Last night I read a number of posts I’ve written but have not posted.  There are reasons. Most of the time, I write and immediately post; complete with grammar and spelling errors.  But sometimes, I write and say to myself, “Do not post this now, John. Wait.” And, so, some of my writing that reveals my deepest flaws or, perhaps, my greatest strengths never gets posted.  These pieces remain as drafts until I decide either to delete them or to move them to a “graveyard” where I keep old ideas that, for one reason or another, I choose not to share.

As I read some thirty drafts last night, I realized that fully two-thirds of them shared a thread; they revealed a concern about a personal characteristic that I have always found troubling and embarrassing.  I decided not to post them because I thought they would make me seem weak.   Still unable to open myself up to the world, I won’t post them now. Instead, I will reveal things I have been reading or places I’ve just been poking about online.  Sorry to have led you to this let-down.  I hope you at least find some consolation in the links below:

  • Six Habits of Highly Empathetic People: A Facebook friend shared this and I found it truly riveting reading. It seems to me a willingness to understand and appreciate what other people are “going through” can go a long way toward achieving peace.  It’s a long, long road, but one worth taking, I think.  Reading it led me to other interesting “stuff,” as well.
  • The Lonely American: Drifting Apart in the 21st Century: This is a book about the effects of social isolation. A review of the book is found here. As I consider what I know of my neighbors and how much time I spend with people outside my own house, I think this book may be required reading for me.
  • How Our Ancestors Used to Sleep Twice a Night: This article, sent to me on Facebook by someone else (thank you, T!), is another fascinating read, offering insights into sleep patterns of the past that were very different from those of most of us today.
  • Demystifying False Confessions: This post on the Innocence Project blog discusses how/why the utterly counter intuitive act of falsely confessing to a crime occurs.  After reading this post, I went on to read this one, which presents facts that support my contention that the death penalty should not be used if for no other reason than it is irreversible; too many people on death row have been exonerated after wrongful convictions.
  • The Loneliest Road: US-50 is a highway that runs from San Francisco, CA to the Chesapeake Bay.  I stumbled onto this page about the “loneliest road” while daydreaming with my fingers on the keyboard.  The entire site (Road Trip USA) is interesting; I may need to get the books. Anyone want to join me on a cross-country wander?  Someday. Someday.
  • How to Immigrate to Newfoundland and Labrador: Speaking of travel and daydreaming, I came upon this quite by accident.  This page is just the jumping-off point to learn more about immigrating to Newfoundland and Labrador.  From here, I backtracked all over the site.  Interesting place, it appears.
  • Socialism as Radical Democracy: I’ve been to this page before and found it intriguing.  I still find it intriguing.  If you (whoever you are) will leave your preconceptions about socialism behind, I think you’ll find a lot of merit in the principles of the Socialist Party USA. Granted, wealthy capitalists living lives of lavish excess won’t be thrilled with what they say, but that does not disturb me in the least.

And so there you have it.  My revelations for this morning.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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One Response to Revelations

  1. Trish says:

    Here, I will only address the article of “Six Habits of Highly Empathetic People.”

    Empathy from my point of view, is the “base point” of development. When I gave birth to my only child, this was my first goal as a mother. This thought came naturally to me. I was not thinking in first crawl, steps, or words, no. I was laughed at by some, them saying, oh that will just “happen.” I knew in my heart it wouldn’t just didn’t happen. It is demonstrated, and taught. There is much debate on whether it is something that you are partially born into, and the rest is left up to environmental factors. Even if this is true, and the principal care giver (I will say the mother in this context, for I am one, but fathers can surely be included ), what ever genetic roll that is played here could be destroyed by the lack of nurturing. Empathy comes from exposure to it. Babies watch, and mimic for a while, but they also begin to feel what the see. If the mother (father) is void of empathy, there is a strong possibly that the child will develop with the same void, and therefore “skip” this vital base point of development.

    And mind you, I’m not referring to “feel sorry for”, “pity” nor “compassion” (often confused)….empathy for me is lateral feeling, and the most personal of feelings, and the most connected.

    Interestingly enough, I recall going to a sad, or even fatally ending movie with my mother. She left dry eyed, I on the other hand, was a teary eyed mess. She would say to me, Trish its only a movie, but you seem to live it! Her response drew both pity, and compassion. Yes, I felt sorry for her, for she could not feel these moments of cinema, nor do I believe she could feel it from reading a book.

    So I asked myself, where on earth did I develop such a strong sense of empathy. My father, of course, the macho, x-marine. Even though he was not present the better time of the day, when he was at home, he was an active participant in my life…and HE was the biggest cry baby of all! 🙂

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