I Got Skills: Kabaam. Empathy!
So this daily prompt popped up and I was thinking about a post. The appalling acts in Paris are fresh and they’re raw. I’ve had a few moments wondering today, if writing fantasy is selfish? If there is so much anger in the world and injustice, then why do I feel the need to create a new one to explore? Why do I not tell the story’s that history might one day forget? Why write fiction at all, when there are so many truths to present to the reader. Now this is a post that I feel will need to be written and expanded on, but reading the prompt in its entirety, I was bulldozed by another idea.
If I could be mistress of anything in the world, what would it be? Now, I may be venturing onto a precarious limb here, but I’m going to interpret this as ‘what super power would you like?’ and I know. Today, I know.
I would like the power of enforcing empathy please, thank you. Imagine. Two squabbling neighbours arguing about why or why their mutual fence should be painted green. ZAPP! Empathy. They can both understand the other points of view. They’re suddenly imbued with knowledge and understand that the fence is very important to neighbour A because his mother, who passed away a month ago would always comment on how lovely it looks and to neighbour B – it’s important to him that the fence is painted blue, because he desperately needs something more cheerful to look out at in the morning. Perhaps painting the fence is trivial to one, and not the other, but they’re both standing their ground… KABAM! Empathy.
Now this is a poor example and I know, but imagine. Could many of the world’s problems be solved with a little empathy and understanding? There is so much anger out there and I feel like many people are desperately trying to keep the balance tipped toward peace.
The premise that we have no clue what is happening inside the heads of the people we meet. Yes, that shop assistant might have been a bit of a moody grumpuss when you told them you had the wrong change. Maybe they had bad grace in handling the situation and perhaps you then walked out feeling like a bear prematurely woken up from hibernation. But maybe it’s all that shop assistant can do, to keep standing at their till and scanning things through because their mind is a messy tangle of worries, thoughts and grief. Maybe they’re only just hanging on in their mind and when you leave, your anger is going to be the thing that pushes them beyond a point where they can cope.
The complexities of what we share, with who and what we hold back in our thoughts and even from ourselves, is something I’m currently exploring in my manuscript. I hope to share the prose with you all at some point. Mental Wellbeing is something that I believe is less often explored in fiction and perhaps most especially in fantasy. Robert Jordan provide an excellet character who’s mind fragments and explores perception and the importance of believing what you see thought dreams, but its something I feel is lacking. Something which could be done well and something I aim to do.
A very wise person once told me, that we’re all responsible for our own emotions. Another person also told me, that when you listen to what someone else is telling you, you don’t need to identify with them. Because they’ve done X,Y and Z – doesn’t mean you should go out and try it so that you can form a connection and it doesn’t mean you should step aside from your own moral boundaries. But we can be empathetic and understand that what we see, isn’t the whole picture of what is happening within a person. They might be having the worst day ever, or the best. Who knows? It’s our small, daily actions which have an impact on the world around us. I aim to continue with small acts of kindness and hope that somehow, in someway I’m keeping the balance in a better way.
Just imagine that place, where everyone used their empathy.
Here is Geek Ergo Sum. Although the link I’ve provided is not his repsonse to the prompt, I often find his blog posts amusing and well worth a read and this seems to tie in nicely with my thoughts for today:
Here is Sweat, Tears and Digital Ink. Their take on the prompts also caught my interest and I thought that I’d share.