What is empathy?

“Empathy is the feeling that persons or objects arouse in us as projections of our feelings and thoughts. It is evident when ‘I and you’ becomes ‘I am you,’ or ‘I might be you.’

…Empathy helps us to know who we are and what we feel.

…Conversation helps to develop empathy, for it is here that we learn of shared experiences and feelings; ‘in empathy one discovers oneself in the object of contemplation.'”

…excerpts from Empathy and the Practice of Medicine

The link below tells very clearly what empathy is and more:

When Someone You Know Loses A Child


December 19, 2012 4:05 PM



Imagine a thinking eye

Today is deadline for submission of our class assignment, a reflection of what I learn from our course on Creativity.

Recently I read about physician-scientists fascinated with the porcupine’s quills; discovered  that quills have serrated sharp ends and penetrate predators’ skin easily The discovery led to new design of needles for injections of medicines especially for children. 

To look at problems from a different angle leads to new perspective and ideas.

I learned that attitude is very valuable. Looking at things differently open new windows, see new landscape, new possibilities; that fresh eyes look and see association of  ideas. I learned the value of having an open mind. I realized I have to dig deeper to find answers; what seems to be the simplest may not be the simplest;what seems to be the best answer may not be the best answer. 

I have to learn to think of unexpected answers, look for surprises, glimpse the impossible. I have to imagine more scenes, to connect and combine different webs.

I was surprised by the diversified and creative presentations of other students with their first assignments. 

I was surprised how difficult to change my old habit of looking at things. I was surprised how enjoyable was to work with my team members, to collaborate with different proposals for our project.

I found that reframing the question opens significant thinking paths.

I started very slow on paying attention, to be more observant, to see and not just look. Even now I could not remain focus for a long time.

There is so much for me to learn to be creative in my daily life. Repetition  and practice with hard work to master the habit of creativity. Progression to being creative is discipline and commitment, something I have to develop.

I will need all the 6 tools and start one at a time, starting with paying attention.


The River Why

Last night, Cheri and I enjoyed the movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey at the new movie theater not far from our house. The movie theater has extreme digital, 3-D, and surround Delby Atmos sound technology.

This afternoon at home we saw the movie, The River Why, adapted from the book of the same title. I borrowed the DVD from the library. The setting of the movie was in Oregon showing the rivers: Clackamas, Wilson, and North Umpqua, lush, flowing, and beautiful. The story is about self-discovery, meditation on life and relationship.

“As Titus wrestled with backhanded and roll cast, I forged my way through Plato, Rum, Valmiki, and Shakespeare; as I pondered Hindu, Islamic and Taoist mythology and scripture, he intrepidly pursued and finally subdued his first fall chinook, silver salmon and winter steelhead. Scholar though he was, Titus was no academician: accuracy and intricacy of knowledge were to him not just secondary but twentysecondary to the love one felt for the thing one studied, so whenever I was unable to love a book, even if I wanted to struggle with it, Titus whisked it away and proffered  another. … every book he gave me was full of wisdom but that in order for my reading of them to be truly philosophic I must not just read but love them. It seemed to work: at least I soon found out myself eyeing the covers of unknown books with the same sense of expectancy I fel when scrutinizing the waters of a new stream.”

…excerpts from the book,The River Why, by David James Duncan


(photo: Rogue River in Oregon, August 2011)

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce:At Home With Books.


Being a student

I always love school, being a student, learning something.Taking eCourse online feels like being in school.

The brain becomes fragile when left alone, unattended.  Using the brain improves the brain. Spend energy, earn energy.

I recently finished Modern American and Contemporary Poetry, Learning to Program: The Fundamentals, Human-Computer Interaction, and Writing in the Science (September-November)  this year. I’m on my last week of  a course on Creativity.

In January I’m enrolled for Introduction to Genetics and Evolution and Introduction to Philosophy. These are basic courses which I studied superficially before. 

In February I’ll be studying The Modern and the PostModern. This course entails a lot of reading of literature. I have read a little bit on Modernism but not on Postmodernism although we touched some in The Modern Poetry.

A course on Know Thyself will be in March.

It will be walking under the arch into the forest of learning.



I should be mentally occupied for a while. Of course there is a danger of mental exhaustion.


Books I scatter around the house

I have a lot of books at my bedside table:

Verity, Out Stealing Horses, How Music Works for You, How to Love Wine, InGenius, How Children Succeed, Inner River.

I’m also re-reading Cat’s Cradle, Moby Dick, The River Why, and Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

I like to read several books at the same time.I like to read in bed at night.Image

(photo: one of the bookshelves in my small library. Note the gorillapod on the right corner.)


I started reading, How Music Works by David Byrne, one of the books I borrowed from our county library. He writes in the preface:

“You can’t touch music — it exists only at the moment it is being apprehended — and yet it can profoundly alter how we view the world and our place in it. Music can get us through difficult patches in our lives by changing not only how we feel about ourselves, but also how we feel about everything outside ourselves. It’s powerful stuff.”

It’s true music can profoundly influence in how I feel and how I look at life on any day.

Sabbath Day

“…I had always believed that I left a bit of me wherever I went. I also believed that I took a bit of every place with me. I never felt that more than with this trip. It was as if the act of touching these places, walking these roads,and asking these questions had added another column to my being. And the only possible explanation I could find for that feeling was that a spirit existed in many of the places I visited, and a spirit existed in me and the two had somehow met in the course of my travels. It’s as if the godliness of the land and the godliness of my being had fused.”

excerpts from Walking the Bible by Bruce Feiler