With all this stuff going on in the world right now, be it horrible mass shootings, the tragic murder of a British politican, fearmongering, and yes, cyberbullying (I mention that as we await what Richard Armitage has to say on that subject today), I find myself thinking of empathy. That leads me to the ‘philosophy of empathicalism’, the fictional philosphical theory used in the 1957 movie Funny Face with Audrey Hepurn and Fred Astaire. Here are two clips of the movie that I put together in one video, explaining the theory:

These clips and sending up empathy make me laugh! They also show me that only empathy (and ‘thoughts and prayers and sympathy’) isn’t enough. We need the right words and actions to back it up in all situations in life! Empathy means trying to understand the other and put yourself in someone else’s shoes, just like Atticus Finch says to his daughter Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird:

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb in his skin and walk around in it.”

Empathy is a wonderful thing but it shouldn’t stop there. From empathy grows discussion and then hopefully positive action and change. This goes for the aftermath of the recent tragedies we have witnessed as well as for anything yet to come on this Cybersmile  “Stop Cyberbullying Day” that Richard Armitage has subscribed to.

What I hope for after whatever message Richard Armitage sends about cyberbullying is that it sparks healthy, critical discussion but that it does not turn to vitriol and trolling (so brilliantly explained by Servetus in her recent post). I expect his message to be empathicalist (yay! I’ve connected Richard Armitage to Audrey Hepbrun!) and whatever happens afterwards will range from extreme adoration to the extremely critical, all valid reactions. However, being critical does not equal being hateful or bullying and empathy does not equal wordless acceptance.

In my view, empathy is only the beginning and I believe we need to build on that. I think Dick Avery (Fred Astaire) in Funny Face may have understood that: empathy alone is not enough… Let the (constructive) games begin!

21 thoughts on “Empathicalism

  1. Finding those sequences were genius. Yes, here’s hoping we can discuss whatever Richard Armitage has to say freely, with no attacks. But, if someone suggested a drinking game while reading his soon to come post, (and I think they did) “empathy” might be the word to choose for maximum buzz.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I always have random (old) movie scenes playing in my mind. A word like ’empathy’ triggers the memory of such a scene and voila…
      Yeah, I’m hoping for a less negative drama-filled discussion this time around (I like constructive discussion, I do not do well with negative drama)


    1. 🙂 I’m raising my glass of white wine that I am drinking right now to that.
      I am quite amazed at how close to Richard’s message I inadvertently got! I think he and I see things slightly differently in what to do with all that empathy… stuff for another post when I have had more time to order my thoughts on what he wrote. I do have a lot of empathy with what he wrote, though, even if my own thoughts may differ a bit. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Empathicalism part two | The Book of Esther

  3. Lovely post and well illustrated She’s quite the fan of ’empathicalism’ but he clearly understands that the world needs action. I think I am with you on the actions speak louder than words point. The world seems far away from empathy these days basic respect and tolerance required for peaceful human interaction seem to be in short supply 😐

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Servetus

    So it’s “Audrey Hepburn month” on Turner Classic Movies and I have now seen this! She’s better than the film. I’ve also seen (again) “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Sabrina,” and “My Fair Lady” and (for the first time) “A Nun’s Story,” “Always,” and “Charade.”

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Servetus

        I liked it a lot — it had the best storyline of any of the ones I caught this month. I also think there’s something inherently restrained about her personality that makes the nun role “fit” better. I don’t think she’s that good in “My Fair Lady,” for instance — I mean, she’s not bad, but the character is really out there and she seems to fight with that a bit.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. A well-known critique of My Fair Lady is that Audrey pulls off the lady part very nicely but the guttersnipe less so. There was a bit of an upheaval at the time that she was cast over a then still quite unknown Julie Andrews who’d played the role on stage. I quite enjoy the movie but it’s not my fave of Audrey’s work.

          The Nun’s Story, however, is right up there for me, one of my absolute fave Audrey roles! Based on a true story, btw. I once (looong ago) read the book the movie was based on. The doctor’s role was somewhat enhanced in the movie (more romantic longing than the book had) but otherwise I remember the movie being quite close to the book.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Servetus

            I did watch the first hour, a frivolous decision as I’m trying to keep my sleep schedule more oriented to reality. It was very contrived, I thought. But War and Peace itself is kind of contrived …

            Liked by 1 person

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