Checkout The Empathy Exams: Essays by Leslie Jamison.
Beginning with her experience as a medical actor who was paid to act out symptoms for medical students to diagnose, Leslie Jamison’s visceral and revealing essays ask essential questions about our basic understanding of others: How can we feel another’s pain, especially when pain can be assumed, distorted, or performed? By confronting pain—real and imagined, her own and others’—Jamison uncovers a personal and cultural urgency to feel. She draws from her own experiences of illness and bodily injury to engage in an exploration that extends far beyond her life, spanning wide-ranging territory—from poverty tourism to phantom diseases, street violence to reality television, illness to incarceration—in its search for a kind of sight shaped by humility and grace.
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From The Atlantic article “Self-Segregation: Why It’s So Hard for Whites to Understand Ferguson:”
Overall, the social networks of whites are a remarkable 93 percent white. White American social networks are only one percent black, one percent Hispanic, one percent Asian or Pacific Islander, one percent mixed race, and one percent other race. In fact, fully three-quarters (75 percent) of whites have entirely white social networks without any minority presence. This level of social-network racial homogeneity among whites is significantly higher than among black Americans (65 percent) or Hispanic Americans (46 percent).
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Checkout The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age by Astra Taylor. From an interview:
You use the expression “starving in the midst of plenty” to describe today’s digital climate, where commercial media overwhelmingly reigns despite the vast quantity of media accessible to us. What steps can we take to encourage better representation of independent and non-commercial media?
We need to fund it, first and foremost. As individuals this means paying for the stuff we believe in and want to see thrive. But I don’t think enlightened consumption can get us where we need to go on its own. I’m skeptical of the idea that we can shop our way to a better world. The dominance of commercial media is a social and political problem that demands a collective solution, so I make an argument for state funding and propose a reconceptualization of public media. More generally, I’m struck by the fact that we use these civic-minded metaphors, calling Google Books a “library” or Twitter a “town square” — or even calling social media “social” — but real public options are off the table, at least in the United States. We hand the digital commons over to private corporations at our peril.
Checkout “Male Sport” by Sophie Kirchner.
Kirchner photographs her subjects right after a game. The women’s pupils are wide open, the adrenaline is still pumping dramatically in their blood. The images seem to cater to expected clichés. But one should be careful, because the photographer’s intention is exactly the opposite. These are portraits of athletes who love their sport and play it with passion. She is not working with a specious emancipatory agenda and she does not want to simply provoke. Her work is all about showing people who do what they love. Nothing more, but also nothing less. With her expressive portraits she simply points out that these women are not marginal, but that society is marginalizing them.
The NYT has an article opinion piece by Daniel J. Levitin titled “Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain:”
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, there’s a reason: The processing capacity of the conscious mind is limited. This is a result of how the brain’s attentional system evolved. Our brains have two dominant modes of attention: the task-positive network and the task-negative network (they’re called networks because they comprise distributed networks of neurons, like electrical circuits within the brain). The task-positive network is active when you’re actively engaged in a task, focused on it, and undistracted; neuroscientists have taken to calling it the central executive. The task-negative network is active when your mind is wandering; this is the daydreaming mode. These two attentional networks operate like a seesaw in the brain: when one is active the other is not.
(The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload.)