Empathy x Sympathy

Ok, so I've been very absent. It was the whole end-of-the-year-new-year-vacations that left me so behind in updating the blog. But 2014 is here and we are back with tons of juicy love topics to address.

I know I've talked about Dr. Brené Brown's talk on vulnerability before but this clever animation from RSA shorts is so sweet, I think it's a great way to start the year. This animation is created based on part of her talk on Vulnerability at RSA and is worth watching even if you've seen her TED Talk before

She breaks down empathy as:

_taking someone else's perspective
_staying out of judgement
_recognizing emotion in another person and communicating it to her.

Rarely can a response make something better.
What makes something better is connection.
— Brené Brown

Here is her vulnerability talk at RSA ;-)


Rolling in the Higgs

As some of you might have read in the "information" section of the blog, I'm a biologist. So, I'm a geeky science-lover. And I can't help but talk about this passion of mine with the recent Nobel Prize announcements.

Nearly five decades ago, Peter Higgs wrote a theory on how fundamental particles get their masses. Last week he, along with physicist Francois Englert, received the Nobel Prize in physics for their work

The video below comes from the day last July when scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider at Cern near Geneva made the announcement that they believed they had finally found that particle, the Higgs Boson. At minute 0:50 you can see Peter Higgs tearing up at the news.

Higgs later told The Guardian's science correspondent, Ian Sample, about that day:

I was about to burst into tears. I was knocked over by the wave of the reaction of the audience. Up until then I was holding back emotionally, but when the audience reacted I couldn’t hold back any more. That’s the only way I can explain it.
— Peter Higgs

Quoting Ian Sample, on twitter:

Point being that Higgs was moved to tears not cos CERN had found his particle, but cos of what it meant to those in the room around him.

And who can not love that?
— Ian Sample - science correspondent

If you want to understand more about the Higgs Boson and why it's so important, you can which this and this video, and maybe get a better idea (don't worry if you don't really get it - it's crazy complex stuff).  

In the meantime, I leave you with the "Rolling in the Higgs, (Adele parody), from the ever geeky A Capella Science. :-) 

Doctor Love

Leo Buscaglia was teaching in the Department of Special Education at the University of Southern California in the late 1960s when one of his most talented students committed suicide. Her death had a great impact on him, since the girl's frequent responses in class rested him assure that at least one person was paying attention to what was been said.

This incident made him reflect on the educational system and how "it is always stuffing facts into people and forgetting that they are human beings." One if the most crucial developments for Buscaglia was Leonard Silberman's book, "Crisis in the Classroom". In it, the sociologist and psychologist concludes that the American educational system is pretty good at getting people to read, write, learn math and spell. But it is failing miserably in teaching individuals how to be human beings. 

Only the weak are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong.

Buscaglia formed a non-credit class called Love 1A in which there we no grades, that he taught free of salary and tuition just so students could have a forum to consider the truly essential things in life. But Buscaglia said he never taught the class, only facilitated it, adding that he learned as much as anyone. The class would share their knowledge on the topic, based on the thesis that love is learned. Psychologists, sociologists, and anthropologists have stated for years that love is learned. It isn’t something that just happens spontaneously. Buscaglia defended that most of us do believe it simply happens, and that’s why we have so many hangups when it comes to human relationships.

Buscaglia reflected "if the Educational Policy’s Commission meets to decide the goals of American education, the first goal is always self-realization or self-actualization. But I have yet to find a class from elementary school right on up through graduate school on, for instance, "Who am I?, 1A;" or, "What Am I Here For?, 1A;" or "What Is My Responsibility to Man, 1A;" or, if you will, 'Love, 1A.'"

It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play — without seeing the vital connection between them.
— Leo Buscaglia

His class on love was so popular and his talks so warm and compelling, that soon Buscaglia was a popular lecture speaker and guest on television talk shows. He wrote many books, such as "Love", "Living, loving and learning" and "Loving each other", and even managed to have five titles of his on the New York Time Best Seller List simultaneously.

But if love is learned, Leo used to point out that we can always unlearn and relearn how to love, and that there is tremendous hope of for us all.