I would turn up the dial on empathy. I think it’s a little too low these days.
a mash-up of mindfulness & world building
There may be a kind of megalomania that comes with the act of creating one’s own little world.
Follow along: Authors do it all the time, particularly authors of science fiction or fantasy, whose plots depend on alternate realities or fictional settings populated by abstract rules, non-existent technologies, speculative cultures filled with alternate politics, and all the people or creatures that inhabit that space. That is a kind of world building, even abstractly, is a creative process that involves inventing intensely detailed webs of mindful relationships between any aspect of that universe the inventor of it deems important.
But megalomania? Building that thing, constructing an invented branch of reality in the mind or on paper, by definition, makes one the creator of that place. So, it thus follows that the creator of a universe could be considered its god. And anyone who considers herself godlike is, in a way, experiencing a flavour of megalomania, no?
Arguably, this would be a bad thing. This is not the least of which due to that in modern society megalomania is often seen as a kind of mental illness or personality flaw, and a term that is rarely used in a sense that is not some way negative or pejorative.
But that same effort of world building, while perhaps evoking feelings of exaggerated self-esteem or delusions of power are not necessarily the raw ingredients for purely negative results. It could be supposed that someone who took the time to construct a carefully plotted alternate universe, mapping out geographies or languages or complex economies interconnected by people or creatures who held ideologies and subjective moralities, that this effort could have positive effects. Specifically, it could have the positive effect of –as the saying goes– walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. Or, in this case, imagining a life in someone else’s reality.
If that’s not empathy, then what is?