The demand for sympathy is a major form of rhetorical ploy, freighted with massive ulterior motives: it is a way of shaming higher minds into not daring to characterize or recognize the actual nature of the most pathetic ("lowest," "basest" or "most ignoble") personalities among us; it is a way also of shaming aristoi about their very characterological imperative of being or becoming aristoi, of having the audacity to differ so profoundly from the ordinary self-expectations of humans in general. Sympathy for the most intellectually or rationally pathetic -- a kind of "blind shame" analogous to blind faith -- has become a premier weapon in the psychological class-warfare between one psyche-type and another.
Because of the very intimate character of philosophical norms and criticisms, a teacher in philosophy has to be like Alexander the Great: never issuing dictates as to what his soldiers ought to do that he was not ready and willing to leap into doing himself. An excellent teacher is one accomplished in serving as an exemplar, every act of every kind of thinking and every form of perspective must be something he is prepared to illustrate by carrying out himself. Students need to see the incandescent arc-welding that joins ideas together into thoughts. If one is saying something that inflicts suffering, one by all rights had better be prepared to suffer along with the student, to sympathize and assure them that the profit for this agony consists in freedom and clarity.
Even sorrow or sympathy for the afflicted, or grief for the passing of loved ones, unbalances the body cells and makes one vulnerable to infections or destructive toxins, for such emotions have no relation to love or the inner joyousness of love-inspired man, nor are they within the God-Mind which alone knows unchanging ecstasy. ... Grief is selfish. It is indulged in for self-gratification, not for love. Cosmic man knows the beauty and unreality of death. Sympathy for the afflicted makes a reality of the affliction by its recognition as an infliction, while sorrow for the loss of anything, or for the »unfortunate« condition of anybody, is forgetful of the beauty and abundance of all-giving God and Nature. The Mind of God knows but one unchanging emotion – ECSTASY – the ecstasy of Love – the ecstasy which has its beginnings in an inner joyousness of one who is far on the road to the discovery of his immortal Self.
Source: Message of the Divine Iliad Vol. 2 (Divine Iliad)
It is not my experience that we are here to fix the world, that we are here to change anything at all. I think we are here so the world can change us. And if part of that change is that the suffering of the world moves us compassion, to awareness, to sympathy, to love, that is a very good thing.
The question to ask should not be: Do we have something in commong - reason, self-consciousness, a soul - with other animals? (With the corollary that, if we do not, then we are entitled to treat them as we like, imprisoning them, killing them, dishonoring there corpses). I return to the death camps, the horror that convinces us that what went on there was a crime against humanity, is not that despite a humanity shared with their victims, the killers treated them like lice. That is too abstract. The horror is that the killers refused to see themselves in the place of their victims, as did everyone else. They said 'It is they in those cattle-cars rattling past.' They did not say, 'How would it be if it were I in that cattle-car?' They did not say, 'It is I who am in that cattle-car,' They said, "It must be the dead who are being burnt today, making the air stink and falling ash on my cabbages.' They did not say, 'How would it be if I were burning?' They did not say, 'I am burning, I am falling in ash.' In other words, they closed their hearts.
Source: The Lives of Animals (The University Center for Human Values Series), Pages: 34
From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that we are here for the sake of each other - above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.