It’s easy to forget that people are real, just as real as you and when we forget that, we quickly become apathetic to their plight.
Last night, I watched the episode of ABC’s ‘Castle’ in which Alyssa Milano guest stars.
The episode itself was fairly good, Castle is one of my favorite shows, but what really stood out to me was the difference in my viewing experience due to the fact that Alyssa Milano is a prolific tweeter.
I’ve never met Ms. Milano and have only once actually interacted with her through Twitter, but just from reading her tweets, it has become obvious to me that she is a real person, not some computer generated image in a movie.
During the filming of her ‘Castle’ episode, she tweeted a few times about how she was feeling, even posting a picture of the sweater she wore to her first day on set. (I believe the sweater has the words “New people scare me” written on it)
Consequently, as I was watching the show, I felt as if I was watching someone I knew, someone real. Although she played her character well, I felt like I could separate the character from the actress. Maybe for the first time ever I could actually see that this person on screen was more than just a fictional character but a real human being as well.
If anything, this realism actually made the viewing experience better as I could appreciate the talent of the actress more than ever before.
As I was thinking about this today, I realized how difficult we find it to empathize with people in other places who are going through difficult situations. Take the disaster in Haiti for instance. We see the pictures and read and hear the reports of the terrible devastation and suffering but we struggle to think of the people as actually being real and we’ve never been there so we don’t know what it looked like before. It’s too far removed from us.
We probably also struggle because the culture is different. People wear different clothes than us and have different hair styles, they come from a slightly different gene pool so their skin color and facial features are not quite what we used to.
They don’t look like us, they don’t talk like us, their cities don’t look like ours and so it is hard to comprehend that they are real humans who have needs like us and desires like us, who have hopes and aspirations, who are intelligent, friendly, loving and caring. People who like to have fun and laugh and sing and watch sports. People who love good food and drink. People who need a Starbucks coffee to get started in the morning. People with families, with lives, with personalities.
In short, it’s hard to understand that they are people just like us. Someone on twitter described it as being hard to remember that they are people with souls.
We see so many fictional characters on our TV screens that we find it hard to connect that these people are not fictional, they are real, hurting, desperate human beings who need every last bit of help we can give.
There are so many people around the world who need our help and our love, Haiti is taking all of the media coverage at the moment but the billions who are dying of treatable disease, starvation and thirst still need us as much today as they did before the Haitian earthquake.
I want to encourage you today to look past the things you don’t understand and which seem ‘different’ to you and view those in need everywhere as your brothers and sisters, fellow human beings who need our help – who need YOUR help today.
7 Reply to “Castle – remembering that people are real”
I say, respectfully, that it is because we can (stress on the word can) empathize that we are human. It is one of our most wonderful and distinguishing characteristics, and it is the reason we have a Paul Farmer who devotes his life to Haiti or a Mother Teresa who gave her life for India's poor, or Ghandi, or so many others.
I look at the images coming out of Haiti every day, and not just with a passing glance. I look at the faces and especially the eyes. So many carry the story in their eyes. We all have to look. And, you are right, not just at the Haitians but at anyone, anywhere, who has need.
We are human. We need. We are, as that tired phrase says, all children of God. And there but for the grace of God go I.
The Father has spoken through you Peter. Bless you.
I like Castle…A LOT. Check out Firefly.
I loved this and agree. Communication in some form does so much to increase empathy. That's why I appreciate social media. It closes the distance between me and people all over. I can't ignore or avoid tragic news like I could if I only saw it on TV.