It was an early morning, and the government agents and non-profit workers filled the south room of the sixth floor, holding laptops and sipping coffees and danishes from the northern side of the building.

I carried my camera and extra lens to the back, and the onstage presenter in the dress made of silkscreened newspaper headlines engaged her audience.

She told them a story about participants of a brain scanning study. When we listen to presentations of data, two areas of our brain light up; but when we are told a story, eleven regions of the brain illuminate.

Or was it the north room? Two weeks into the trip and I continued to confuse the compass labels.  And after two weeks, could I really call it a trip? It was more of a stay — or perhaps an assignment. Like a deployment. The southern rooms were ahead of you from the building entrance, which is why the southern wings always felt like they ought to be ahead, above, in front.


She went on. Apparently, when they studied the brains of the storyteller and the listener, the two brainwave patterns synchronized over the course of the narrative.

She was talking about a rhythmic scaling of empathy across the nodes of humanity.

Or was that just another data point?

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