The books with the words for the artwork I have been making in recent years. I love these books. I recommend their contents to all who are interested in creating, beauty, knowledge, understanding and justice.

Often I encounter a confusion between empathy and sympathy in the world-articles online in particular. Interchangeable these words are not, and yet so casually they are traded one for the other in situations when felt dire need to show up, provide, share, do the right thing about something or for someone. These treacherous holes in the pavement that slowly grow and eventually give way. And so as I read, reread, and consider the contents of these books, I begin to realise a level of exertion necessary in minding my own words. The difference in empathy and sympathy are in what they create.  On the topic of pain, felt pain-emotional and bodily for these sensations, as Scarry articulates with great detail and example, obliterates all that surrounds the pain. Empathetic response to pain would not be to sympathise, but rather to offer enabling tools for the body in pain. Sympathy disables and disarms, furthering the pain, and the well is feasibly endless until there is no more life to give to the pain. What can empathy look like then? We witness it as beauty, and not in the beauty people argue about, but in the beauty recognised without saying, the beauty that does not beg for recognition but stands. The beauty is known when it is felt as the correct action and enabling tool in the situation soaked in pain. The world of people and living creatures knows great pain, and we are well serviced by tending to such works.

on beauty the body in pain

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *