Following up on my previous question on the possible benefit of self-pity, I would like to understand the process which is responsible to create self-pity.

As @AliceD pointed out self-pity could very well be the collateral result of empathy. However, it seems to me there are a lot more people feeling empathy than people experiencing self-pity.

There is famous quote attributed Viktor E. Frankl:

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

Can the idea behind this quote be used to answer my question? In other words self-pity originates in the capability of empathy and the inability to choose the response?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Well, self-pity originates because (1) we have interoception and (2) have a conceptual system. Self-pity is not an evolutionary given (and probably isn't seen universally). It emerges secondarily from more basic processes (i.e., conceptualization, attention, interoception). We probably don't need empathy to feel self-pity. In fact, empathy is probably more computationally challenging/complex than self-pity since it requires mentalizing. $\endgroup$
    – mrt
    Commented Jul 22, 2017 at 3:52


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