It is an emotion that brings together compassion, sadness and love. It is the sentiment felt for people in need, which drives us to take care of them. Fago, for the Ifaluk, a population of the Caroline Islands of the Pacific, means emotional understanding. Fago emerges when our love for others, their need for us, takes us by surprise – when life seems fragile and temporary – and we cannot help but feel moved in that moment. It is the combination of suffering and trying to do something to alleviate it; in other words, compassion. It is rendered when pain is diffuse, and one believes that human effort can limit the damage of that pain.

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