A Distinct Lack of Empathy: The Drawbridge Story


The Drawbridge story: A continuing excerpt from “Humbling and Humility

It reminded me of my own circumstance, and the apparently conscience-less individual involved romantically with my wife, Bert Burgess. Yes, I did track him down with all the calls and messages my wayward spouse exchanged with him at all hours of the day and night. These days, one can obtain almost any information about another from a mobile phone number.

His statement to me, when asked if he had physical intimacy with my wife, and of his intentions, was that he had indeed done so, and was looking to make it long term. That sounded about right––his first reaction elicited on being caught red handed––this was all that he cared about, for that was his nature. There could be no empathy expected from him, nor any compassion, in conversation with a troubled and wronged husband and father.

Yet, there were indeed serious consequences. I approached the workplace that had allowed such close, uninhibited contact between married individuals––I’d learned that their affair began with hugs during a workplace incident––and asked for a full investigation, which the folks there were compelled by law to undertake.

And Sid was also right in that such a lover may not be in any committed relationship. I determined from additional conversations, with my wife, that this Bert Burgess was previously married, and his wife had left him, and their marriage, because she’d realized her own lesbian nature. He apparently was neck deep in debt at that time as well, having lived a life of relative excess. As a consequence of their divorce, he was forced to sell an expensive home purchased and place his personal belongings in a storage facility. His casual relationship with my wife, and statement to me when caught, made a lot more sense upon discovering these details.

I wondered what exactly was the thought experiment intended with the drawbridge exercise. Compiled in 1978, it perhaps held little relevance three decades, a generation, later. Nevertheless, the State of Wariduna, in its wisdom, appeared to be employing deeply patriarchal and violent examples to convey its messages.

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About Rian Nejar

Rian Nejar is an Indian-American author. He trained and worked as an engineer in India, lived briefly in the Middle East, and arrived in America in the early 90's. After a Master’s degree in electrical engineering in America, he worked as an academic instructor, engineer, entrepreneur, and technical writer over the two decades since. Humbling and Humility (http://goo.gl/FKUnCM) is his first mainstream nonfiction. He lives and writes in the Southwest United States.
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