two_grey_rooms: (paddlebrains and werewolf)
someday in the not-too-distant future i will make some sort of substantive contribution to this hurr livejournal. today is not that day. in the meantime, you can:

Comment on this entry, and:

❶ I'll respond by asking you five questions to satisfy my curiosity.
❷ Update your journal with the answers to your questions.
❸ Include this explanation and offer to ask other people questions.


[livejournal.com profile] cascades, who is an utter nutball, gave me these questions:

1. REMEMBER BLUE-SKIDOO FROM BLUE'S CLUES? when blue could transport into pictures and books? well, if you could blue-skidoo into any book, which would you choose?
NO, ACTUALLY, I DON'T, BUT I'LL FORGIVE YOU YOUR TRESPASSES AND ANSWER THE FUCKING QUESTION. and it's a very good question at that, i have to say. lovely variation on the usual "with which character would you most like to chill?" deal. aaaand my aaaanswer iiis...tales from outer suburbia, by shaun tan. yes, it is a picture book; it's essentially magical realism for kids. and shit-wow, i wish that description could do it justice. magical realism restores a sense of wonder, so i feel odd applying it to a children's book, because when you're a kid, magic is commonplace anyway. [livejournal.com profile] archy_the_roach introduced me to this book a couple of months ago, well past my childhood, and still it moved me on a very visceral level; it curled its way deep underneath my skin, successfully hijacking the place i reserve for favorite songs and uncomfortably revealing dreams.

the following tangent doesn't answer this question, but as this is my livejournal, i shall abuse my memes however i see fit. the book that most successfully translated the world i inhabit into a tangible place is palimpsest, by catherynne m. valente. it feels like my own headspace reflected back to me, in all its ugliness and desperation and incandescence. palimpsest is a part of me, located somewhere just beyond tales from outer suburbia, somewhere within my ribcage, possibly.

i also really pathetically wish i could beam myself into [livejournal.com profile] shoebox_project, although that's not a book at all. it feels like home to me, in only the way your very favorite stories do. yes, i know it is a fucking fan fiction, and i lose all lit cred for admitting this. i am okay with that!

2. if you could choose to live in a different century, would you? or would you rather stay in the 21st?
fuck, no. i'm not big on romanticizing the past. humans do a pretty good job of fucking up the planet, but i remain (perhaps stupidly) a firm believer in progress. i want to continue to live just where i am and do whatever i can to bring the world a little closer to the place i believe it can be. we owe the past a lot: everything we have now, in fact. it'd be an insult to want to shave off a few decades. reminds me of holden caulfield on his merry-go-round, caught in a loop and still looking perpetually backwards. to that image, i say: no, thank you. i want to go forward. because do you know what we have now? MOTHERFUCKING JETPACKS. suck on that.

3. have you ever wanted to have any kind of exotic pet? (i always wanted a wolf when i was little.)
i want a tarantula! no, seriously. i do believe that counts as exotic. and i'll be boring and confess that when i was little, i totally wanted a dragon. still do, because i am the muggle incarnation of hagrid. although the former desire is a bit likelier to be fulfilled than the latter.

4. when you retire as an old wrinkly lady, what do you want to do with your free time?
accumulate wrinkles. play bingo; use the panoply of medications i'll undoubtedly be on as markers. laugh at my hideously disfigured tattoos. have many spiders as pets. run amok. naked, preferably. be the nut in the neighborhood all the little kids are terrified of.

5. do you have any sort of ~security blanket~ that you keep around from when you were little? mine is a stuffed animal, a goat named djali. FROM THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, REMEMBER? esmeralda's pet goat. he has an earring! he's pretty bamf.
ONCE AGAIN, NO I DO NOT REMEMBER, BUT THANKS FOR TRYING. security blanket? you mean like a straitjacket? some of my friends would argue that i need one of those these days. i, um. don't have an actual remnant from childhood on hand? because i have no soul. well, okay, i did have this purple stuffed dog (creatively named "peace") that i used as a sort of talisman. i've yet to hand her over to the EVILS OF SUNNYSIDE throw or give her away, so that may say something about the state of my immortal soul (mostly that it's comprised of 100% pure unadulterated LAZINESS).

speaking of the sorry state of my soul, the latest regina spektor song manages to make me weep every. damn. time. and i've listened to it like twenty times at this point. it's slowly becoming tiresome. you should download it and join me in my blubbering! (and i do recognize the irony in my inadvertently prefacing this paean to childhood with an anti-holden caulfield rant. do i have my holden moments? yup. do i want to be holden caulfield? hell, no, bitches.)

lyrics, for posterity. also because they're fucking gorgeous. )
two_grey_rooms: (paddlebrains and werewolf)
someday in the not-too-distant future i will make some sort of substantive contribution to this hurr livejournal. today is not that day. in the meantime, you can:

Comment on this entry, and:

❶ I'll respond by asking you five questions to satisfy my curiosity.
❷ Update your journal with the answers to your questions.
❸ Include this explanation and offer to ask other people questions.


[livejournal.com profile] cascades, who is an utter nutball, gave me these questions:

1. REMEMBER BLUE-SKIDOO FROM BLUE'S CLUES? when blue could transport into pictures and books? well, if you could blue-skidoo into any book, which would you choose?
NO, ACTUALLY, I DON'T, BUT I'LL FORGIVE YOU YOUR TRESPASSES AND ANSWER THE FUCKING QUESTION. and it's a very good question at that, i have to say. lovely variation on the usual "with which character would you most like to chill?" deal. aaaand my aaaanswer iiis...tales from outer suburbia, by shaun tan. yes, it is a picture book; it's essentially magical realism for kids. and shit-wow, i wish that description could do it justice. magical realism restores a sense of wonder, so i feel odd applying it to a children's book, because when you're a kid, magic is commonplace anyway. [livejournal.com profile] archy_the_roach introduced me to this book a couple of months ago, well past my childhood, and still it moved me on a very visceral level; it curled its way deep underneath my skin, successfully hijacking the place i reserve for favorite songs and uncomfortably revealing dreams.

the following tangent doesn't answer this question, but as this is my livejournal, i shall abuse my memes however i see fit. the book that most successfully translated the world i inhabit into a tangible place is palimpsest, by catherynne m. valente. it feels like my own headspace reflected back to me, in all its ugliness and desperation and incandescence. palimpsest is a part of me, located somewhere just beyond tales from outer suburbia, somewhere within my ribcage, possibly.

i also really pathetically wish i could beam myself into [livejournal.com profile] shoebox_project, although that's not a book at all. it feels like home to me, in only the way your very favorite stories do. yes, i know it is a fucking fan fiction, and i lose all lit cred for admitting this. i am okay with that!

2. if you could choose to live in a different century, would you? or would you rather stay in the 21st?
fuck, no. i'm not big on romanticizing the past. humans do a pretty good job of fucking up the planet, but i remain (perhaps stupidly) a firm believer in progress. i want to continue to live just where i am and do whatever i can to bring the world a little closer to the place i believe it can be. we owe the past a lot: everything we have now, in fact. it'd be an insult to want to shave off a few decades. reminds me of holden caulfield on his merry-go-round, caught in a loop and still looking perpetually backwards. to that image, i say: no, thank you. i want to go forward. because do you know what we have now? MOTHERFUCKING JETPACKS. suck on that.

3. have you ever wanted to have any kind of exotic pet? (i always wanted a wolf when i was little.)
i want a tarantula! no, seriously. i do believe that counts as exotic. and i'll be boring and confess that when i was little, i totally wanted a dragon. still do, because i am the muggle incarnation of hagrid. although the former desire is a bit likelier to be fulfilled than the latter.

4. when you retire as an old wrinkly lady, what do you want to do with your free time?
accumulate wrinkles. play bingo; use the panoply of medications i'll undoubtedly be on as markers. laugh at my hideously disfigured tattoos. have many spiders as pets. run amok. naked, preferably. be the nut in the neighborhood all the little kids are terrified of.

5. do you have any sort of ~security blanket~ that you keep around from when you were little? mine is a stuffed animal, a goat named djali. FROM THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, REMEMBER? esmeralda's pet goat. he has an earring! he's pretty bamf.
ONCE AGAIN, NO I DO NOT REMEMBER, BUT THANKS FOR TRYING. security blanket? you mean like a straitjacket? some of my friends would argue that i need one of those these days. i, um. don't have an actual remnant from childhood on hand? because i have no soul. well, okay, i did have this purple stuffed dog (creatively named "peace") that i used as a sort of talisman. i've yet to hand her over to the EVILS OF SUNNYSIDE throw or give her away, so that may say something about the state of my immortal soul (mostly that it's comprised of 100% pure unadulterated LAZINESS).

speaking of the sorry state of my soul, the latest regina spektor song manages to make me weep every. damn. time. and i've listened to it like twenty times at this point. it's slowly becoming tiresome. you should download it and join me in my blubbering! (and i do recognize the irony in my inadvertently prefacing this paean to childhood with an anti-holden caulfield rant. do i have my holden moments? yup. do i want to be holden caulfield? hell, no, bitches.)

lyrics, for posterity. also because they're fucking gorgeous. )
two_grey_rooms: (careful with your projections.)
there's a difference between empathy and compassion. it's easy to be empathetic, even natural, because all you have to do is have lived and retain the ability to recognize yourself in others. empathy flourishes over distance, but compassion is something more immediate and much more difficult to develop. i can empathize infinitely, but actually offering up compassion for another human being takes a lot of work. i can be moved by someone else's tribulations; i can feel terrible and write poetry and wish there were something more substantial i could do; i begin also to empathize with the prayerful. but i don't know if it's possible to extend real compassion to anyone other than the people with whom i am absolutely closest. if i call up the estranged aunt with the dying sister, would she receive it as a hollow gesture? or would it be awkward, a hopelessly tangled situation? if i do call her, it's more about her relationship to me than it is to her sister. does it bring comfort to develop new ties when old ones are severed, or does it merely augment the absence?

i can donate money to relief programs for the poor and the hungry; i can join organizations and try to make the world a better place. i will do these things, but compassion drives none of them. i can't even say empathy plays a part, because although i have lived through some horrible things, i have no way of approximating how these people feel because my experiences are completely separate from theirs. my desire to do what i can to heal the earth has a lot more to do with a desire to be useful, to create a purpose for myself, to touch something with my own hands and hope to be able to say, "i've made this better, because i was here." there's a lot of selfishness wrapped up in charity. i don't feel like i am a better or worse person because of it, necessarily. isn't that all anyone can do? figure out what is best, put your ideas forth into actions, with no real way of knowing what their consequences will be, and hope for the best. i have yet to construct a better plan of action.

empathy burns most strongly for my closest friends and family members, and even sometimes for livejournal friends. (there's something to be said for proffering your intimate thoughts to perfect strangers.) compassion follows naturally, but i've noticed that it still takes a bit of work to actually put forth. compassion is more than an expression of condolences, or a nod of the head. it's forcing yourself to feel with another human being, not for them. it involves offering your most honest thoughts and as much of your time as you are able to. maybe the desire to mend ties and build sanctuaries comes from reading too many novels: i devote so much energy to empathizing with fictional people and their fictional worlds that i need some palpable outlet for all that healing energy. and healing energy is what it is, i think.

but compassion is what makes lives worth living, isn't it? it's love made tangible. it's that little moment where you just go, "ah. right. okay. that's what i'm doing here." it's the reason for, and the zenith of, all the best friendships. i've made a lot of those really impossibly great friendships lately, and i'm sort of bewildered as to how i got here. bewildered, but also grateful. it's a good one to be in, this place.

i don't mean to sound supercilious here at all, and i hope i don't sound too sentimental (impossible not to be at least slightly sentimental, when talking about compassion and love, but i am too much of a hopeless sap to be bothered by this). i don't mean to imply a universal "you" either. yeah, this is one of those posts: by "you," i mean "me." i just...had this thought, about the difference between empathy and compassion, and i wanted to get it down, see if anyone else thinks i'm making any sense or if i am just talking out my ass.
two_grey_rooms: (careful with your projections.)
there's a difference between empathy and compassion. it's easy to be empathetic, even natural, because all you have to do is have lived and retain the ability to recognize yourself in others. empathy flourishes over distance, but compassion is something more immediate and much more difficult to develop. i can empathize infinitely, but actually offering up compassion for another human being takes a lot of work. i can be moved by someone else's tribulations; i can feel terrible and write poetry and wish there were something more substantial i could do; i begin also to empathize with the prayerful. but i don't know if it's possible to extend real compassion to anyone other than the people with whom i am absolutely closest. if i call up the estranged aunt with the dying sister, would she receive it as a hollow gesture? or would it be awkward, a hopelessly tangled situation? if i do call her, it's more about her relationship to me than it is to her sister. does it bring comfort to develop new ties when old ones are severed, or does it merely augment the absence?

i can donate money to relief programs for the poor and the hungry; i can join organizations and try to make the world a better place. i will do these things, but compassion drives none of them. i can't even say empathy plays a part, because although i have lived through some horrible things, i have no way of approximating how these people feel because my experiences are completely separate from theirs. my desire to do what i can to heal the earth has a lot more to do with a desire to be useful, to create a purpose for myself, to touch something with my own hands and hope to be able to say, "i've made this better, because i was here." there's a lot of selfishness wrapped up in charity. i don't feel like i am a better or worse person because of it, necessarily. isn't that all anyone can do? figure out what is best, put your ideas forth into actions, with no real way of knowing what their consequences will be, and hope for the best. i have yet to construct a better plan of action.

empathy burns most strongly for my closest friends and family members, and even sometimes for livejournal friends. (there's something to be said for proffering your intimate thoughts to perfect strangers.) compassion follows naturally, but i've noticed that it still takes a bit of work to actually put forth. compassion is more than an expression of condolences, or a nod of the head. it's forcing yourself to feel with another human being, not for them. it involves offering your most honest thoughts and as much of your time as you are able to. maybe the desire to mend ties and build sanctuaries comes from reading too many novels: i devote so much energy to empathizing with fictional people and their fictional worlds that i need some palpable outlet for all that healing energy. and healing energy is what it is, i think.

but compassion is what makes lives worth living, isn't it? it's love made tangible. it's that little moment where you just go, "ah. right. okay. that's what i'm doing here." it's the reason for, and the zenith of, all the best friendships. i've made a lot of those really impossibly great friendships lately, and i'm sort of bewildered as to how i got here. bewildered, but also grateful. it's a good one to be in, this place.

i don't mean to sound supercilious here at all, and i hope i don't sound too sentimental (impossible not to be at least slightly sentimental, when talking about compassion and love, but i am too much of a hopeless sap to be bothered by this). i don't mean to imply a universal "you" either. yeah, this is one of those posts: by "you," i mean "me." i just...had this thought, about the difference between empathy and compassion, and i wanted to get it down, see if anyone else thinks i'm making any sense or if i am just talking out my ass.

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