One of my overriding interests is in remembering the human face of a situation. Oftentimes I’ll be in deep on some issue, whether researching a forest fire or coding a website component, and I’ll be so focused on the “technical” details that I forget to take note of the human implications of my work.
But almost everything we do comes back to people. It’s important to consciously note that reality: our actions and our decisions have real consequences on the lives of real people. By focusing on the humanity of a situation, we can better understand our role in it and then act more responsibly (or choose not to act).
Sometimes it’s difficult to take that step back, though. One habit I’ve acquired is to read writing that centres the humanity of its subjects. By doing this, I reinforce my “humanity attentiveness” muscle, making it easier to pay attention in more crucial situations.
Specifically, I enjoy reading profiles and interviews. For the former, a genre with a removed yet intimate perspective on its subject, I enjoy The New Yorker’s profiles. For the latter, a genre that gives the upper hand to its subject, I enjoy The Great Discontent’s interviews. Both of these have pretty particular bents (and plenty of flaws), but reading them has undoubtedly enriched my life.
Do you have similar sources you turn to for that human touch? What do you do to remember the humanity in your work? Or is that not a consideration—if so, why not? If you have the time to reply, I’d enjoy hearing from you.
That’s all for this week! I hope the week ahead works out as you’d like.
Sent on January 21st, 2018.