Our incompetence for empathy

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Our incompetence for empathy

Eveline Murphy-Wilson, Editor in Chief

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I’ve been writing a paper for my literature class in which I have to discuss the role literature has in developing a reader’s empathy. What I’ve learned is that literature is a huge catalyst for our capacity for empathy. Election results have exposed many negative qualities our country has one of which is our selfishness- incompetence for empathy. During my research process I read that the brain processes figurative language (metaphors, imagery, personification, etc.) differently than every day words or phrases. Reading literature, processing the complex vocabulary and enthralling story, broadens our ability to feel empathy towards others.

I feel that in this time of great upset through our nation after electing the least empathetic man alive, we can use as much empathy education as we can get. It may seem small but it isn’t. It’s powerful. I’ve read a lot recently on how to explain our countries disasterous election to the children who will grow up under Trump’s reign and what I’ve found is common sense: even though our president is a bully, we have to teach our kids not to be. We have to educate each other about kindness because we’ll have no role model for that from D.C.

There is no better way to explain this correlation than through poetry. In my case, a song, written by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

 

 

You, who are on the road must have a code that you can live by.
And so become yourself because the past is just a good bye.
Teach your children well, their father’s hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams, the one they pick’s the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

And you, of tender years can’t know the fears that your elders grew by,
And so please help them with your youth, they seek the truth before they can die.
Teach your parents well, their children’s hell will slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams, the one they pick’s the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

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