Untangling the web

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Image                                                                          Funnel-web spider’s crib

One of the scintillating qualities the mind possesses is that of sieve. It allows the stuff of life to fall through until such time as we’re ready to see it or feel it … or hear it: know what I mean?

A wonderful mathematician & computer scientist was speaking of how she mustered support to save Bletchley Park by means of connecting with like-minded strangers through the twitosphere.

I’m not sure if being ‘very very pants’ is something that can be said in sentient company: nonetheless, it is an accurate description of my techné in this area. Her words had me dashing to squint at @emotionalresilience and #Empathy and … all those aspects of existence on which these pages comment.

It was a depleting experience: seems there ain’t many of us who reason these matters … matter.

The Materials that we supply – not only here but in universal encouragement to let lives speak – inform how generously we can contribute to the wider world. What’s done becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy: being gloomy causes one gloom just as a kind act ignites kindness.

It’s not rocket science: it’s more sophisticated than that.

Expression of empathy

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© Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA                                                            HM the Queen being utterly present while talking with victims of the Grenfell Tower fire

Voices are demanding that s/he who investigates the circumstances which led to the cataclysm within Grenfell Tower be sensitive to the trauma of its victims and reality of the lives they live.

They say the chap appointed, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, may be a fine lawyer and forensic examiner of onerous detail but lacks the empathy survivors require.

Never having met the man, I cannot comment on the level of his emotional intelligence. What does seem evident though, is that skills now considered essential to fulfilling specialized work have evolved. No longer is it enough for noses to be in tomes for decades; our humanity must also to be out in the world, mingling itself with others whose air we breathe.

Does this indicate an important flowering in awareness of what it means to be human? That it has never been the case focussing all efforts on one part of our humanness as desirable, is a no-brainer. Fiercely bright intellects who scoff at others more able to express non-intellectual virtues seem as misguided as those prone to emotional naturism who wear it all on their sleeve.

Cultivating innate humanity alongside and in balance with reasoning processes can only produce harmony within. Exhaling generosity of spirit does not entail casting wisdom to the four winds and could even ventilate the chorus of compassion so crucially required at present.

Empathy : word of the year

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I wonder whether the rise of interest in Empathy this year is in any way related to the dazzling number of truly miserable events by which the world’s been besieged?

In order to stretch one’s mind to try to understand how it is for someone else, there needs to be a motivation to do so. So perhaps the fact there are few who haven’t been touched by tragedy of some kind has generated this deepening of humanity?

Emotional intelligence is the American term for England’s Emotional literacy; reading the room if you will. Each and both pertain to the skill of recognizing others’ mood and using that knowledge to inform the nature of the ensuing dialogue.

Marshmallow, together with a few other focussed groups promoted these EQ skills since the mid-Nineties and Empathy was one of the foundation stones. In the same way a sculptor will look at a block of marble, see two figures entwined and then set about revealing them, so Madeleine Baird Materials emerged from Marshmallow’s block and continues to stand on those founding principles.

Why am I telling you this? Well, you might not have known how intrinsic empathic understanding is to self-raising flourishing.

Have a happy and compassionately empathic New Year.