Since birth we have been able to resonate with other human beings. A newborn cries when in the presence of other crying babies. Bit by bit, empathy – which at first is only a simple instinctual capacity to resonate – develops and becomes the capacity to understand other people’s feelings and points of view, to identify with them.
But if this capacity does not develop sufficiently or if it is thwarted, we are in trouble. If we are insensitive to the emotions of others, each relationship becomes an impossible charade. And if we see others not as living subjects but as things, on par with a refrigerator or a street lamp, we allow ourselves to manipulate and even to violate them.
from The Power Of Kindness