Meryl Streep – Academy Awards 2012 Nominee : “I’ve thought a lot about the power of empathy. “

I’ve thought a lot about the power of empathy. In my work, it’s the current that connects me and my actual pulse to a fictional character in a made up story, it allows me to feel, pretend feelings and sorrows and imagined pain.

 

And my nervous system is sympathetically-wired, and it conducts that current to you, sitting in a movie theatre. And to the woman sitting next to you, and to her friend, so that we all feel that it’s happening to us at the same time. It’s a very mysterious and valuable resource of the human species…

 

I thought “what possible value, function could it serve in the Darwinian scheme of, you know, survival of the fittest and the strongest and the most heavily armed?” No, seriously, I thought, “Why? and how did we evolve with this weak, and useless passion in tact within the deep heart’s core?” And the answer as I’ve formulated it to myself is that empathy is the engine that powers all the best in us.