The Curiosity Bureau embodies a modern-day phenomenon. With a Bureau in London, Manchester and Bergen there are strong connections across geographical distances. Digital technology affords this connectivity and for our respective locations inspiring differences to be shared; what guarantees this sharing is the partnership and its strong duty of care as professional kith.
In the Royal Society for the Art's 2013 Summer Journal Stephen T Asma persuasively puts forward the case of our biological limits to empathy. This pessimistically sounding thesis has in fact provoked us at The Bureau to take a happy perspective on our modern relationships types within the global community and the nature of our network.
Asma argues that we are biologically predisposed to care for those in our immediate world to such an extent it is not possible for our care and empathy to stretch across the globe. However, it is a common expectation for us to have wide reaching empathy and charity far beyond our immediate. As he points out if his proposition was not the case "The nightly news would render you literally exhausted".
We’re all aware of the global village, the picture of the Costa Rican farmer on our bag of coffee is there to remind us, and it’s an important part of today’s citizenship. A group’s location was, until recently in our history, the defining point of a group’s identity, care being focused within such boundaries, empathy reserved for neighbours. As we now match geography with connectivity our care and empathy is thus distributed.
This opens up questions around how we care in our local communities, how we define ‘the group’ and where we spend our emotional energy? It also suggests that investment in our connectedness and local community sets us up as global citizens and offers us the fortune of belonging globally and staying relevant locally.
At The Curiosity Bureau we believe and practice that with a strong sense of locality matched with an investment of care and empathy for others outside of our location, developing a symbiotic relationship across distance, our culture evolves, technology innovates, economy grows, networks expand, resilience is bettered, and inspiration flourishes. Mindful of our expansive network we aim to make cultural connections to make this potential real. It is important we remind ourselves of our network’s potential.
Where do you invest your care and empathy?