empathy and Collaboration as a realistic and compassionate model for interpersonal interactions. If you find yourself Under the Umbra, let’s find our way back to the light! Find the show's home right here, Under The Umbra .info! Support the show via Patreon.com This podcast was created, recorded, edited and produced by me, Electra, and brought to you by Bridge to Becoming LLC. The show is supported by “Responsive” Patrons: E.S. and KC.C. as well as several more on the Structured and Unscripted levels! Thank you so much for your support! Music is by SoulProdMusic on Pixabay and used with permission. Show art is by Lo Carter, 2023. Subtitle crafted by Vera Alcorn!

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