Drawing empathy

A diagram of empathy in talking together

I am a great believer in the power of the visual to help make sense of and share ideas, even quite abstract ideas such as empathy. My first attempt at drawing the way I understand empathy is the diagram that you can click on. It appears in my new book Metaphor and Reconciliation, about which more later.

The diagram tries to show 4 different timescales of empathy that relate to any specific event, such as a meeting for reconciliation – the level of empathy that each person brings to an event; gestures of empathy that they may make as they talk together; changes to how they understand each other that happen over the course of the event; longer term changes that happen as a result of the event but after it is over.

I placed these from left to right  and descending slightly. The double headed arrows are to show how there may be a back-and-forth interaction between timescales. For example, a particular gesture of empathy such as an outright apology may effect a big change to longer term levels of empathy, or a refusal to apologise may damge them.

One limitation of a 2-d diagram is that it can’t show the dynamics very well. At each of the timescales, there is a process rather than a state. The diagram tries to show it on the left side – with the actual talking shown as a series of positions and movements as slides and arrows.

This diagram was done with the simplest Microsoft drawing tools in Windows. Now I want to improve it, perhaps make it 3-d or dynamic. Any suggestions for software or images welcome!

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Comments
2 Responses to “Drawing empathy”
  1. Marcia says:

    I would like to see the empathy diagram, which seems to be really interesting for me.

  2. Marcia says:

    It seems really interesting the idea of a diagram, although I have no idea how it looks like, so how can I see you empathy diagram? Thanks

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