sat posted: Sat 2018-11-17 11:28:31 tags: movies, healing
Watched "The Revenant" (2015) last night. I nodded off at times, fortunately, because the violence and its aftermaths rendered the whole story dismal, miserable and hopeless. Vengeance is, at best, a "broken" character motivation. There's a genre perhaps best exemplified by "I Spit on Your Grave" (1978, remade 2010) that I would call "revenge porn" if that phrase didn't already mean something else, and "Revenant" belongs to that genre. Wikipedia describes "I Spit on Your Grave" as a "rape-and-revenge exploitation horror film", where by "exploitation film" we understand it is a movie that relies on luridity rather than, say, a clever story or technically skillful direction. "Revenant" at least has better direction and scenery going for it, but the central storyline is not really enough, not for me at least, to redeem and hold together all its painful-to-watch frustrations, indignities and outrages for over 2.5 hours.

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On 10/30 Dawn's newsletter asked us to imagine life without the communications devices, infrastructure and general access we've come to enjoy and rely on in the smartfon age. Closer and better-coordinated connection with family, friends, coworkers; instant access to breaking news, shopping, day-planning and navigation information. Imagine it all simply gone; imagine the radio-silence feeling of being disconnected. Even on vacation we like to post our nature pics and selfies relaxing and enjoying downtime.

The analogy she led into was - imagine lacking empathy. Unable to read, feel, or relate to others' emotions, we ourselves would feel alone, misunderstood, separated, disconnected. Burdened, most likely, with unpredictable friction, maybe even damage, any time our agenda of wants and needs bumps up against other peoples' agendas.

She gave a step-by-step to exercise empathy: Listen for others to identify their feelings (and ask if they don't name their feelings explicitly or relatably at first). Then think about a time you felt the same feeling (that is, relate to what they're feeling). Then think about what you wanted/needed when you felt that feeling. Try to offer what you needed then... to them, now.

Caveats: it's not an easy skill and even very emotionally intelligent people stumble. Also, being empathic does not guarantee the other person's "interface" is "functioning" or that they will respond with equal emotional communication skill. Sometimes one side doesn't "handshake" and they just suck up attention without appreciation or progress toward wholeness. "Sometimes you need to accept there is a 404 error and move on".

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