I wanted to write this post yesterday, but I also wanted to give my thoughts the chance to settle regarding the recent events that occurred in Paris. As this exercise as is designed to heighten our awareness as it relates to empathy, there is not more striking event that could have occurred during this “experiment” than the very real and horrific terrorist attacks in Paris. I know many others have written about Paris in this week’s posts, but as someone who tends to process things slowly, I wanted to be able to sift through all of the news and social media before determining my true feelings. In some ways, Paris could be marked down as yet another terrorist attack, just one of many. Why should I prioritize my sympathy for these deaths over those that occurred in Beirut? And as someone who experiences psychosocial numbing like the rest of us, I will admit that I do not feel any different about the 129 dead in Paris versus the 44 dead in Beirut. But what I do feel is fear. I feared for those I knew who lived or were in Paris at the time of the attacks. I feared that they would be one or two or three of the 129. I didn’t experience that same fear about Beirut, and that is because I do not know anyone there. It’s both saddening to me that I feel this way, but it also feels humanizing. We cannot empathize with everyone, but we can give our full empathy to those we know and care for. And if everyone has someone willing to give empathy to them, then we all do our part in helping the world heal after tragedies like these.
Here’s an article I found interesting, too.