Aphorism of the Day: So much of the social alchemy of give and take lies in the difference between feeling what you feel and caring what you feel. Wincing and laughing is something we all too easily do.
I just signed contracts for Chinese translations of The Prince of Nothing – which is pretty exciting given the explosive growth in speculative fiction over there, as well as the prospect of potentially reaching a truly dissenting audience of readers.
I also caught a piece on the tube regarding empathy research and psychopathy, and the discovery that psychopaths do seem to have the capacity to experience empathy, they just don’t seem to care. This complicates the ‘bad guy’ picture considerably. The capacity to empathize is variable, and the capacity to care about empathizing seems to be variable as well. So you could have people who care alot about what little they feel of your pain, or care not at all even though they relive your suffering in detail.
Anyone know anything more about this? The reason I find this so interesting, aside from the obvious reasons, is that I’ve been thinking about pain asymbolia a lot lately, wondering what other kind of ‘asymbolias’ are possible. It demonstrates, quite dramatically, the composite nature of experience, and in a way that is entirely consonant with the Blind Brain Theory. I’ll be posting more on this soon.
And just an open question. As a sports fan I’ve been watching as much of the Olympics as I can, and I find myself wondering how many Olympics we have before things like post-natal gene-doping or pre-natal genetic design take it over. Is it my imagination, or is the gap between ‘developed nations’ and the rest of the world increasing?