‘It Could Be Worse’: Is This the Best Form of Consolation?

Consolation, from the Latin root word consolari, means the comfort that someone receives after a loss or disappointment, or while experiencing misery, distress, or anxiety. To console someone is try to offer support, encouragement, relief, and a more cheerful attitude. Interestingly, consolation is not a uniquely human behaviour. Scientists have discovered that a range of non-human animals have the capacity to console. For example, mice in experiments allowed to roam free will visit other mice who have been caged and injected with vinegar (this was to induce a painful experience and to then see how the mice not in pain react). Primates, especially chimpanzees, will console the losers of fights, and elephants will console each other in times of distress. These observations are indications of pro-social behaviour (behaviour that aims to benefit the group rather the individual), which depends on empathy. To console another is to enact one’s empathetic connection with that being.

Continue reading…

Originally published at https://www.samwoolfe.com on March 2, 2020.

--

--

--

I'm a freelance writer interested in philosophy, ethics, psychology, and mental health. Website: www.samwoolfe.com

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

3 Inspiring Perseverance Stories That Will Get you Out of Bed in the Morning

Mindset and Manifestation Resources

The Power of a Vision

When Helping Others, Leave Your Camera at Home

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

‘Am I Ugly?’

A Letter For You Who Seems Differently, This is Nobody’s Fault

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Sam Woolfe

Sam Woolfe

I'm a freelance writer interested in philosophy, ethics, psychology, and mental health. Website: www.samwoolfe.com

More from Medium

The Path of Least Resistance

Adobe Stock images (Beautiful flying dandelion seeds in the Wind on blue sky.) By suthisak

Two Fingerprints: Know Thyself, Twice

Why not to give a fuck?

All Words are the same word