I just heard for the first time The Waterboys’ “In My Time on Earth”
The last line called my attention…
“ In my time on earth , I will say I am you.”
Empathy Week is hosted in several locations and ways in our city this first week of June 2019. Thank you to Humainologie for your leadership in organizing this important initiative. Opportunities to encounter ourselves in narratives and projects around Calgary are designed to help us visualize pieces of life we may not yet know personally.
Empathy is often described as being able to ‘see myself in the other’ and beyond that, to ‘see the other in me’.
The lyrics: ‘I will say I am you’ take it to another level to complete the thought. This is one step past being surprised at the discovery that I am no different than you are as a human being.
With all the variances possible in our world, the deeper level of this ‘impossible’ thought is that I AM YOU. Just think about all the ways we seek to make our differences visible: by what we wear, what we do, who we interact with, how much money we have access to, how many square feet we pay for to house our families, where and how we travel, how we maintain our safety and security, how many choices we have, … there are so many indicators our society has embraced and marketed and valued as ‘difference’.
The lyrics speak to another level. ‘ I will say I am you.’ speaks to personhood. Remove all else. We stand together in vulnerability as human beings.
What is our difference then?
What is our sameness?
When I say ‘I am you’, I no longer have a choice about whether I pay attention to you.
It seems the ‘golden rule’ is so.
Only difference allows us a basis to choose not ‘to really see others as our selves’. How do we process the decision to see or to not see others? Is it power? Is it value? … ?
Asking the questions may help us understand ourselves.
It may also help us understand the way we see others.