On the Boston Review, Paul Bloom has a provocative article titled "Against Empathy." It's not advocating an uncompassionate approach to life, and in fact
It is worth expanding on the difference between empathy and compassion, because some of empathy’s biggest fans are confused on this point and think that the only force that can motivate kindness is empathetic arousal. But this is mistaken. Imagine that the child of a close friend has drowned.
A highly empathetic response would be to feel what your friend feels, to experience, as much as you can, the terrible sorrow and pain. In contrast, compassion involves concern and love for your friend, and the desire and motivation to help, but it need not involve mirroring your friend’s anguish.
I grew up selfish. Everyone in my family was selfish and competitive so it seemed normal. For most of my life I assumed everyone operated this way....
As the founder of Electronic Arts and creator of EA Sports, I am well-known for making video games...
Then I had children and they began going to The Nueva School where they teach SEL (Social and Emotional Learning), including empathy. I knew there was hope for me when my own children began to correct my behavior.
I knew they were right and began to study SEL, where both empathy and compassion are critical.
I discovered that I felt happy when I was feeling and expressing empathy and compassion and being a team-player.
The idea of empathy as an important element in judgment is perhaps most aptly captured in Maimonides’ code of law, the Mishnah Torah.
In a section describing the qualities of judges, Maimonides rules that “One may not appoint to the Sanhedrin [the supreme rabbinic court] one who has no children — in order to ensure that he will be compassionate” (Mishnah Torah, Laws of Sanhedrin 2:3). Though the requirement may not seem politically correct today, Maimonides believed a judge must have a parental nature. Indeed, this very empathic parental instinct seems to be critical for the execution of justice itself.
Author and global ed advisor Homa Tavangar makes a case for why empathy is the most important back-to-school supply we can give our children.
My most important back-to-school supply doesn't fit in a backpack, and it can't be ordered online. It's as essential as a pencil, but unlike a pencil, no technology can replace it. In a sense, like a fresh box of crayons, it can come in many colors. Better than the latest gadget, it's possible to equip every student with it, and even better, when we do, it can transform our world.
A decade after he raised the idea of “educating the heart” of B.C. children, the Dalai Lama will return to Vancouver this fall to help make it happen. The Dalai Lama will visit the Vancouver Convention Centre Oct. 21 for a Heart-Mind Summit, where he will urge British Columbians to balance education of both the heart and mind — with cognitive development on one hand and kindness, mindfulness and compassion on the other.
B.C. has been a leader in heart and mind education, Schonert-Reichl added, with social and emotional learning as part of the K-12 school curriculum.
The Dalai Lama Centre for Peace and Education has also tried to foster the Dalai Lama’s principles at six school districts in Metro Vancouver, as well as measure and provide empirical data that shows empathy is linked to well-being and lifelong success.
Most of us think of toys as child's play, something to keep the kids occupied or a reward for good behaviour. But toys, and play, have benefits that extend beyond the playground, from teaching the value of teamwork to unlocking empathy.
Gonzalo Riva, Chief Operating Officer and Lead Strategist for Twenty One Toys, sits down with Piya Chattopadhyay to discuss the benefits of using toys in the boardroom and the classroom, and why empathy is an important skill to develop in school.
Effective Leaders Practice Empathy Joel H Head Headwinds LLC
If I could choose just one emotion to improve employee engagement, which one should I choose? 2 In search of the Silver Bullet…
Empathy Empathy is the art of stepping imaginatively into the shoes of another person, understanding their feelings and perspectives, and using that understanding to guide your actions. ~ Roman Krznaric
Most people see the benefits of empathy as too obvious to require justification. This is a mistake.
When asked what I am working on, I often say I am writing a book about empathy. People tend to smile and nod, and then I add, “I’m against it.” This usually gets an uncomfortable laugh.
This reaction surprised me at first, but I’ve come to realize that taking a position against empathy is like announcing that you hate kittens—a statement so outlandish it can only be a joke. And so I’ve learned to clarify, to explain that I am not against morality, compassion, kindness, love, being a good neighbor, doing the right thing, and making the world a better place. My claim is actually the opposite: if you want to be good and do good, empathy is a poor guide.
If I put myself completely in the shoes of Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown, or even a black man denied the opportunity to board a taxi cab, I must accept the reality that my world and my America isn't their world and their America....
one reason it's difficult for any person to truly empathize with another human being, let alone with millions of people, is that empathy requires questioning one's reality....
For many citizens, especially certain white conservative voters, such empathy would lead to an emphasis on questioning the status quo, and doing so might also mean facing the prospect of our nation being less than exceptional...
Another reason for such lack of empathy is that empathy inevitable leads to a myriad of unsavory emotions.
With empathy comes responsibility and culpability, self-reflection, sometimes guilt, oftentimes anger, and almost always a certain amount of regret; ...
There are three main kinds of empathy, each involving distinct sets of brain circuits.
1: Cognitive empathy: understanding how other people see the world and how they think about it. This lets us put what we have to say in ways the other person will best comprehend.
2. Emotional empathy: a brain-to-brain linkage that gives us an instant inner sense of how the other person feels – sensing their emotions from moment to moment. This allows "chemistry" in our connections with people.
Those two are very important of course; they're key to getting along with other people, but they're not necessarily sufficient for caring.
Empathy and kindness are core values of mine and of Jeremiah’s Hope for Kindness. In the past few years there has been an explosion of research exploring empathy and kindness.
The results of these studies, demonstrating the importance of kindness and empathy in most every aspect of our lives, even perhaps at the root of our very survival, are for me powerful, exciting and so very hopeful.
presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (APSA)...
Group empathy is the ability to see through the eyes of another, to take their perspective and experience their emotions. The ability to experience empathy is adaptive in families and friendships. But how can we best measure empathy? And how do life experiences condition one’s ability to feel empathy?..
The authors contend that empathy is not just the ability to take another’s perspective, but the motivation to do so. To this end, they asked 14 questions to create a “Group Empathy Index” (GEI).
\NWEI reflects on why empathy is important to our survival and how it is connected to taking responsibility for Earth.
The Northwest Earth Institute staff just participated in our newest discussion course: Seeing Systems: Peace, Justice and Sustainability. For six weeks we delved into the hard issues. Why is their war? How does structural violence relate to human caused environmental degradation? How do our so-called “sustainable” choices still often adversely affect people half the world over?
And, what the heck can we do about it all? As NWEI Board Member Alysa Rose reflects on, a connecting piece is empathy. “As a board member, I first challenged the fit of the topic to NWEI’s mission: Inspiring people to take responsibility for Earth. As I read each of the weekly sessions in Seeing Systems however, it is clear that the issues raised round out our view or definition of “responsiblity” and “Earth.”
And the concept that keeps coming up for me is EMPATHY.”
There has been a long debate in law about the role of empathy in judging, a debate that gained new prominence during and after the nomination of Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Those who are interested in that debate may enjoy a new essay in the Boston Review by Paul Bloom titled "Against Empathy."
There are a host of responses, with a reply by Bloom. He defines empathy as "the process of experiencing the world as others do, or at least as you think they do." A couple of snippets:
I’ve come to realize that taking a position against empathy is like announcing that you hate kittens—a statement so outlandish it can only be a joke.
And so I’ve learned to clarify, to explain that I am not against morality, compassion, kindness, love, being a good neighbor, doing the right thing, and making the world a better place. My claim is actually the opposite: if you want to be good and do good, empathy is a poor guide.
Dr. Scott Churchill joined Dr. Ferrarello and myself to present a two-day seminar on Empathy, Phenomenology and Hermeneutics at Saybrook in August 2014.
Dr. Churchill is Professor of Psychology at the University of Dallas, and Editor-in-Chief of The Humanistic Psychologist. We wanted to share a selection of his articles and a link to an interview with him here:
Design thinking is a dynamic pedagogy for co-learning that cultivates empathy.
It is a multidisciplinary approach to solving human-centered problems and an empowering way of addressing needs and concerns. The modes of design thinking promote inquiry, iteration, and prototyping along with critical thinking, communication, teamwork, and making/tinkering.
Empathy is highlighted as a mode of its own, wherein the design-thinker attempts to infiltrate and truly come to understand the needs of the end-user..
The design thinking process begins with discovery, moves to ideation and rapid prototyping, and ends with testing and execution. As an evolving process of learning, sharing, dialoguing, and problem solving, design thinking inspires adults and students to learn together.
Who could be “Against Empathy”? Paul Bloom, that’s who. In a Boston Reviewessay by that title, the Yale psychology professor argues that “if you want to be good and do good, empathy is a poor guide.” Instead, he recommends compassion.
Some definitions are in order.
To empathize with someone, Bloom writes, “is to put yourself in her shoes, to feel her pain.” He distinguishes this “emotional empathy” from what he calls cognitive empathy—“the more coldblooded process of assessing what other people are thinking, their motivations, their plans, what they believe”—as well as from compassion, “a more distanced love and kindness and concern for others.”
Almost every company competes to some degree on the basis of continual innovation. And to be commercially successful, new product and service ideas must, of course, meet a real—or perceived—customer need. Hence the current managerial mantras:
“Get close to the customer” and “Listen to the voice of the customer.”
The problem is, customers’ ability to guide the development of new products and services is limited by their experience and their ability to imagine and describe possible innovations. How can companies identify needs that customers themselves may not recognize? How can designers develop ways to meet those needs, if even in the course of extensive market research, customers never mention their desires because they assume those desires can’t be fulfilled?