SYMPATHEIA is ‘mutual interdependence’. It also means ‘affinity of parts to the organic whole’, ‘sympathy’.

The concept of <sympatheia> is relevant in Plotinos’ (Plotinus) view. The author of Enneads eleborates some ideas of Platon (Plato) – particularly as regards the dialogue Timaeus – and of Stoicism. However, he distances himself from the physicalism of the latter. In fact, for Plotinos, <sympatheia> is the whole unity of an incorporeal soul. He believes that <sympatheia> is the explanation of the connections between <phenomena> which are spatially apart. Indeed, <phenomena> are related with the unity of the soul, whether that of an organism or of the entire universe. The issues where the connection proves evident are astral influence, magic, divination, prayers, and sense perception.

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In Meditations, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (Marcus Aurelius) imparts prescriptions to help keeping important ideas in mind. “Meditate often about the interconnectedness and mutual interdependence of all things in the universe”. He refers to the Stoic notion of <sympatheia>, that is the idea that all things are mutually woven together and have an affinity for each other.

The Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher thinks that realizing the connection to each other pushes people to be good and do good for each other. The universe made rational creatures for the sake of each other, with an eye toward mutual benefit and never for harm”. 

<Sympatheia> is ‘mutual interdependence’. When other people suffer, we suffer. When the world suffers, we suffer. Marcus says “what is bad for the hive is bad for the bee“. According to Stoics, we are all part of the same larger organism. We all share the same substance. We all breathe the same air. Of course, we all descend from the same long chain of evolution, and this is true regardless of race, place of birth, wealth and health.