There has been an increased number of discussions about empathy on various platforms lately because of the increasing interest in human centered design and design thinking I suppose. I would like to introduce someone who dramatically changed my own understanding of the relationships between designers and those they 'serve' and those they 'empathize' with. Naomi Remen, a medical doctor, stated:
When you help, you see life as weak.
When you fix, you see life as broken.
When you serve, you see life as a whole.
Rachel Naom Remen
In The Service of Life
Paraphrasing Remen: "When you fix or help people they feel that they are in your debt. When you serve them you treat them as equals—there is an exchange of equal value."
Design as a service is not empathy, nudging, coercion, manipulation...etc.