We cannot claim to have empathy while also claiming to not understand why others have different beliefs, opinions, and values than us.
We cannot claim compassion while also claiming ignorance of the other.
If we cannot imagine how and why someone sees the world from a different perspective than we do, we cannot say that we have empathy for them.
If we cannot understand why someone wants different things for themselves, their family, and their future than we do, we cannot say that we have empathy for them.
There is no empathy without understanding.
And, there is no need for empathy without differences.
Empathy without other is a hollow and meaningless sentiment.
Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.
Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Kogen Dojo Self Defense Academy where he teaches Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.*
*Robert Van Valkenburgh’s black and white photography can be seen at My Darkness To Light
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