empathic love

James Baldwin on Shakespeare:

“The greatest poet in the English language found his poetry where poetry is found: in the lives of the people. He could have done this only through love — by knowing … that whatever was happening to anyone was happening to him,” 

“It is said that [Shakespeare’s] time was easier than ours, but I doubt it — no time can be easy if one is living through it.”

Isn't this so true. Why going to Thailand, I wonder while the woman besides me tells about her next holidays, when you don't even talk with your Turkish neighbor? Or the Thai woman serving your noodle soup with crispy nems? I am sure she has a lot of stories to tell. Don't get me wrong, one has to change context once in a while to see things through a new perspective. But isn't a little worrying that even though we have never been connected to more people on the planet, traveled so relentlessly and eaten so multicultural as ever before and still people don't seem to show a spectacular increase of compassion. It certainly is a challenge in the Era of facebook-friends-for-ever.

But all actually is right there, as it always has been, around, in the lives of people, of flesh and blood. Listening is a way to get there. Listening is a real art though. How many conversations, in which both sides are just waiting for the other to finish to tell their great part of the story. Or these hyper connected conversations: you say this, now I tell my opinion, now its your turn for your opinion, then mine, yours, mine and we're done. Some latte-macchiato masturbation-talks as my friend would say. A real conversation to me is when you feel there is a flow, a flow of thoughts, in which both sides agree they are open to change their minds. An opinion to me is not what I am necessarily waiting for in a conversation, a solid set of ideas not ready for change. Actually, we could listen not to talk, but to hear how the other reacts to your words. Because if you listen carefully, you actually can hear that the others reaction is slightly different than you could expect or would think yourself. And not because he's not listening, but is thinking differently. And in this difference, there's a hint to another perspective. Another way to see things. And thus a clue to develop your thinking. And if the other does as well, you could actually together develop thoughts, create. Because as soon as your thought hits the spoken word, it is part of reality. And how come the other has a different reality, you both live in the same one, or not? It's like art. I like to see art as the valley between your dreams and reality. Technique can help bridging the gap a little. It truly helps to know a little to keep a rhythm or what a note is if you want to compose this ground braking new song or to know how to hold a camera and edit if you were to shoot the next Hollywood Star. But most of this bridging to me, comes through trial and error. When you start trying to create your idea in reality, most of the times, what comes out is in the best case similar to your dream and in the worst case it just is a glimpse of the original idea. This to me, says nothing about the idea, nor about the technique used. It simply is developing art. A method of solidifying, giving form to observation and thought through those inconsistency between the thought in your head and the concrete outcome. So, in a conversation, you could actually enter the world of art. Of creating thought in the real world. Almost as a process on its own you both share in the moment.