Sunday, June 22, 2014

Intelligence Vs Empathy

The Royal Pavilion, Brighton

I have been told that respect must be earned. I think as a rule, we should respect every human being who has been born into this world and who shares our living space on this earth.I  therefore make it a rule of thumb to  practise : Do Not do unto others what you do not wish others do unto you but it takes more efforts to practise :Do unto others as you would have them do to you though they both pretty much mean the same thing. The rule simply means “Be kind to everyone." 

As we all have our preferences and favourite people, there are people whom we are very happy to do things for but there are others we keep at a distance or  do things out of an obligation or duty. There are times when I feel really annoyed when other people do not seem to have this rule in mind or they do not reciprocate with kindness and understanding. I have to remind myself that I cannot control what others do and how others act, I have to act what I feel is right. I also believe that in essence, we reap what we sow. But things are never that straightforward as not everyone's mind operates the way I think.


In The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,Christopher John Francis Boone, a 15 year old boy  lives with his father who takes care of him as a single parent and they live in Swindon where his father runs a business doing heating maintenance and boiler repairs. Christopher goes to a special needs school as  he has some behavioural difficulties and he knows his own many likes and dislikes. He likes things to be in a nice order, is observant and detests lies. He does not like strangers because he does not understand them. Christopher likes Maths and he thinks he would make a very good astronaut.

The story is narrated in Christopher’s voice and when his neighbour’s dog died, he set about trying to find the killer. The mystery novel is  very cleverly written by Mark Haddon who is an author, illustrator and screen writer.

My memory is like a film. That is why I am really good at remembering things, ike the conversations I have written down in the book, and what people were wearing,and what they smelled like, because my memory has a smelltrack which is like a soundtrack.”

“ And when people ask me to remember something I can simply press Rewind and Fast Forward and Pause like on a video recorder, but more like a DVD  because I don’t have to Rewind through everything in between to get to a memory of something a long time ago. And there are no buttons, either, because it’s happening in my head.”

The pictures in Christopher’s head are all pictures of things which really happened.  He has a serious difficulty with life in that he really does not empathize with other human beings. He cannot read their faces and unable to put himself in their shoes. He cannot understand anything more than the literal meaning of whatever’s said to him.

This is how Christopher describes his school friends.
All the other children at my school are stupid. Except I’m not meant to call them stupid. Even though this is what they are . I ‘m meant to say that they have learning difficulties or that they have special needs. But this is stupid because everyone has learning difficulties because learning to speak French or understanding Relativity is difficult, and also everyone has special needs, like Father who has to carry a little packet of artificial sweetening tablets amoured with him to put in his coffee to stop him getting fat, or Mrs Peters who wears a beige-coloured hearing aid, or Siobhan who has glasses so that that they give you a headache if you borrow them, and none of these people are Special Needs, even if they have special needs.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is an endearing read indeed.

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