Nov 3, 2011

another empathy gadget

first the empathy belly to feel what it's like to be pregnant

now AGNES (see photo), to feel what it's like to be old.

I admit to being a gadget geek. I'm both fascinated by and a bit dubious about empathy gadgets. As I've written before, there is some danger after using them that you will think that now you've actually walked in their shoes and really "know" what it's like - i.e. appropriative empathy. But of course all you have is a tiny taste of it. Does it really take all this expensive gear to have a little imaginative empathy of what it's like to live in an older body?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I tend to be suspicious of such things, too. But when I did a unit of hospital chaplaincy we had a session focused on aging and were guided through an experiential empathy exercise that I found really helpful. We put on glasses to simulate the yellowing of our eyes' lenses and then tried to figure out which of our pills were the yellow ones as opposed to the white ones, and then tried to pick them up with our "arthritic" gloved fingers, that sort of thing.

Of course it's nothing like actually being old, but it was eye-opening for a young adult who's always had 20/20 vision.