Wednesday, May 04, 2011

May We Believe Our Thoughts? Part I - Revisited

Here is a speech given by Xavier Amador, who I mentioned before, on the subject of anosognosia. It is lengthy, but excellent. And for those of us who have been doing this wrong for years, it is absolutely heartbreaking to listen to. I don't know if I can learn this.


Texan99 said...

That was a compelling lecture. That "reflective listening" trick is one I've seen strongly recommended in books about marital counseling, or any intractable strife. It has an amazing power to defuse very hot situations of the "but you're not listening to me" variety. But it's very difficult to implement, I suppose because it feels very much like conceding disputed ground. And yet we're not conceding a thing, only confirming that we've accurately heard what the other person is trying to say, whether or not we could ever agree with it. If the message is an unwelcome one, it's difficult to reflect it back without editorializing.

Was what you were suggesting yesterday that it's not that I block the experience of empathy, but that I might be literally unable to feel it, and that I am experiencing anosognosia on the subject of that lack? Bearing in mind that anosognosia is by definition devilishly difficult to diagnose in oneself, I suspect that may not be the answer. I often can be brought to feel empathy, but rarely without the aid of experiencing something similar myself. It's the spontaneous, imaginative empathy for something quite different from my personal experience that I find especially difficult. Every new painful experience at least has the virtue of developing my imagination.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

No I wasn't suggesting anything. Just thinking like an experimenter, thinking "Here is a person who stands on a different mountain. What does she see? What does that tell us?"