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What Science Tells Us About Good and Evil – www.nationalgeographic.com

I have included a link about an article about good and evil. It talks about empathy and psychopathy but also how ordinary people do evil things and  how empathy isn’t enough, as some people turn away to protect themselves. It relates to both my project about my father and also my project about childlessness. It talks about how adoption can change the course of a child’s life even if they are on the path towards psychopathy. This was a big fear of mine when considering adoption. It also talks about how genocides happen and the rationalisations that happen around it. In these scary times, looking at the past in relation to the present seems more important than ever.  I am very interested in the idea of using empathy as a spur for action. I’m very aware that as proud as I am of my natural empathy, I will cover my eyes to protect myself in certain instances. Confronting horror is a very brave act, that ultimately requires a person to partially shut off their emotions to cope with it. 

For some time now, I’ve been struck by how my Mum ( who has end stage dementia) has been keeping her eyes closed. Even when eating and drinking. My reactions to this have ranged from perplexion to rationalisation, to some understanding.  She’s in a home, in bed, her family arrive with looks of concern, sometimes crying, she might not even recognise us as we are. But our voices are essentially the same as they’ve always been and she can concentrate on them better with her eyes closed. . It might help her to know who we are.   Now I wonder if it’s also to protect herself from what she sees.

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About the Author

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I am an artist working with photography. I like to work by using performance and then photographing the performance. I seem to be increasingly using the moving image alongside the photographs. I spent over 15 years working in mental health, whilst also practising art in a studio in Spitalfields market. I then became involved in regeneration projects and was one of the team who won a lottery grant for Hastings Pier to be rebuilt. I am now concentrating more on my art practice.

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