The “E” Word

‎”In a world given increasingly to violence and tensions among ethnic and other diverse groups, the value of being able to understand and feel for others as human beings cannot be overestimated, because violence depends on dehumanizing others so that we can no longer think of their hopes, aims and sufferings but rather treat them as objects to be manipulated or on whom to vent our frustrations.

To experience (emotionally, imaginatively, and intellectually) what it means to be human in the broadest sense ought to be one of the primary goals in both education and life.”

I read this for the first time in college… it was inside of a textbook called ‘The Essential Theatre’ by Oscar G. Brockett and Robert J. Ball. I rediscovered it while I was cleaning out my memorabilia boxes this past weekend. When I read this while I was in school, I loved it so much that I had typed it out so that I could post it on my wall. It’s going there now.

It’s election season in the United States and today is National Voter Registration Day… and I see so much vitriol in my Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr feeds, from both the left and right sides of the aisle. Much of it is emotionally or theatrically based content, not rational, factual based content. Both parties are guilty. We’re all guilty for the situation we’re in, you know that… I don’t want to sit here at my laptop and self-righteously tell you guys what to believe, how to communicate or who to be. What I want to do is invite you to consider your relationship to a very important skill that all humans have but are not fully embracing:

Empathy.

What is your relationship to empathy? Is it idealogical based? Theological based? Nation based? Not sure? Neither was I… so the first thing I did to better understand empathy and realize how I am applying my empathic skills towards the world is I watched this video. It’s a logical, historical analysis of empathy, explains why empathy is man’s greatest skill, and why it is called “The Invisible Hand.”


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