“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each others' eyes for an instance?”
Henry David Thoreau posed this question in Walden in 1854. The Cleveland Clinic quoted the question in a profound video entitled Cleveland Clinic Empathy in 2012.
Throughout the short video, we move through the hospital encountering various patients and visitors whose thoughts are revealed to us in brief phrases that appear on the screen beside them.
A man sitting uncomfortably in a waiting room - “waiting 3 hours.” A young girl walking slowly beside her mother - “visiting dad for the last time. ” A woman in an elevator who stares at he feet - “recently divorced. ” A young doctor with a hint of a smile on his lips - “just found out he’s going to be a dad. “
We are granted an x-ray vision that enables us to perceive the woes, worries, or joy that these nameless characters are experiencing and which are generally concealed by the composure that we tend to portray in order to contain and conceal our more private inner state.
The video was produced as a promotion for the Cleveland Clinic, advertising the empathy that the hospital aims to afford its patients. It concludes with a question that is as relevant and applicable years later to all of us no matter if we find ourselves in a hospital or elsewhere:
“If you could stand in someone else’s shoes, hear what they hear, see what they see, feel what they feel, would you treat them differently?”
Watch Cleveland Clinic Empathy here or by clicking on the image above.