From “House Rules”

If I were going to create a science fiction series on television, it would be about an empath–– a person who can naturally read the auras of people’s emotions, and, with a single touch, can take on their feelings, too. It would be so easy if I could look at someone who was happy, touch him on the arm, and suddenly fill with the same bubbles of joy that he’s feeling, instead of anguishing over whether I’d misinterpreted his actions and reactions.
Anyone who cries at a movie is a closet empath. What’s happening on that screen bleeds through the celluloid, real enough to evoke emotion. Why else would you find yourself laughing at the hijinks of two actors who, offscreen, can’t stand each other? Or crying over the death of an actor who, when the camera is turned off, will dust himself off and grab a burger for dinner?

Jodi Picoult 

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