Compassion, a Timely Feeling

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Emotions: History, Culture, Society, 2020, 4, (1), pp. 91-108
Issue Date:
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The concept of compassion, defined as suffering with, has a long history often entan- gled in that of the cognate term pity. It has proven to be a changeable concept that is not only responsive to but integral to historical change itself. This is because it is a sociable emotion, but, in the sense that it expresses a desire to alleviate the suffering of another, the emotion also expresses the desire to effect change. For this reason it is a particularly timely lens through which to consider the emotional effect of climate change upon local communities, and the new emotional regime taking shape in the Anthropocene – and the dawning of the Pyrocene – beginning with Armidale, New South Wales through the drought and fire of Australia’s Black Summer of 2019–20, but extending beyond.
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