Edwin Judge scratches the surface of a concept everybody now endorses.
Compassion is a beautiful word which everybody endorses now. But I suspect, myself, we endorse it for different reasons. A lot of what we see as compassionate doesn’t go much beyond courtesy – we give money, for example; or we actually do something because there’s a crisis and we feel we should do something, so we do it. But that is hardly compassion in the more profound sense.
The more profound sense of compassion – not just politeness, not just goodwill even, but the profound sense of compassion – is in the passion part. Now, the passion means suffering; the word passion is simply from the Latin for suffering. And what we do value about compassion is when it costs people something. And so it is at the heart the principle of caring, you care enough to suffer with the other person. So compassion – the com- part in compassion means with, of course. You share with the suffering of the other person.