Williiam Styron tagged posts

On Compassion and the Imagination

“I can’t imagine how you feel.”

“I can’t imagine what it’s like to…”

—lose a child
—get cancer
—nurse your mother through dementia
—be deserted by your spouse

Actually, I can imagine it. I really can. I may not know how you feel but I can certainly imagine it. Imagining it is the only way I can muster the compassion, empathy and identification with your suffering that allows me to offer you comfort and solace in your time of trial.

Imagination is not only at the root of all art and religion, but it also provides the  foundation upon which all true human relationship is built. Even in strictly utilitarian business transactions devoid of any deep personal interchange, the capacity to imagine and identify with the other’s interests is what allows for fruitful, mutually satisfying negotiations.

So please, let us be done with the kind of well-meaning but essentially trumped-up, mispla...

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