On the Subject of Empathy

By Aaron Thornell (St. FX)

My attempt to take a deep picture

My attempt to take a deep picture

May I apologize in advance for the corny nature of what you are about to read:

How does one walk a mile in another’s shoes when that person walks barefoot?

I am not sure how to answer this question, although empathy has recently become very prominent in my thoughts, and often does whenever we travel.  I had originally believed it to be an extension on my attempts to conceptualize the subject of trust in the Malawian – and indeed community development – context. I think, perhaps, it is more basic than these theorizations. Perhaps it is a natural instinct to imagine the life and thoughts of a young child in her school uniform, or a woman carrying water on her head, or a young man playing football? Perhaps it is a product of being in a place where one knows that many lifestyles will not resemble one’s own in most ways – as a result one becomes curious of the thoughts that another has. While I am thinking about the Praxis Malawi endeavor and the World Cup and blogs and girls, the other is thinking about … well I don’t know.

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