People who know me well know that I spend much of my life working on one question, viz. can we know the world, and still love the world? Or to put it in other words, the responsibility of knowledge, the relationship of knowing to doing. And for me, vocation is at the very heart of the answer.

David Brooks takes this up in his column today, exploring the meaning of empathy. Reading him, and the responses to his words, is very instructive. It is apparent that he is asking a hard question, one that goes to the depths of everyone’s heart. Overwhelmingly the responses politicize his question, making it a left/right issue worthy of greater polarization.

The Hebrew vision has shaped me. To have knowledge of means to have responsibility to means to have care for. So if we know, we care; and if we don’t care, we don’t know. The difficulty of making that coherent seems a problem for all of us, however we vote.

Steven Garber is the Senior Fellow for Vocation and the Common Good for the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust. A teacher of many people in many places, he continues to serve as a consultant to colleges and corporations, facilitating both individual and institutional vocation. A husband, a father and a grandfather, a he has long lived in Washington DC, living a life among family, friends, and flowers.

Meet Steve