The insider perspective
Are you self-centered?
Take a moment to think about your answer. Even for the most empathic of us, I would venture to suggest that “feeling someone else’s pain” remains a figure of speech rather than anything literal. We make our best guesses based on the feedback we receive, and react accordingly.
To put it bluntly (so to speak), there is no way I am going to know exactly how it felt for you when you stub your toe in front of me. At best, I will wince in sympathy by equating to that time I stubbed my toe, and recalling that man, that really sucked. I’m coming at your pain from my experience. And if I’ve somehow managed to avoid stubbing my toe for my entire life, then I’m having to find something else that seems to come closest… maybe banging my elbow?
Everyone starts and ends with the self. It’s not the same thing as saying we are all selfish, because selflessness can and does occur — but feeding your children before yourself, or rescuing strangers from a burning building still doesn’t bridge the islands of consciousness. We approach other people and the world from the ultimate insider perspective. Our own.
As Keanu Reeves might say: Whoa.
But seriously, I have this notion that the creative arts are our way of trying to reach out across those gaps that separate us. Anyone can dream, but the greatest artists are the ones who can make the best use of whatever their chosen medium or media might be to share their dreams with others. They can communicate that stubbed toe in such a vivid way that we not only recognize it from our own experience but can’t help but get a pang in our own foot. Or at least our elbow.
The insider perspective, brought out for all to see.