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Empathizing with the Enemy


“Remember particularly that you cannot be a judge of anyone. For no one can judge a criminal until he recognizes that he is just such a criminal as the man standing before him, and that he perhaps is more than all men to blame for that crime. When he understands that, he will be able to be a judge. Though that sounds absurd, it is true. If I had been righteous myself, perhaps there would have been no criminal standing before me. If you can take upon yourself the crime of the criminal your heart is judging, take it at once, suffer for him yourself, and let him go without reproach. And even if the law itself makes you his judge, act in the same spirit so far as possible, for he will go away and condemn himself more bitterly than you have done. If, after your kiss, he goes away untouched, mocking at you, do not let that be a stumbling-block to you. It shows his time has not yet come, but it will come in due course. And if it come not, no matter; if not he, then another in his place will understand and suffer, and judge and condemn himself, and the truth will be fulfilled. Believe that, believe it without doubt; for in that lies all the hope and faith of the saints.”- Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

In this salon we will consider the importance of understanding those who we have deemed villains or enemies. We will question why they hold the beliefs that they do or perpetrate actions that we think are wrong or unjust. We will analyze the set of circumstances that contributed to their worldview and employ our empathy to expand our perception of their position. We will also consider the possibility of our own culpability in contributing to the social ills that we despise and how, by empathizing with others, we may come closer to our own moral betterment. 

Steph Ransome , a probation officer, will be the speaker. She will discuss criminal justice, prison systems, and public perceptions about prisoners and the issues implicit in their vilification. 


Location upon RSVP

RSVP required to


*Please note: this salon may be filmed or photographed. By partaking in the salon you (and your guests if you bring them) are agreeing to the possibility of being filmed or photographed.

Earlier Event: June 16
Metamorphosis and Rebirth
Later Event: October 6
Perspectives in Psychotherapy