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How is your sic-o-meter?

Is your skin uploading too much information these days? Do you see strange reports on Facebook and Twitter?  Phrases quoted, beliefs expressed, coming from the mouths of those who should know better? Are you wondering what happened to our leaders and our stateswomen?  Do you ask why there is no good news anywhere?

Well you have joined the world as you perceive it.  Your body is now a nervous substrate of all the information you read, see and hear.  Your sic-o-meter is working.

If you feel there is nothing you can do to respond effectively to all this noise, you are not alone.  What I think might be happening to your mind-body receptor (and mine) is the convergence of all those tweets, headlines and status updates. They are pureed into a felt-sense of the world which may feel like you are well-informed.

This puree, already containing your tribal associations, your habits and prejudices, will blend with external information. Rationally you may think that a mud slide in the Kootenays doesn't affect you, or that suicide bombers in Pakistan are not a threat to your loved ones.  You may not even stay awake at night worrying about climate change outside of a heat wave in summer.  You may receive the hourly news with equanimity and calm as though all the bad things just happen to others.

But our sic-o-meter could be working a lot better if we are able to see the many ways in which we are connected to this world.  If any news story elicits empathy for those who are personally affected, then our sic-o-meter does more than hear and internalize the 'out-there'. It tells us how we can respond, emotionally, intellectually, and physically to the world we live in, so that we are not powerless, not simply sitting in the audience watching a movie.

This doesn't mean taking sides. Or giving all our savings to charity. Or declaring our political opinions with everyone we meet.  The way in which you or I can respond is as a member of this global human family.  It is compassion not judgement, that gives us the power to respond authentically.  Judgement  without empathy is an alienation technique that gives us the fleeting sense of being innocent bystanders.  We are not, we are stakeholders.

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