Apr 17, 2013

Empathy

This is from Steve Garro.  It is not my writing.  I've done a little editing, but not much. -RK



"Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge," says educator Bill Bullard. "It requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge is "empathy", for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires profound, purpose‐larger‐than‐the‐self kind of understanding." 

I got it from my great friend/photog Dawn Kish  and it just stuck for me. My world in my previous life was one where I was guilty of just thinking of myself (largely as a survival instinct - nobody really raised me from 12yrs on - Mom split, Dad was courting my step-monster who never liked me) and I just basically walked through this world as if it was all a big soap opera where I was the star & everybody else were just talking heads/bit actors. I think many do.

There are a lot of things about the old Steve that died on Oct 5th, 2005 that were just as good gone. That's a hard pill to learn to swallow. Now I'm not the flashy, tough, looked-up-to racer guy/endurance "star"/sportsmodel. I'm that cripple guy hugging the side of the street to get good crutch placement just gimping along & trying not to spill his coffee. People who don't know me think I'm just some kind of 'tard or a "worthless cripple" without ever seeing under the exterior. I loath the fact that used to be me sometimes.

Now, I've met guys who have climbed Kilimanjaro on a handcycle, guys who rode around the globe on one, climbed El Cap with arms alone, have several friends with head injuries really struggling but are pulling it off under extreme duress while still being themselves, talked to MS kids, helped people get off the sidewalk for the first time in 20yrs, lots of that. and you know what? Behind the peepers they are still humans along on the same fucked up ride on a tiny dustspeck as me, and everyone else.

I learned that if someone is leading a life different then yours, then that does not mean it can be a life without merit or happiness. I learned that there is my mind; and there is the thing we thing of as "reality", and that sometimes you have to step back from your perceived "reality" and let your mind determine right from wrong or to think in ways that may cause us to squirm a little. Lastly, it carries over to building, and I have said this before, you have to build people THEIR bike, not YOUR bike in their size. That is substituting *opinion* {how you think their bike should be} to *empathy* {how their bike should be} by being empathetic to the nuances of fit, use and intent to make what will be the best for that client..

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