Pity and compassion are kinds of sympathetic sorrow for someone's substantial misfortune; they involve, however, more than general sorrow.A crucial difference between them is that compassion involves far greater commitment for substantial help."Pity costs nothing, and it ain't worth nothing." Josh Billings "People are not homeless if they're sleeping in the streets of their own hometowns." Dan Quayle Pity expresses a negative evaluation of the bad situation of others. What is wrong with pity and is pity still a virtue?
This is probably the reason why George, in the television show Seinfeld, proudly claims that "Nobody is sicker than me.") When others pity them, people understand that they lack something and are therefore regarded as inferior.
There is a long-standing philosophical tradition that argues that pity is worthless from a moral viewpoint or even has a negative moral value.
Spinoza, for example, argues that "Pity, in a man who lives according to the guidance of reason, is evil of itself, and useless." The main reason for criticizing pity is that it does not improve the situation.
These beliefs are a kind of defense mechanism which somehow justifies our passivity in pity.
Owing to the belief in the other's inferiority, pity may easily insult or humiliate the recipient.
Typical attitudes of compassion address those near and dear who need constant help, for example, a family member seriously ill, mentally retarded, or physically disabled.