Behind the Human Exterior

Image Photography by Jess Husband

On campus, college students pass by each other without a single thought of each other. Eyes are glued to their IPhones. Ears are stuffed with earphones, diverting hearing. Attentiveness seems to have lost its place in society.

If my teachers ask me to color the world, I would color it gray. Gray, because it seems humans have lost their connection to other beings. Why are we moving pass each other without a thought?

Examining Human Emotions

The video, Empathy: The Human Connection to Patient Care created by Cleveland Clinic showcases the silent, inner stories of humans inside. As the title suggests, medical environments are the only locations shown. The video begins with a quote from Henry David Thoreau, “Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?” There are individuals walking, working a shift or waiting patiently for their medical exam. Messages of the person’s story, as indicated by her exterior feelings (Facial expressions, etc.), are explicitly shown. An example in the video is when a woman looking very worried is seemingly awaiting her appointment. A caption appears and states, “They saw something in her mammography,” suggesting she could have cancer. Another one is when a man is pushing a cart full of medical supplies, working his shift.  He seems tired and frustrated, followed by “Haven’t had a vacation in six months.”  One more is a woman cherishing her birth-defected infant’s hand under special care, followed by “hoping to hold her today.” The video concludes with, “Hear what they hear, see what they see, feel what they feel, would you treat them differently?” Has any individuals turned to observe and think about what the other person’s circumstances are like?

Empathy is not just directed in the doctor field, but to every human. The grey-scale photography foreshadows the absence of human empathy. It seems individuals are disassociate from each other, marking a change in society’s social dynamic. When did listening become obsolete since the rise of digital contexts like networking sites? Why all of a sudden, in the universe’s hair of time, have humans begun to disassociate with others?

And I repeat again, why are we moving pass each other without a thought?

Communities have been created in response to this disturbing trend. There is a hotline service I’ve known and have used that opened its doors in 1970. It was founded due to an individual’s suicidal fate because this individual’s interaction with others was unheeded. Neglected, filled with apathy from others, the individual proceed to stopped living and proceeded to end a precious life. Since the tragedy of the individual who committed suicide, all from the passing of students giving not a care on campus and presumably any public streets, Agora was founded to bring back the concept of empathy. Students, professors, elders, parents and anyone else who need to speak out can dial these services, the National Suicide Hotline included, to have a volunteer to reach out to. The topic can be anything, including but not limited to recalling PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) events and death in the family. Communities formed combat the isolation behind these fences society has created today.

I have used these services, wishing I could have these same connections with any individuals out there freely. I call in to talk about college and having no break in between, how careless individuals have impacted my self-esteem and even simple topics of how anxious I am about my exam done last week. Family problems are ranked quite high in a graph based on what callers have talked about. Other callers, including myself, miss having a special and intimate connection with another human being that public is failing to provide.

As I set foot on campus, I observe the people. Something seems unsettled and unfulfilled behind these brilliant, individuals’ mind and heart. There were scars…battle scars to represent every traumatic and impending traumatic event in our road maps. They’ve already been marked historically: Cancer, child abuse, friendship betrayal. I ask that we all treat each other as we are meeting for the first and last time, with passion and care. Don’t let apathy take that common heart in all away from us.



  1. Reblogged this on What's Up With People and commented:
    As promised, here is Alex Ho’s post from Week 1. Its a great post overall, but I want to draw your particular attention to the way he includes as summary. As I said in class today, a lot of people forgot about the summary element in that first post. This is one of the “English-y” things we are focusing on. Feel free to go back in and “Edit” any existing post OR, for this next post, write a summary in!

  2. I love your post Alex. This is exactly what we talked about the other day, how sad it is that people fail to build these relationships and connections unless their forced to. I am guilty of walking around campus with my headphones in and I also have a friend who committed suicide last year. He was bullied and a lot of people didn’t take the time empathize with him. He was a wonderful person who just needed someone to talk to. We all need someone to talk to! I will try to live my life with more passion and care for the strangers passing by. Thank you!

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