Decline in Empathy

Hope Kiesling

Think about the absolute best day of your life and the worst. It is likely that in either situation, someone was there to support you. If it was your best day, they were there smiling from cheek to cheek by your side; if it was your worst day, they were there to wipe your tears. As much as society pushes us towards an independent mindset, we can’t help but want to share our best and worst moments with someone we love. We are only human and we can’t help but feel. However, in recent years, those feelings have been internalized by more and more of the population, resulting in a nearly 50% decline in empathetic concern for others, especially amongst young adults. Being more emotionally self-sufficient might seem like a benefit to society, but in reality it is hindering individual happiness by negatively impacting our relationships. 

My clock design highlights this internalization of feelings that has resulted in one in four people reporting they have nobody in their life they feel truly understands them. My final exhibition structure is focused on empathy’s impact on meaningful relationships. One cannot exist without the other. It puts each individual’s empathy to the test, presenting new ways to keep in touch with your emotions and the emotions of others.

Disability barriers are more than just physical obstacles. They are factors in a person’s environment that, through their absence or presence, limit functioning and create disability. There are many different types of barriers. Some of the most common are attitudinal barriers, communication barriers, physical barriers, social barriers, and transportation barriers.

These barriers can arise more frequently and have greater impact on those with disabilities. Although disability barriers don’t affect us all equally, doing our part to remove them and avoid their establishment in the first place, can positively impact our society as a whole, by creating a more accessible environment for everybody.