It’s Friday night and I’m off to a not-so-nearby couch for whatever P can rustle up on the VCR (yes, sadly her TV is not DVD-friendly). A quick search of my parents’ upstairs sitting room shows up some old cassettes – a few episodes of Rumpole, Tubby Custard Footprints and The Madness of King George. Being a conscientious empathy blogger, I feel the need to offer some related movie ideas. What would you suggest?
The first one that springs to mind is a film which my therapist told me go and see for homework. (Well it wasn’t exactly homework but she did recommend it.) As it is in Heaven is one of those movies that people rave about, and the reference to empathy is that the main character (a famous musician who returns to his childhood village) needs to empathise with himself and revisit his childhood (at least in his memories) in order to heal himself emotionally.
Movie No. 2 provides an excellent example of non-empathy in the figure of Jack Nicholson’s character in As Good as it Gets. It’s also a great film to watch if you like Helen Hunt, are interested in OCD (obessive-compulsive disorder) or just like cute dogs.
I’ll expand on this theme next Friday with some ideas about “chick-flicks” and other movies. I’m also trying to decide what I think around empathy and sex differences (women tend to have high empathy, men low empathy). For a start here is a quote from Helena Cronin from the Darwin Centre at the LSE:
Because, if you reproduce sexually, you must divide your reproductive efforts between competing for mates and caring for offspring.
Males specialise more in competing, females more in caring. So in humans, as in all other sexual species, males are shaped by all-out competing, females by committed caring – from brains to bodies to behaviour. So the question to ask about a species is never: are there evolved sex differences? The question is always: what exactly do the differences look like in this species?