Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Autobiography and Empathy

Brian Alger at the Experience Designer Network says this in a post entitled, "Learning is a Global Phenomenon":
"We can best explore the multiplicity of learning by bringing ourselves into close proximity to the stories of people's lives that in some manner inform our own. This notion seems strikingly obvious and deceptively simplistic. I do not mean that we focus our intention on mere biography or developing the ability to mentally recall the facts associated with the lives of those we consider to be famous in some way. One problem with our idea of story is that it easily denigrates into armchair entertainment. Often, stories of people's lives come to us via print media and even the most literate among us struggle to connect and actualize the essence of inspiring lives into our own. In other words, we can recall a story in great detail yet not be influenced by it in any significant way. Stories too often remain in the mind and are confined to an act of memory.
From another perspective, the story of one person's life can be a powerful force for fundamental and permanent change in another person's life. These stories are the living "curriculum," if you will, of learning. They are imbued with a sense of reality and mystery that, when read with an open spirit, can cause us to re-think and re-act in our own lives."
I gave a paper some time ago on "empathy"; I think I'll have to dust it off & see if I can rework it & submit it somewhere for publication.

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