The Limits of Empathy

From Aldous Huxley’s Crome Yellow (1921):

A really sympathetic race would not so much as know the meaning of happiness. But luckily, as I’ve already said, we aren’t a sympathetic race. At the beginning of the war I used to think I suffered, through imagination and sympathy, with those who physically suffered. But after a month or two I had to admit that, honestly, I didn’t. And yet I think I have a more vivid imagination than most. One is always alone in suffering; the fact is depressing when one happens to be the sufferer, but it makes pleasure possible for the rest of the world.

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