Sunday, February 4, 2007

Empathy Box

Isn't this what we ended last Tuesdays class talking about? Empathy? Is this what makes us human? According to Philip K. Dick in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, it is. The Voight-Kampff test, seemed to determine an android from a human based on empathetic responses to questions. I was struck by how the empathy theme ran throughout the book and how this seemed to be the one of things people left on earth were trying to cling to. The use of the Empathy Box by the characters and the belief in Mercerism; to stay connected to the human race they needed to feel other's pain, to walk in their shoes,to be able to empathize. But people did this by using an electronic device. That led me to think that people lost their empathy for each other. But that would also explain the "flattening affect"; the lack of human interaction and attention. If we continue to ignore each other; to create media that objectifies human beings as things to be bullied, raped and beat on, will we be using an empathy box to keep us human?

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