Quill, Write Ups

WHICH CAME FIRST READER OR EMPATHY?

For years, I have had a theory about readers and empathy. It’s a fairly simple theory: basically, I assume that people who are avid readers, or who grew up reading a lot, tend to have higher empathy levels than non-readers. I should be clear, I’m speaking specifically about fiction readers here as that plays a big part in this next part of my theory. My theory basically centers around the idea that, as people who spend a great deal of their time essentially in someone else’s head and experiencing life and different situations and emotions through someone else’s eyes, it’s only natural that over time that ability to see things from another person’s point of view might grow stronger. (And yes, empathy is a lot more than just seeing things from another person’s point of view absolutely, I’m just simplifying for the sake of keeping this on the shorter side since we all know I ramble.)

I know I am not the first to come up with this idea, and while I don’t really have a ton of data to back up my theory, I’ve done the very briefest amount of “research” to find a few articles and studies that seemed to essentially arrive at this same conclusion. But I do think it’s important to add that I have no formal background in psychology (just a personal fascination with it) and nothing to back up this theory. It’s mostly just always something I’ve believed must be true in some way, just because it felt like it made sense.

Recently, however, a conversation with a friend of mine made me look at this idea a little bit deeper, and from a slightly different perspective than I have before, and I started to wonder: Does reading make you more empathetic, or does being more empathetic naturally make you more drawn to reading? Or is it both?

Basically, my friend was reading a book she knew I had read before, and we struck up a conversation based around her opinions surrounding some of the actions or thoughts of the characters in the story. Essentially, she was struggling to understand why the characters would react a certain way or think certain things. She thought it seemed unrealistic and over dramatic.

I tried to point out how the character’s feelings and reactions made a lot of sense based on the world where the story is set and the circumstances they were dealing with, but she didn’t seem to really see that. Now, this friend does not enjoy reading – I’m not even 100% sure why she had decided to read this particular book at this particular time – and she also doesn’t happen to be the kind of person who I would say is a very empathetic person (for the record, she agrees with this and also said it was OK to write this so don’t worry, I’m not trash-talking a friend here!) and often simply can’t see things from another person’s perspective. Realizing all this, I started wondering if maybe part of the reason she doesn’t enjoy reading is because of the fact that she doesn’t find it easy to relate to the way the characters are feeling.

This makes sense to me in away. I’ve definitely had the experience while reading where the character’s actions were really hard to understand or justify and unless the author did a really good job of making the story compelling in some other way, it was difficult to get through. So I could see there is a connection between finding it difficult to empathize with others and finding it difficult to enjoy reading.

Obviously, this isn’t the case for everybody. There are plenty of extremely empathetic people who can’t stand reading I’m sure, and probably just as many avid readers who can’t for the life of them understand the perspectives of most other people. But it does make me curious about the potential connection between empathy and reading.

Let me know what you think. Do you believe there is a link between empathy and reading? If so, do you think it’s more prevalent with readers of fiction or do you think non-fiction would have the same effect? Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Art, Brush

Anonymous (4/4)

Here is a series of expressions.. These have been tagged with anonymous because these thoughts are not confined to someone specific but are the usual topics that we all know exist and yet forget to pay much heed to. The quarantine period helped me introspect and observe various physical, mental and social aspects that create a huge impact on our personalities.. I have named this line up as “THE BODY WORK” because these are bodies covered with messages so that the the soul can get nude with the expression and thoughts…
Poetry, Quill

Sit Beside Me

But the best things are meant to end as well,
And anything you feel will always end too soon,
And no sooner will you feel it,
No longer believe it,
But the memory of remembrance with always, ALWAYS stay,
And when you see it again, it won’t feel like home,
You’ll know it’s yours again, but you’re never the same,
And flow again, like dragonflies, for nothing really stays,
But then again, those moments they, they never really go away,
Come again to find me, I’m here on my own,
Sit beside me some day, and leave if you wish,
But be happy that none of us exist.

Uncategorized

Light

No matter how dark the darkness be, one streak of light is enough to cut it out.

Art, Brush

Anonymous (3/4)

Here is a series of expressions.. These have been tagged with anonymous because these thoughts are not confined to someone specific but are the usual topics that we all know exist and yet forget to pay much heed to. The quarantine period helped me introspect and observe various physical, mental and social aspects that create a huge impact on our personalities.. I have named this line up as “THE BODY WORK” because these are bodies covered with messages so that the the soul can get nude with the expression and thoughts…
Poetry, Quill

Dew

I know you can,
I know you will,
It’s just another obstacle,
Just another hill,
The shimmer of the twinkling stars,
And the rich vivid sky,
Would heal your scars,
And bring you closer to new highs,
Majestically the birds fly,
And swiftly the fish swim,
Ruminating on their flaws they do not sigh,
Because they are determined, bold and vim.
The lands are free
and the seas endless.
Just as you should be bright and boundless!
And all of this dauntless nature resides inside you.
Because if nature is your life, you are it’s dew.

Art, Brush

Anonymous (2/4)

Here is a series of expressions.. These have been tagged with anonymous because these thoughts are not confined to someone specific but are the usual topics that we all know exist and yet forget to pay much heed to. The quarantine period helped me introspect and observe various physical, mental and social aspects that create a huge impact on our personalities.. I have named this line up as “THE BODY WORK” because these are bodies covered with messages so that the the soul can get nude with the expression and thoughts…