Every so often I have a mini existential crisis about my own smallness in this world.
It starts like this.
I’ll find myself driving down the road or walking through a store day dreaming about my plans and what’s important to me.
I’m thinking about my family. I’m thinking about where I’ve been, where I am, and what I’m working towards. I’m thinking about what it’ll be like to reach my goals. I’m thinking about my hopes, dreams, and wishes.
My whole universe spins before my waking eyes.
And then I’ll turn a corner at the end of an aisle and almost run into someone; or catch a glimpse of another driver and be snatched into present reality with a jolt of realization. (The mental equivalent of licking a nine-volt battery while rubbing a lemon wedge on your front teeth.)
I know how complex and consuming my universe is to me. Is that how each one of these people feels? Does each person I see also carry a limitless personal universe in their mind? Filled with the infinite decision points and potential paths and hopes of a human lifetime?
Dear God, the incalculable contents of every human alive.
At this point, something special happens for just a moment.
I see everyone differently.
Each person deserving of reverential awe.
And then my brain folds in on itself, because it was, after all, only designed to contain one personal universe.
But in that brief moment, I feel as if I understand everyone. As if I could connect on a deeper level with any human I choose.
I call this feeling Global Empathy.
It’s heady and humbling.
My left brain knows I sound crazy.
But my right brain knows I can’t be the only person to have ever felt the brief kiss of Global Empathy.
Well, either that or I’m trying to justify my crazy.
– Zac Smith, VC