Empathy (William T. Vollmann)
This word is my inspiration, although I am insufficiently wise, strong and generous to practice it all the time. When observing the peculiarities, incomprehensibilities, defects, even the cruelties of others, I strive to remember my own. Empathy is the first necessity of character description. It does not constitute complaisance, forgiveness, or anything other than understanding undistorted by, although it may be informed by, moral judgment. If I am honest and diligent in my craft, I must be able to imagine that I could have been any of the people whom I write about. If I then continue as I began, their virtues and crimes will come to speak for themselves. But whether or not moral-political qualities are involved, empathy remains the same. Who would I be if I were this woman? Why would I do what that unknown soldier appears to have done? How can I deploy the sensitivities of my consciousness to imagine the feelings of someone or something unlike me? How can I bring my self’s sameness to bear differently upon each and every case?
Pour citer cette ressource :
William T. Vollmann, "Empathy (William T. Vollmann)", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), avril 2014. Consulté le 07/12/2023. URL: https://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/litterature/entretiens-et-textes-inedits/empathy-william-t-vollman-