A casual friend drew attention to the idea of hyperempathy (there doesn’t seem to be a standard way to write it: perhaps it needs a hyphen?). The idea is that certain people and organisations sense everything about you and respond accordingly. It’s as if, in an emotional sense, they have X-Ray eyes. They want to see your soul.
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Imagine a government so sensitive to the needs of each individual that it has a need to ‘care’ for all of them – every minute of every day. ‘Are you in work, are you ill are you..?’ It sounds a bit claustrophobic to me!
‘How’s your love life?’ – You would be justified in saying, ‘Mind your own!’
But isn’t this part of everyone’s experience? Governments really do seem to have got into bed with us, demanding a constant supply of feedback and information. In return all they want is our compliance. ‘We cater to your every need, so fall into line and be grateful!’
Hyperempathy is also present in certain people, and I read a paper suggesting that it’s a key characteristic of narscissm. If someone is extremely self regarding they may (ironically) be highly attuned to the inner lives of other people.
I once knew someone like this: he would offer dazzling personal insights – but in return he wanted to live in my pocket and he was never off the phone asking for ‘a face to face.’ So that’s what you call conversation is it?
It was all about him and his designer drugs, his women his mental landscape, his small intestine. In the end, he wore me into the ground; he was empathic to the point of neurosis: never missed a trick.
In these days of self help books and cod psychology, almost everyone has read enough to know about (for example) the role of the subconscience mind – but hyperempathy is a strange and timid beastie which doesn’t exactly loom large on anyone’s radar.
There are hyperempathic organisations which want to feel your every need and emotion. They are ‘there for you’ like an omnipresent episode of Neighbours. But in fact they are vampiric and they want to feast on your bank account. And you thought *you* were a consumer! Organisations also consume…
As you will have noticed this isn’t an academic paper or a serious analysis, but beware! The hyperempathics are out there, and they want to feel your pain. You might not get a chance to feel it yourself or take ownership of your emotions.