Empathy – and words linked to it

Empathy? I wrote an article about having too much of it : The “Too Much Empathy” Syndrome

The ability to feel (or guess) what another person is feeling, believing…

We thinkers like to examine it, but I realize there aren’t so many books about it.

My first idea is it’s because it’s a big-deep quality. It’s like being dexterous or green fingered, and being clumsy. You can’t, really, change that.

  1. One can not develop their empathy.
  2. One certainly can not make someone develop their empathy.

My second idea is that though we all have, built in our deeprofound mind, a prehistorical dose of empathy – some people only, then (education? culture?) can develop the flowers of empathy from it, some others don’t. It’s dry. That’s it.

Another word? Attention. If you have empathy, you watch people around you, your kids, your love – you have a like perpetual computing algorithm which “guesses and reports” what probably happens in others’s heads. You read them continuously.

Another word? The decentering process. To have empathy you have to decenter. The next word is selfishness, then.

Another word? Relational Intelligence. A dance between a dry empathy which we need to understand the others’ intentions and feelings, and a warm empathy which is deeper and linked to love.

Maybe one can develop the first one? A rational empathy, is it possible?

Then it leads to empathy as a tool, in management, teaching, or therapy. It becomes, then, a… lever (or a leverage, which one’s the best?).

How to we detect a lack of empathy? How does empathy rejoin the love of stories? And what about “types of conversations”? Where and how does a lack of empathy become an… asset? What about justice, or police? What about mother/baby? And father/baby? What is vicariance, and how is it used in pedagogy? What is the “pleasure to help”?

A teacher who has empathy knows how to interest his class, then he has their attention, then they learn

Thanks for reading!

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Ohh I found a book on my shelves, “A History of Empathy”. I’m on it, OK?

Harmless Waves : the “Too Much Empathy” Syndrome

The ability to feel (or guess) what another person is feeling… is called Empathy.

Sometimes it’s a flaw!

Some says it’s the basis of our societies.

At another level, some say our brain works with a structure, which is Analogy. The human brain never ceases to create analogies between what we see and our experience, for example.

Analogy is probably Empathy’s structure…

Some say that the screen culture we plunge our kids in is the source of a lack of empathy. Their brain connects itself, this way : the world is a “sight”, something we watch.

 

When you have too much empathy it’s exhausting. I give you an example (you’ve probably been there) :

In a suburb train, someone was listening to shit music on their phone, the typical all-the-same robotic vocals (this horrible trend) in simple repeated phrases and mind-dumbing rhythm. Then my brain does two things : 

  1. I wanna stand up, take the phone and throw it out through the window, hoping it’ll crash in a huge DUNG. Then I’d click-tongue them the so-there way.
  2. I’m polite and then I curse them for seven generations, wondering about their lack of empathy (“Don’t you realize you’re murdering many people’s ears?”).
  3. But then I do have empathy, and wonder about them : what’s lacking in their mind? What’s happening inside you, dumbuddy? How can someone be so selfish and crappignorant? What about their childhood, their education? Are you an idiot?

 

See? It’s a mess. I have to close my brain (OK – it’s not possible), or analyze the “music” to find out how it’s made (it’s a game), or read my book hoping it’ll catch all of me (it can work), or let go and just be crossed (is “traversed” correct?) by what I decide are harmless waves (music are waves, right?).

 

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I told you soers & other uneasers

My daughter is 17 years old. She told me yesterday that I taught her a good lesson one day, and she remembered each of the words I said.

I do not remember “each word”, but I’m not surprised I told her this!

When and if one day you have the possibility to unease someone with your words, don’t do it.

Well, that seems obvious. I saw and heard it myself so many times, though…

For example, when one has the possibility to say “I told you so”, one should stay quiet. “I told you so” is a stupid simple way to tell the other you’re smarter. So what? It’s done, and the lesson is probably learnt, and your pal doesn’t need or wish to hear they’ve been stupid.

“I told you soers” just prove they’re, in fact, weak. They need to big themselves up. Probably because they’re not confident enough?

 

Unless for mean persons, they are other moments we should just keep quiet instead of jumping like a spider to wordhurt someone. What are these moments?

Other question : What happened which made my daughter remember this so precisely? Was it after kids drama? Have I been solemn or serious about it? Do your kids feel when you’re talking from somewhere deeper in ourselves?

Thanks for reading!

 

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Listeners & Askers

We all know this : People listen with the intent to reply.

A few people only are able to listen carefully.

  • They have empathy
  • They think about their level of listening
  • They are clever conversationalists
  • They shut up, thus you have to keep talking
  • They are interested

It works pretty well with the “feeling” part of life, of sharing. You listen to a friend who has a problem, you listen to a colleague who needs to vent, you listen to funny things that happened to the other one.

And it’s good with the “information” part of life : to obtain information, to learn, to understand, etc…

 

But there’s another level over this “listen/shut up/be empathetic” plateau : The Listener-Asker.

No their method it’s not often found in the good old “quotes about listening” (Google them if you need).

The listener-asker has all the previous skills, and this : they’re thinkers, they’re plugged, plus they dare (and they are pleased) to ask. They ASK. They multiply ask, they take their turn, they can cut your wordflow (because it’s needed, that’s all), they can ask one targeted question, or seven, interlocked into a splendid, fastly crafted and powerful braintool, made up for you.

It’s NOT asking to know more, of for encouragements, to rekindle. It’s not!

It’s about all this at the same time : listening, processing, being empathetic (which is the power of entering into another’s personality and imaginatively experiencing his experiences) then clever-asking.

Asking, then, is a complex and strong power : by asking you show the other one you understood, you help, you deliver, you show you’re plugged, you give a hand for a birth-giving, you hold a hand, you disturb (in a good way), you maybe… make waves, yes. and you offer tools, in an unnoticed eye-sparkling smile.

 

I know, it’s probably far from what you’ll always hear about listening : “focus, be quiet and gentle”.

Also :

When an Asker meets an Asker, well, don’t even try to mess with them : they have their own planet. Let them play. They do!

 

Have a nice day!

 

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The Good Teacher type, Verbalizations & The Power to Act : Chronicle 27

Ahhh when some human being, an artist, an actor, whoever, says : “I wouldn’t be there without…”. A teacher, who SAW the possibilities hidden in a toady lazy kid. Thanks to a word. An advice. A book. This person gave the impulse.

This makes me thoughtful. How to keep the awareness to be there and say the right thing to a person who desperately needs it? What is the impulse and how do you find it? What do you trigger here?

It’s rarely in actions, I’m pretty sure. It’s in words. The teacher verbalizes what he/she foresees. Or not. Foreseeing but unsaying what he/she guesses. Impulsing in the forms of seeds. But with words, right?

Words as levers. I like that!

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Spoiler to Sophie’s Choice here : don’t read this if you want to read the book one day.

Sophie is a Polish immigrant who comes to the USA just after the war. When she arrived to Auschwitz a few years before, she’s been forced to choose between her two kids : one will be gassed, the other sent to a children camp.

Of course, the idea of the choice is unimaginably terrible, but the scene, in the book, is worse : the nazi who decides to let her “choose” appears just after his lunch. He’s a bit drunk and has… “a sprinkling of boiled-rice grains on the lapel of the SS tunic”.

There’s something like a horrific one more layer here. Why is it worse to be mistreated by someone who doesn’t care that much? Why are we wounded by a lack of empathy? What kind of tropism is to mistreat someone… casually?

One day, in Paris, I was with a person who was absolutely happy to see me suffer after a break up. She became silent, never explained anything, silence treatmenting me, exhilarated to create confusion in my head, hilarious on the phone describing my despair. I was paralyzed, glued in something… I think it’s been the only time in my life I’ve witnessed this dark joy.

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Bloggers have maybe realized that they have to write & share about what they know/found. Words again. If you read me here, you know I’m obsessed with them…

What kind of place is a blog? Who listens?

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It’s been all fascinating to discover these two different American women the same week. Both of them let me in an awe. I never heard their name before. And, oh, it’s the first and last time I talk about politics here…

I discovered Ann Coulter recently, randomly, on Twitter, and I now follow her, fascinated like by a spider – to see how far she can go. “Hate-Monger”, they call her. Or “bilious”. And in fact, I never thought a person like that could exist.

The democratic political game is normal and I understand a country needs to have some Democrats moments and then some Republican moments. But Ann Coulter is something I can’t understand. I read some of her tweets or retweets, wondering how could someone be so attention seeking, ignorant, full of hate, fiddlesticky and, oh… there are some YouTube movies you can watch, just type her name and “supremely” or “complete”.

I see the spider, obsessed by religion and purity, wanting to “clean” her country from the 11 millions illegal Mexican immigrants (oh really, how would you do that, Ann?) and daily asking for “The Wall” on the border (40% of illegals come by plane with a visa and stay). Outrageous to sell books, right? I watched her first movie on Facebook like “How is this possible?”. She is almost… barking.

Not so long ago she tweeted that “Sharks are doing the jobs Europeans just don’t wanna do” after this incident in the sea “Migrants are eaten by SHARKS during rescue operation in the Mediterranean after their boats sank, claiming 31 lives” ( http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5120909/Migrants-eaten-SHARKS-rescue-operation.html ).

The only dial I could watch here is this : to ask GOP lovers what they think about this woman. But I know none. I wonder if, for people who preferred Bush to Obama, from where it is becoming “too much”…

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Happily I watched a good documentary about Katharine Hepburn, and heard about Deborah Nadoolman Landis (on the left on the picture), a film and theater costume designer I never heard about before. She’s now also and historian and a professor at UCLA. She designed costumes for Michael Jackson in Thriller, the Blues Brothers, and… Indiana Jones. Yep, she wrote books too!

I loved her smile, her finesse, her genuine sparkling happiness to talk about Katharine Hepburn. I read things about her on Twitter too. All about her grace, her enthusiasm and generosity in teaching.

Deboray at IMDB : http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0618966/

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Facets of America…

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Fidget spinners have been fascinating to watch : it was over as soon as it began. So when kids needed them it was constantly out of stock, and as soon as stores were full of spinners, they had to cut prices : NOBODY wanted to buy such shitty things for that much money.

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There are a few motifs, patterns, I like to call “tools”. It is one of the reasons why my articles are to brief. It’s not about theories, but about little structures.

A single wisdom underlies, though, any idea of “What do I do?”, thanks to Marcus Aurelius, who says that we can divide the world in two camps :

Where we have a power to act, and where we have not.

Then, worry about the first territory only.

In a way, we can consider the second camp (“I know it’s here, and what it’s doing, and I can do nothing about it”) like the WEATHER. The whole society, or war, or idiots around us : there’s little we can do about it. If I want to act, I watch the levers I have within reach, and move thy ass, gallivanter!

Choose your field : job, couple, creativity… It’s just a little analysis game.

 

There are some states, in life, where your camp, your levers, all is just INSIDE you. You are powerless on anything you have around (for example if you’re a lonely prisoner in a cage). Then, all you can do is to work inside yourself…

 

Then…

Signals. At intervals. Intermittently. Hoping they’ll be seen. You need a mate to talk about things, right?

 

Thanks for reading! Bonne journée !

 

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Thanks, Beth, for the picture!

Managing Layers, Empathy Ways & Adaptation Paths

Wandering into this…

I work in a store. I have to deal with : managers, colleagues, customers. If you’re a principal in a school, you deal with : teachers & special educators, students, parents (a gardener deals with flowers – a client from time to time. Some days, I’d like to be this guy)…

I talked with a speech therapist one day, and we agreed on this : when you work with a lot of humans, you acquire an instinct, a very fast ability to adapt and adjust your communication ways to the others, your interlocutors.

Thus I really feel I have the head up display like in the Terminator red screen : when the robot meets someone, he’s computing, sorting, labelling what he sees, in real time. Tut criip tut tuuut!…

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If today, at work, you meet someone you already know (a kid, a colleague, a chief), you’re fast inside because you have your labels ready, a bunch of stickers, it is. Then your sensors refines and adapts : what’s the mood here and is there something new to know? All this while your talking about the weather – right?

The purpose is not to terminate the person, but to adapt. It leads to a question about empathy : you empath, do you think or do you feel? Both? Of course both!

I posted an article about INTJ or INFJ in a forum, asking if the T (thinking) and F (feeling) are not, in fact, a braid, and I got attacked there by people who REALLY like their boxes and said I “did not understand”. Like in USSR in the old time, I probably needed to be re-educated.

So we work with groups (students/teachers/parents), we connect with individuals, we juggle with labels and realness, reality, we tango between instincts and analysis. Computing big data inside!

One day we are skilled enough to laugh when we learn that there are books about mentalism or “gestures analysis”. “Methods”. As if when someone crosses his legs to feel comfortable was a “sign of closure”! OMG.

Of course there’s a need of books! A few hundreds could be a beginning. Anthropology, Philosophy, Psychology…

And years of life.

Then, when you talk with your lover, you know he/she has an idea in her mind, a worry, a concern, anything. There, it’s not analysis, it’s instinct. And you effing WATCH your partner, from the inside, not as a pilot (you don’t decide this), you just notice anything : her eyes, a way of breathing, a microseconding hesitation in a phrase. You say : “What’s happening, dear?”. She’ll maybe answer :

– Aweee… How do you know?

OK. INFJ. Maybe…

 

Thanks for reading! Comment if you feel like you want to add something…

Have a nice day!

 

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Instagram : _bodylanguage_

 

 

 

 

“Vicarious” : How to learn by watching others #pedagogy #empathy

Vicariant en Français. Vicarious in English. What a strange word! It’s a concept and I put it here very simply, as a tool, or a seed. Do what you want with it.

Vicarious : Experienced through somebody or something else.

It’s all about learning, first.

There are many ways of learning. Albert Bandura was interested by one of them : observational learning. A way to learn is by watching others.

Social learning theorylearning is a cognitive process that takes place in a social context and can occur through observation.

Vicarious can be extended to other things.

For example : in the night your eyes can’t see, so you use your hands to “grope for” (en Français on dit “Chercher à Tâtons”, ain’t it cute?).

Vicarious : Experienced throught something else. To replace a function by another.

Think about this now :

Empathy is a vicariance, a Metaphor is a vicariance (a word for another), a Trauma can be vicarious (traumatised because you helped traumatised people), an Emulator is vicariant, and a Impostor is vicarious, etc. Once you have this tool, you can use it elsewhere.

Ref : Alain Berthoz, la Vicariance

 

Thanks for reading! Feel free to follow me!

 

I’m living vicariously through your pictures in Lille…