WELCOME TO THE IU SOUTHEAST COMMON EXPERIENCE
An annual program designed to cultivate a common intellectual conversation across campus, to strengthen the sense of community at Southeast and in the region, to encourage open discussion, civil discourse, and critical thinking, and to enhance the reputation of Southeast as a regional center of learning excellence.
The theme of the 2014-15 Common Experience is “The Gift of Empathy: Seeing the World through the Eyes of Another.” Empathy is perhaps the most advanced of all communication skills (skillsyouneed.com). It is a selfless act, it enables us to learn more about people and relationships with people - it is a desirable skill beneficial to ourselves, others, and society. Phrases such as ‘being in your shoes’ and ‘soul mates’ imply empathy - empathy has even been likened to a spiritual or religious state of connection with another person or group of people.
It is important to note the difference between sympathy and empathy. Sympathy and empathy are both acts of feeling, but with sympathy you feel for the person; you are sorry for them or you pity them, but you do not specifically understand what they’re feeling and you remain distant from them. Sympathy is feeling FOR the person whereas empathy is feeling WITH the person. Empathy is a much more active process – you are actually WITH the person. Sometimes we are left with little choice but to feel sympathetic because we really cannot understand the plight or predicament of someone else. It may not always be easy, or even possible, to empathize with others but through shared experiences, good communication skills, and some imagination we can work towards more empathetic feelings. Research has suggested that individuals who can empathize enjoy better relationships with others and greater well-being through life (skillsyouneed.com).
Over the course of 2014-15 we are going to provide a variety of programs and presentations which we hope will enable you to develop your skill of empathy. We encourage you to come join us.
Discussion of the Common Experience book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon (2003)
Jeffersonville Friday Book Club Discussion of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night by Mark Haddon (2003)