Monday, April 4, 2011


Last Friday, Julian Schnabel, a documentary film maker was a guest on the Real Time with Bill Maher Show.  Bill asked him about his latest documentary and he responded that he just completed one that was about Israel and Palestine from the Palestinian point of view.  This is remarkable because Julian Schnabel is a Jew.

Bill responded, "Now there's an idea, look at things from the others point of view."  Bill observation is right on; there is a word for it: empathy.

I learned about empathy in my late 20's and it is one of the best things to every happen to me as far as getting along with others.  If you are empathetic (putting yourself into the shoe's of others and trying to see the world from their points of view), it is assumed you have listening and understanding skills too.  It shows a genuine interest in other people.

Bill Maher and I agree the world will be a much better place if we could all try to empathize with others.  Why would we think we are the only person in the room who is right?  Why would we not try to understand others?  This can be done on a macro and micro level.  Neighbors, friends, families, workers, races, ethnicities, nationalities, and political parties would all get along better. And in the U. S. Congress, things might get done faster.

The vitriol we are witnessing in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Arizona, and other states would diminish and our government could get to the work of the people by actually working together.

My relationships at work, with family, and friends has had a major drop in stress and we are able to get past petty differences and live our lives in fun and peace.  I believe that it can be done on the macro level too.

Let's not draw lines in the sand; instead, let's consider others ideas, positions, and issues in order to try to see why they think the way they do.  It will lead to better insights and we'll get more things done.

Julian Schnabel, a Jew, is on to something by doing a documentary looking at the problems in the Middle East from the Palestinians point of view.  Let's all work to improve our empathy.

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