Yei Jin Kang
“A family that eats together stays together. That’s when you talk to each other and talking to each other is an act of empathy.” (Conroy, 2017)
Empathy and eating are both requisite in our lives. Without these, we would never live and we could never be able to live together. Let's assume a world without empathy. What kind of world can you imagine? Maybe you can imagine a society that's rather violent, or you can recall people without any facial expressions. We may able to face a relatively cynical and blunt society. Empathy is basically understanding other people's feelings. It is a fundamental force underlying helping moral and ethical growth. Without empathy, there is no culture. One important thing that makes humans different from other animals is that we form a culture. The reason why we can live with the composition of society is that the factor of empathy generally leads us to one.
The usual meal time is spent sitting down with hands on the table. It's not an ordinary situation to stand and hold a table during a meal. This is a table without legs. The legs of the table are replaced by hands. This is a human-friendly table that helps to form social exchanges. The concept of my project idea has approached this stage by research on the mirror neuron system and the category of mind-body connection theory. Users experience a bond by using holding tables. The structure, which lifts the table together and everyone is required to eat in the same way when handling the table. This approach induces a common empathetic experience to make similar gestures. As a result, it requires unconscious inducement to inevitably imitate each other's behavior in the way tables are used.
It helps facilitate communication in family meal. In modern society, the number of family gatherings is constantly decreasing and the number of people living alone is on the rise. Joining a family or friends for their meal can relieve mental and emotional fatigue. During this time, the concentration of both hands and mind completely focuses on table balance and meals. An essential element that calls for a collaborative effort to balance the holding table is the support to elicit interaction and communication. Eating with tension to prevent each other from disrupting the table means that there is a point to overcome by figuring together.