Ask somebody

Posted: December 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

Yesterday I wrote about the importance of having and acting on sympathy.
Sympathy
noun
1.
feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune.
“they had great sympathy for the flood victims”
synonyms: compassion, caring, concern, solicitude, empathy; More
antonyms: indifference
the formal expression of pity or sorrow for someone else’s misfortune; condolences.
plural noun: sympathies; plural noun: one’s sympathies
“all Tony’s friends join
2.
understanding between people; common feeling.

Today I would like to write about empathy
noun
the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
There is a lot to understanding. With an understanding, learning can happen and with learning anything is possible. So how do we arrive at an understanding especially when something seems impossible to understand. I have trouble understanding the zealot who harms others and their self. Human life is an amazing and fragile gift and to harm or end it seems awful but this happens everyday and often it happens in the name of religion or nationalism something bigger than themselves.

“On the dogmas of religion, as distinguished from moral principles, all mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, have been quarreling, fighting, burning and torturing one another, for abstractions unintelligible to themselves and to all others, and absolutely beyond the comprehension of the human mind”
Thomas Jefferson

See? Even the brilliant Thomas Jefferson had trouble with empathy. I am nowhere near as brilliant as Thomas Jefferson so, it can only be assumed I would have issues with developing and employing empathy. In an effort to know more about empathy I discovered a book by Leslie Jamison titled “The Empathy Exams”. The book is a collection of short stories in which the author speaks to and describes different situations which create empathy within her.
So for Leslie Jamison, the way to illicit empathy is to ask. Maybe this will work for others. Ask the person why they did something or feel some way. If nothing els asking about actions of others gives us better conversations than the weather.
Peace
John3c

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