Once upon a Star Trek series, there was Next Generation character called Dianna Troi who was half-human, half-Betazoid, and who, through some gift of paranormal electronics, had the ability to sense emotions telepathically. Troi is credited for bringing the term “empath” to mainstream consciousness.
The term has since evolved to various meanings and connotations, some of them vaguely otherworldly with an inference that Empaths are part of a phenomenon of evolved spiritual beings meant to heal the planet with their gifts of augmented emotional IQ, compassion, observation and general sensitivity.
IN SOME INTERNET CIRCLES “EMPATH” IS THROWN OUT AS A SARCASTIC INSULT WHEN SOMEONE IS BEING EXTRAORDINARILY SELF-CENTERED AND UNSYMPATHETIC.
Science fiction casts Empaths as characters who can feel the pain of the world, know the feelings of those at a great distance, or in some cases absorb the feelings of others parasitically to use for their own purposes.
Increasingly, highly sensitive people are identifying as Empaths in a psychological and physiological terms. The human brain contains a specialized group of cells that enable people to mirror one another’s emotions. Evidence shows that these mirror neurons are more active and hyper-responsive in the brains of Empaths, a tendency that can be genetically passed on.