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State PCS

Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. Define and differentiate between the following terms:- (150 words)




    07 Mar, 2019 GS Paper 4 Theoretical Questions


    • Define all the term in the introduction part.
    • Differentiate between the given terms.


    • Sympathy is a feeling and expression of concern for someone, often accompanied by a wish for them to be happier or better off. In general, sympathy implies a deeper, more personal, level of concern than pity, a simple expression of sorrow.
    • Empathy It involves, first, seeing someone else’s situation from his/ her perspective, and, second, sharing that person's emotions, including, if any, his distress.Empathy, is the act of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. It occurs when you are truly trying to understand or experience someone else’s emotions, as if they were your own.
    • Compassion is a deeper level of empathy, demonstrating an actual desire to help the suffering person. It is a unique feeling of sympathy for the suffering of others that involves emotions and empathy towards others, a sense of understanding, and the drive to protect.


    Difference between the given terms –

    • Empathy is often confused with sympathy, pity and compassion, which are merely recognition of another person’s distress. Sympathy typically implies that the suffering person does not “deserve” what has happened to him or her and is powerless to do anything about it.
    • Empathy is a skilled response, while sympathy is reactive responses, which is why developing the skill of empathy is a more realistic goal for public services.
    • Empathy does include elements of sympathy and compassion, but it also carries pertinent connotations that both sympathy and compassion lack. Empathy seems to suggest a response to situations whose features are more subtle, imperceptible and complex which require cognitive skills to perceive, share, understand and put into action.
    Sympathy Empathy Compassion
    Defining characteristics

    Observing, Reacting, immediate, predominantly emotional awareness.

    Acknowledgment of suffering, Understanding the person, Affective response. Non-conditional, Virtuous, Altruistic, Instrumental, Action-oriented response
    Response to suffering Acknowledgment Acknowledgment, understanding, and emotional resonance Acknowledgment, understanding, and emotional resonance linked with action aimed at understanding the person and the amelioration of suffering
    Type of response A visceral reaction to a distressing situation Objective and affective response to a distressing situation A proactive and targeted response to a distressing situation


    Civil Servants should be Empathetic, Compassionate, Efficient, Impartial and Incorruptible and these are the guiding principles that form the bedrock of the higher civil services.

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