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  • Writer's pictureCrone


Not wellness.

I was listening today to a philosopher called Dan Zahavi expressing the kind of empathy that matters... he said something like, it grants us understanding of the experriential nature of the other.

And I thought YES! Not that sense of feeling hurt because someone else is hurt or imagining ourselves in their shoes but having some insight into their experience from their point of view.

This is how we build connections. This isn't a perfect example but it moved me so profoundly that I can't forget it.... I was walking down the path and another woman was coming up it. I moved to my right, onto the grass - and I caught her eye and smiled because my message to her was this - 'I am not moving aside to protect myself from you, I am moving aside because I honour you - yes you, individual, unique you!' She smiled back and moved to her right too - she did not need to move, but I think she did the moving as well as the smiling because while the smile says 'Thank you' the move says 'And I honour you!'

We are not avoiding each other out of self protection, we are honouring the other's sacred space. And this is what the eyes and the smile and the moving aside ritual communicate. And we can only do it because of this facility to experience, to some degree, the mind of the other.

Note too, this is an embodied and situated act. It can only be in the concrete, flesh and blood world that we live it, with the flux and the chaos and the fluidity of life as it is lived.

It made me think of Bentham saying that pushpin is as valuable as poetry if if creates as much happiness... this is life in one dimension, but life is not in one dimension. It is in SO MANY. I am not prioritising the intellectual over the physical or anything that stupid. There is wonder in all aspects of life - but wonder is in a different dimension from happiness. As is achievement, understanding, connection and depth.

There is so much more to the tiniest moment than any science could ever evaluate.

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