“When we gratuitously import the suffering of others into our own self-conceptions, when we resist calculating a hierarchy of wrongs, when we catastrophize an issue rather than deliberate its solutions, when we allow a surfeit of zeal to scuttle pragmatic action, or when we lose sight of individuality–our own or that of the sufferers–in our rush to administer blanket sympathy, then our empathy may be said to have become ‘hysterical’.”Shaan Sachdev, “Hysterical Empathy”
This quote is from an essay in the Winter 2022 issue of The Point magazine. I’ve read it over a dozen times, and the terms I’m taking from it into my work this week and next, this pandemic and next, are “calculating,” “deliberate,” and “pragmatic.” In the face of struggles generational in character and scale, I want to learn how to do more than mirror the struggle posture, both for myself and those pulling on the rope with me. I want to learn a better grip. I want to improve technique. I want to create incremental progress.
I want to start today.