You cannot have empathy for your oppressors because if you did you’d become your own oppressor
The opressed for the opressor may experience:
Why I believe these words are thrown around so weirdly, well, it is because we’re so bad at googling word definitions and word etymology, and because they tend to press painful wounds when needed.
Take a child molester and the adult today molested child.
There cannot be any empathy from the molested to the molester, unless the molested child becomes a pedophile, which many times is a form of self inflicted harm originating in low self esteem. If the molested pedophile actually molests a child too, then sympathy can wake up as a sentiment.
Take the recent discussion around here on sober pedophiles being open with their challenge. Very few people were compassionate, and most were angry. Why? Because as an outsider empathy for any kind of different sexuality is hard because we when we mirror those feelings we get sick as we’re biologically conditioned so. So no empathy, but anger and dibelief in their soberness. I have no clue … but, what I can rationally say is: innocent until proven guilty, opens up on the hardness of an unasked for experience, therefore I can try to understand what they go through by intellect which brings by the possibility of compassion.
I think this is the same mechanism that explains why there were church folk who cared for AIDS sick gay folk and church people who yelled „you deserve it”, while both parties agreeing that being gay is fundamentally wrong. Some had compassion some hadn’t.
The oppressed can feel mercy. Mercy is a form of passive aggressiveness that a lot of people confuse with compassion. They cannot be more different. Mercy is when you believe one is essentially fixed in a lower human state. It is confused with compassion because it is rational, but unlike compassion, mercy is about the state of the human, not about the human. That is why I get a sudden fever when I hear „have mercy for the poor” and I immediately know they’re pinned to that condition by the so called help they get.
Some say indifference is the death of love, I say mercy is the death of love. Mercy is for love like water for the lungs.
The oppressed may feel forgiveness, which is not as a way to comfort the oppressor but as a way to smother the inner suffering of the oppressed. Forgiveness is the true antidote to suffering. Communicating forgiveness is completely optional and it is an act of generosity. Not altruism, because there is no sacrifice, just an optional decision with some possible societal reward.
The oppressed may feel compassion, but that should only be seen as the best way to disrupt the oppressor, not as a blank check for more oppressive actions. The oppressed’s compasion is a weapon, or at least a tool and it should be used because it basically means understanding the inner workings and life of the oppressor. This is useful to prevent more oppression, not to cuddle the oppressed.
Vengeance is when the oppresed uses compassion without forgiveness. That is why vengeance always will hurt both sides.
SF Ali that was inspired also by your reply earlier on empathy as political agenda :)