Humor Explains Sympathy v. Empathy

Brené Brown delivers. Is it worth 2 minutes, 54 seconds of your time?  4,860,445 people think so.

Think back to the dusty streets of Palestine, where Jesus sat with broken people- people like you, people like me. How was he at entering the dark place, connecting with pain and saying, “you are not alone?”

“Come to me, all you who are weary and heavily burdened and I will rest you.” (Matthew 11:28)

Addictions & Community

We’ve focused on addictions over the years, ascribing some sort of addictive element to the “bad thing.” The thing itself right?  Video games, drugs, porn, alcohol and so on. The drop-down menu for addictions is long.

But what if….

What if a larger ingredient went unnoticed in all our deliberations? In all our calculations?

Apply this to technology and the effect it has on community. From technology’s assault on empathy to its tendency to replace face-to-face contact.

In the hyper-paced culture of tech- where social media isn’t all that…, where human contact gets mediated through machines and where many of us choose to live “elsewhere”- the intentional life becomes powerful. A deliberate priority of community and relationship.

Solitude & Conversation

Sherry Turkle talks about “the virtuous circle” in her new book, Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age.

Solitude and conversation, conversation and solitude. How they feed each other, depend on each other, strengthen each other.

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And technology? It interrupts the circle:

“Solitude reinforces a secure sense of self, and with that, the capacity for empathy. Then, conversation with others provides rich material for self-reflection. Just as alone we prepare to talk together, together we learn how to engage in a more productive solitude. Technology disrupts this virtuous circle.” -Sherry Turkle

None of us need convincing as to how cool technology is or why it plays such a pivotal role in our rewired world. That part is easy. Where we need help is with being intentional:

  • Plan crucial conversations
  • Pick a time and place
  • Put the device on “do not disturb”
  • Put the phone out of sight
  • Come with three bullet points for conversation
  • Practice deep listening
  • Get through the first 5 minutes of shallow talk until things become free-flowing