All hail empathy! – hidden knowledge

empathy

It has been a long time since I last wrote on this web diary. While the last article was an attempt to honour the brilliant actor that was Robin Williams, this one will be dedicated to the one thing that helped me through my whole life – saved me a couple of times would also be true.

I have spent a big part of my life alone – being unsociable and without friends for many years, distant at the same time from my family. While there were several possible reasons for that (unstable social environment because we moved out to several countries mixed with basic culture and language difference for example) the problem was still there. While I was alone and my ADHD fully roaming – making me the weird guy of the class – all I wanted to do was to make people feel truly happy and laugh. While I used my hyperactivity and lack of control to make people laugh by making myself look stupid, I really spent all my kid and teenage years wondering ” how can I make people happy ” but also ” how the hell can I have a normal conversation with someone, how does any of this work??”. Those years were the strongest of my depression, but they also mark my first steps in the world of thinking and empathy.

empathy

“How can I make you laugh? Maybe I can find a subject you like and laugh about it with you? But I don’t know anything. Anyway, what would you like? I can see you have black hair, so maybe you like dark things? ” Yeah thinking does not mean that you are smart, but eventually this style of thinking can open you many many doors! When you spend so many years looking at people and wondering what they like, want, feel, hate and more than all love, you start putting yourself in their shoes, you start living through them. Today, it has become a habit, a talent of my own that I use all the time, every day.

For me, Empathy’s ultimate goal is reaching symbiosis with everybody, a perfect union reached through human analysis, the understanding of one’s needs and behaviors and the use of the appropriate answer to those characteristics in order to satisfy one’s obvious needs in the forst place but also synchronize with everything that they really and GOD I love complicating my sentences!

In short, my empathy’s goal is to become true friends with everybody, which would be quite understandable coming from someone who felt alone all his life!

Empathy is a formidable tool of manipulation, for me its the kind of thing for which you’d say “it must not fall in the wrong hands”. Whilst i am using it with this purpose of making people happy, I’m also afraid of using it the wrong way and I know I have already made many mistakes with it – but also reached many great successes. Through empathy, you can steal someone’s character, use it against him, at the same time you both have the power to grasp one’s deepest troubles and the possibility to make someone plundge into despair using every weakness you see.. But empathy has a really strong protection.

There is one thing, one human talent that one mostly uses when being empathic: the simple of power of understanding. One needs to understand and absord another’s spirit before being able to use it: When you are being empathic to someone, you go through several levels of understanding. You can try to understand one’s motives, then analyze why did he choose to behave in this way -and this can go really far, even to questions like: how are one’s childhood fears interfering with one’s daily behaviours.

Empathie

The deeper you reach, the more you’ll need to comprehend, absorb and tolerate one’s way of thinking. You need in a way to agree with someone if you really want to put yourself in his shoes. And if you understand and agree with someone, it becomes really hard to go against him and use him. This is empathy’s strongest and main  safeguard to me. But this particularity is also a danger.

Two days ago I was in the subway, a hobo entered it and started shouting “ANIMAAAAAL, ANIMAAAL” at some guy without apparent reason. The whole thing was terrifying, when you see this you are usually afraid that the hobo will snap and start getting violent. But the actual thing that made me shiver the most in this instant was that I was able to see that guy’s fall into despair, the deep loneliness that were hidden behind his way of acting as if the guy he was shouting at was also his friend. We all know that when those guys are talking, shouting alone or at people in public, it is an actual and really desperate cry for help. We may be afraid, protect ourselves or even try to intimidate them, but deep in ourselves we know that it is an S.O.S we have in front of us.

Empathy-3

Being able to see this despair, this fear and loneliness in someone else is a strong experience, you will learn from it, feel this “my life is better than his, I should be happier” but at the same time, feeling one’s pit of hardships can make you fall in it. Empathy will rise your sensibility to the highest level, and someone’s emotions will start echoing in you as soon as you open up. There is no secret, this is the kind of emotions that – even if they are not yours to begin with – will adapt and fit in your own logic, you have to fight them or to close yourself to them. That’s what I think most people do, they close their heart, try to ignore those shouts because it might be too hard for them, if I did that for me it woud be the end of the game because empathy – again – saved me.

Empathy is my greatest teacher, when I spent my life cowering behind fear, I was still able to use the only thing I had control over: my brain. And through a very simple conviction I was able to overcome most of today’s challenges: ” I have made and will make mistakes all my life, things will happen to me because I won’t have thought enough or won’t be mature enough and it’s the same for those around me. And those around me might have experienced hard things and learned from it. If I can catch their experience, if I can understand what happened to them, how did they live through it and how did or did not make it, then I might become a tiny bit stronger“.

And so I spent my life fighting bit by bit, learning how to understand people, how to behave with them by trying to understand how they were acting between each other by careful listening and watching in those moments when I was conscious of myself. My life is so different today, I might still be a bit asocial, and also this crazy and energetic Arthur that some people like and others don’t, but I’m not sure that I would be there today without all those peoples that I learned from.

Next article might be either really gloomy or funny, be prepared and don’t be too harsh over what I wrote 😉

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An experience : Silent Disco

AN EXPERIENCE: SILENT DISCO

Have you heard about those « silent parties »? There is no bass, there is no speakers, there is no incredible noise, yet you are dancing like a madmen and still can hear your neighbour talking to you.

What the hell is this? Simple! Party, with headphones.

In Poznan (Poland), I had the opportunity to try two times the silent party concept. There is no speaker, only headphones.

The concept is simple, you have headphones on your head, big ones, and you can choose several channels of music during the party, change between them as much as you want, looking for the best tune every time! The idea looks weird, and it is true that before you put the gear on your head on the first time you just see a swarm of people making the same noise as a public pool’s one. Weird. But once you put the gear, you start dancing. You cannot stop yourself. Your body moves, you start singing (okay, depends of the music) and you are ON FIRE!!!

Then. You start looking at your friend, they are pointing you channels numbers, now the best one is two, then three, then one! Ah not one, it is the polish channel, we don’t understand it Piotr, stop making jokes! The incredible point is, when you are swinging through those channels you start seeing who is dancing with you. Yeah. INSTANT-BOND-MAKING! (Works with girls but calm yourself guys, take your time to tame the beast). Also you feel really connected to your friends at the same time. The experience is so amazing! Truly, you are enjoying yourself. Most of the time, the headphones are free, you just take them in exchange of your identity card that you take back after. Truly it is amazing.

This concept is not so new, but I really found good value in it, I enjoyed it so much, I hope that if any one of you readers have the occasion, you will try it. This is MADNESS! As a hyperactive with ADHD, I was able to become the king of my own dance floor for quiiiiite a long time. Also I thought that this concept would really fit into marriages as they unite usually three generations: kids, adults, old people (more or less). So three channels of music in one party would fit so much!

Anyway, I hope I won’t be the only one to love it, kiss and love to yall!

Arthur

Coming back on the Orgasmus

The Erasmus Experience

The Erasmus experience, the five month that I just passed abroad in Poland, were the best 5month of my life – and I must insist on that. The only period of this kind I ever had were the six first years of my life of which I have absolutely no memory, a 6-years black hole, that is amazing for a student like me.

I will not lie about having been a party animal in Poland as it is TRUE that my body is still on intense recovery over all the nightclubs and bars I went so many times into. But Erasmus and Exchange Program (EP) are well known for that. It does not mean that you do not work, it just means that you will be constantly overcoming your limits if you do it the way I did: Work… and loaaaaaaaaaaaaaads of parties. Orgasmus is a world that only its members really know – we also called it Narnia.

What made Erasmus in Poznan amazing for me though is utterly different – I mean come on! You can become a party animal anywhere you want if you want to! Through this EP, I have discovered an entirely new facette of socialism of being social and open to others. I met so many people in Poland it became a job to make new encounters every day! If you totally forget the shame and fear of going to other people (ain’t easy if you know me), if you understand that you can bring something to other people and that you can have fun while doing it, then you might discover a huge new world. A social world full of exponentially increasing opportunities.

Living abroad

When I say “bring something to other people”, I would talk about two side of it:

  1. You come from a different country, you have access to a different culture, different lifestyle and really really easy small talk (you would not believe how many time I heard someone asking me to say something in French or if I ever went to Paris… Btw for us French people, we have not a single clue of why our language is so “pretty and romantic”, even our insults look beautiful to strangers!). You are a mystery to a lot of people abroad, this is your opening for new encounters.
  2. Who you are: While some might have thought they are like anybody in their home country, when going abroad and actually just by being a stranger you already are different. And this will actually lead to you understanding a bit more about who you are! You have many qualities believe me, being abroad helped me reveal a few sides of myself I did not understood enough.

When you live abroad, you really do live out of your “home” country. “Really man? Do you take us as idiots?” Ok I don’t – not yet. What I mean is that you are not home, and if you never lived out of your main country, believe me, you are living at “home”.  Through living in another country, you discover a new freedom, a new land of opportunity. There you will not be treated as a local as you were used to be, you will be treated as a stranger (be it in a good or a bad way entirely depends on you). In any case, you are faced to new rules, try to analyse them as quick as possible! (For example in France, you can cross the road without so much of a worry, whilst in Poland, crossing out of the path or not at the right time would lead to a huge fine to pay.

As you adapt, as you make yourself home, well, you can always use the stranger card whenever you want to! I had a French friend in Poznan speaking polish and working here, even after a year we could see from Polish eyes that he was one feet in Poland, and one feet out of it. Locals will always be pleased to see you as you are someone different trying to fit in.

Back to France/ Post-Erasmus Depression Syndrome

Since I went back to France, I have been suffering from a peculiar side of the Post Erasmus Depression.  Of course, I miss everybody, be it crazy Bulgarians, Ukrainians, Italians, Germans, Swedish or the famous Spanish Mafia. I miss going to Pijalnia every time I look at my Homer Simpson trophy. I miss the clubs, SQ, Project lab, the infamous Cuba Libre and its Spanish music… All the events I took part of, Holi Open Air (colour festival), Silent Disco, and the few afternoons in Kontenery…

But that was the contract, 5months and after *puff* everything is gone. For many of the Erasmus people, it is really hard. I have the belief that I’ll be able to meet some of them again as I want to stay abroad so that is how I deal with it.

There is another part though. Now I HATE France. Like really, I mean it. When I came back to Paris, as I rolled down the window of my father’s car, for the first time of my life I smelt Paris’ pollution. That was a first. Then I took the transports, the RER, and met again with all the ever-and-always-grumpy French people. I met the over-insisting homeless people that you only find there and that are in over-increasing numbers. And I came back to the world where everybody understood what I was saying in my home language. I also understood them, I think that was the bigger deal. It was different in Poland of course as I understood nobody, but when I heard again all the people talking alone (go to Paris, you’ll quickly see that everybody speaks alone, everywhere, mumbling over you don’t know what and cursing the gods or everybody else for either their life or not having a sit in the subway) I was so shocked…

Even though meeting again with my friends was amazing, now I only want one thing: Getting out of this country as soon as I can. I want to be living abroad, maybe as a consultant one day, and to travel regularly. I want to see the world and to understand it. Sorry France but apparently you really are not my type!

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Zenpencils

“Cartoon quotes from Inspirational folks”

This is the moto of one website that I have been following for more than a year.

But what is zenpencils? Created by Gavin Aung Than in 2012, an illustrator that wanted to follow his cartoonist dream, this website is now a huge collection of one-page cartoons. However those cartoons hold the particularity of always – except for the artist-troll war episodes – being created around a citation that they will illustrate.

Richard Feynman

Those comics – which are often appearing on 9gag, are always extremely appealing. First because of the drawing quality: Gavin is for me a great cartoonist, able to switch to different styles without losing even a bit of the message nor making it a bad quality cartoon – he also imitates Bill Watterson’s work really well, the creator of Calvin and Hobbes comics.

The other point is Gavin’s ability to choose the best quotes ever. I am checking the websites every day because I know that some quotes will always have the power to motivate me. From movie quotes like Yoda’s “do or do not, there is no try” to Nelson Mandela’s Invictus poem.

I invite you to take a look at this formidable cartoonist work. It is really diverse, “hate-free” – in the sense that everything is just pushing you to live a peaceful and honorable life. No really reading those comics  is a good way to change one’s mind. I hope you will like it me friends!

Best beaches,
El Tutur.

Speak to your computer

How to make your computer obey everything you say – Dragon Naturally Speaking Experience

 

Everybody knows about Siri, this one software that will obey each one of your commands (or at least try), there are other computer programs mimicking this idea. Well, Dragon is one of the oldest – and still the best to me today.

 

While its first version – DragonDictate – was only usable for simple dictating (and by “usable” it meant saying one word at a time with clear insistence), today the software developed by Nuance Communications has become a powerful help to computer management.

 

“Dragon is the world’s best-selling speech recognition software. It turns your talk into text and can make virtually any computer task easier and faster. From capturing ideas and creating documents, to email and searching the web, to using simple voice commands to control many of the popular programs you use every day at home, work – and beyond.”

Nuance’s descriptions of its software is quite true actually. Once you have created your own profile and have passed the five-minute long speech personal recognition test, you will gain full access to a really easy to use software. No need to bother yourself with hours of command and going through tons of researches that will clearly get on your nerves, just simply say what you want. The program is automatically linked to your computer’s main programs and therefore should be able to use them. The speech understanding system comes also really handy for precise Word document use as long as you are not afraid of talking to your computer with direct commands.

 

The last – and most amazing – part of Dragon would be the program’s ability to improve.

 

Firstly, when some word are not recognized by the program – like brand names, but a lot of them are already incorporated in the program – you can simply use the command “add a new word” which you can type or spell and then will have to pronounce. Does not take too long and you will not need it that much. The software will also register any changes or particularities in your voice pattern every time you will quit it in order to make the user’s experience better (that is why you can create several profiles).

And then comes the command part. Dragon Naturally Speaking has several dictation modes, from “dictate only” to command mode whilst its normal mode will be also quite good at doing the distinction between all of them. And after the “add a new word” command was also added “add a new command”. So yeah, you can really use this to enslave your computer and make him work by your voice only (or nearly, switching between conversations for example on Facebook is quite hard).

Though the software is quite pricy for only 3Go, you should not regret the experience provided and will clearly enjoy this new way of working on your computer. – Works on mac and PC