The Wall Street Journal speaks of the “unique condition” of mirror-touch synesthesia (“Lessons from Strange Brains,” Helen Thomson, Saturday June 30th). An example: “A scratch of the head, a frown, a punch on the arm — if Joel sees it, he feels it. In other words, he is hyper-empathetic.”
Scheler thinks this condition is not unique but universal. He calls it telaesthesia and thinks it necessary to explain certain plant, animal, and human behaviours. It creates a layer in our moral psychology that he calls “identification” and offers numerous examples in his The Nature of Sympathy. I highly recommended this book and use it in a number of places in V&R.
Identification is only one element of our moral psychology and thus its fusion of shared experience can vary depending on which elements of our psychology are most active. However, it very likely explains a totemic phenomenon in fashion where highly articulated styles give definition to persons and bond the like-dressed into sympathetic communities. In the West Goth would be an example and in Japan Harajuku.