Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Quote of the Day (Leslie Jamison, on Empathy as a Choice)

“Empathy isn't just something that happens to us - a meteor shower of synapses firing across the brain - it's also a choice we make: to pay attention, to extend ourselves. It's made of exertion, that dowdier cousin of impulse. Sometimes we care for another because we know we should, or because it's asked for, but this doesn't make our caring hollow. This confession of effort chafes against the notion that empathy should always rise unbidden, that genuine means the same thing as unwilled, that intentionality is the enemy of love. But I believe in intention and I believe in work. I believe in waking up in the middle of the night and packing our bags and leaving our worst selves for our better ones.” — American novelist and essayst Leslie Jamison, The Empathy Exams: Essays (2014)

(The accompanying photo of Leslie Jamison was taken at the 2014 Texas Book Festival, Austin, Texas, on Oct. 24, 2014, by Larry D. Moore.)

No comments: