Empathy as a Lifestyle
I have been home for a day, but the memories of Niswarth still live vividly in my mind and heart. Right now it seems nothing more than a huge cluster of sensory inputs and emotions: all those sceneries, sounds, smells, and joyous moments that we spent together. I feel incapable of separating anything that I could take home from those feelings other than the feelings themselves.
I have always been a person of stark principles and hard decisions. I think that reason should be counted highest, disregarding the emotions and temporary circumstances weighing in on the final decision. After all, we are all aspiring for impartial judgments and universal truths, and how could we grasp any of those with the help of feelings. Thus Plato’s Chariot Allegory was born describing the human soul. According to Plato, the two horses in a chariot together represent the unpredictable emotions and indignations of human nature, while the charioteer, representing the mind, controls their inconsistencies to lead the chariot to enlightenment of the mind. The bottom line is that the mind should be in the driving seat when making decisions. Since I have first heard about the allegory a couple of years ago, I have always concentrated my thoughts on the charioteer and his job, but rarely considered how important the two horses are. Without horses the charioteer could not operate at all because there would be no one pulling the chariot forward. The mind needs the emotions just as much as the emotions need the mind. Thus neither of them can be superior to the other. As a result, we are obliged to gather good emotions to supply the mind with raw material to work with.
Now let’s get back to our trip and all the emotions that I have experienced. I had to realize that one of the most important things I will be carrying home is my practice of empathy, of constantly trying to understand and share other people’s feelings in order to supply my mind with enough information to make correct judgments. We have done it for 3 weeks straight so it cannot be that hard. I will just have to pause from time to time, listen, and avoid being judgmental of others. I think practicing empathy is not only a habit but a lifestyle in itself, and it is definitely something I will try to carry back with me. As time will pass it will be harder and harder to remember the vibrant memories that live inside of me, but I hope that our experiences have left a very deep scratch in my soul that I will not forget for a long time to come.