Empathy and Knowledge

Original Writing – Editorial
1st Place

By Jasmine Cupp – Schaffner Publications

A friend posted a quote online that has been resonating with me ever since I read it: “Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. 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.” Bill Bullard

This, to me, is very reflective of the back and forth banter that sometimes happens in our community Facebook pages.

I did a story on a presentation that a citizen did at a council committee meeting and the person didn’t like the photo that I took of them at this meeting. They called me on the phone and asked me to please take the photo down, they had thought about it ever since seeing it and wanted it removed. I didn’t take it down because I had to, I took it down because I wanted to.

I thought to myself, if that were me and I felt that way I would want that person to take it down.

We, as a society, are lacking empathy.

Reading comments on social media can, at times, make your skin crawl. The anonymity of the keyboard/screen relationship gives a person some sort of electric form of liquid courage that enables them to say things with no filter, half a thought and no regard for the person on the receiving end of the message.

My message to our reader’s approaching 2016 would be to:

Seek knowledge, facts, truth
Know the whole story before making judgments. Even before that; is this even a matter that you should have an opinion on?

Listen to facts
Considering the source of information could be key in diagnosing misinformation in many instances, for many topics. Is what your friend telling you a fact or is it their opinion?

Have empathy
Everyone is someone’s father, mother, sister, brother, child or friend. Being kind to one another and working together will get us so much further as a people than division and name calling.