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Empathy and Compassion
The latest news about empathy and compassion from around the world - CultureOfEmpathy.com
Curated by Edwin Rutsch
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Empathy Live Chat w/ Jason Marsh - Greater Good Science Center

Empathy Live Chat w/ Jason Marsh - Greater Good Science Center | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
A live discussion with Jason Marsh, On the Charter for Compassion facebook page.

'You can post your questions to this event's wall and Jason will post his responses on May 25th LIVE on our Discussion Tab from 7pm-8pm EST.' See the discussion archive as well.

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/author/jason_marsh/
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Accidental Discovery of Empathy

Accidental Discovery of Empathy | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
Neurons That Mirror our Experience: The Accidental Discovery of the Roots of Empathy A group of Italian researchers in the 1990’s...

This is a very significant process that occurs between mother and baby. When a baby cries, his mommy’s mirror neurons fire and inform her of how her baby may be feeling. Mommy is better able to respond accurately to her baby’s needs. This system makes so much sense if we think about it. How convenient for our brains to respond to the experience of our child so we can understand and connect with empathy, understanding, and competence. by Mary Rotzien
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The Natural Disaster of Empathy Overload

The Natural Disaster of Empathy Overload | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
According to Shane, there can be a dark side to having access to all of the suffering throughout the world, however. Empathic capacity overload quickly overwhelms the senses potentially leading to post-tragedy paralysis.

We easily become convinced that this is just another tragedy that makes us sad (like Haiti, Japan, Katrina, etc), so we shut down and decide to do nothing. Tomorrow the news will only get worse. Empathy overload!
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Hard on Yourself? Try Self-Compassion

Hard on Yourself? Try Self-Compassion | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
Researcher Kristin Neff reveals the benefits of going easy on yourself: less anxiety, less conflict, and more peace of mind.

In this incredibly competitive society of ours, how many of us truly feel good about ourselves?...

When I first came across the idea of “self-compassion,” it changed my life almost immediately. It was during my last year in the human development doctoral program at the University of California, Berkeley, as I was putting the finishing touches on my dissertation. I was going through a really difficult time following the breakup of my first marriage, and I was full of shame and self-loathing. I thought signing up for meditation classes at a local Buddhist center might help. As part of my exploration, I read Sharon Salzberg’s classic book Lovingkindness and was never the same again.
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Empathy in shades of grey

Empathy in shades of grey | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
Scientific American has an insightful and beautifully written article asking whether it is possible to make sense of empathy using brain scans.

Neuroscience studies are increasingly focusing on what science calls ‘high level’ concepts and what those outside the field might just call ‘vague’.

Empathy is probably not in the ‘vague’ category although it is true to say that there are several competing definitions and no standard way of measuring it.
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The Power of Presence and How You Relate – Love or Fear? Athena Staik 1of2

The Power of Presence and How You Relate – Love or Fear?  Athena Staik 1of2 | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
Your presence has power. You have a built-in ability to create happiness in your life and relationships, and the quality of your presence is the substance that builds trust.

Actions that stem from being present convey a sense of connection to your self and those you love. Perhaps more importantly, presence sends a message that affirms your commitment in key relationships, energizing good feelings that cause your brains to release Oxytocin, a hormone linked to felt sense of safety, love and connection.
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ASHOKA U.S. Empathy Leader Job Opening

ASHOKA U.S. Empathy Leader Job Opening | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
The world is changing—faster than ever before—from a society run by elites to one in which everyone can be a changemaker. Ashoka has come to believe that empathy is one of the most important issues of our time: the 21st Century skill fundamental to all the rest, from innovation and teamwork to leadership and changemaking. Empathy is the heart of the future of growing up.

That's why we're committing historic resources to building a world in which every child masters empathy – and in which all institutions, from elementary schools to large corporations to entire countries, integrate empathy as a core principle and practice. Ashoka imagines the day that all children will be empathic – but it will take an energetic team to make this powerful vision a reality in our time.
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Frans de Waal talks with Edwin about the Nature of Empathy - video

Frans de Waal talks with Edwin about the Nature of Empathy - video | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
My interview with the noted primateologist and author of Age of Empathy, Frans de Waal. I asked. "How can we build a culture of empathy?"

I think it is important in society, especially at the moment. Now that we have come out of this period where greed was so good. I think it is important to emphasize that there are alternative ways of looking at society. A society where solidarity is important and caring about others is important.

The other things, that I'm not an expert on, is education and culture of course. A cultural and educational change that emphasizes empathy more. I would also warn that empathy is not invariably positive. People think that empathy is automatically a positive characteristic. Empathy can be used for bad purposes also.
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Hitler Suffers ‘Empathy Erosion’ as Killers Become Victims: George Walden

Hitler Suffers ‘Empathy Erosion’ as Killers Become Victims: George Walden | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
Do you sigh for a world without evil? A place where criminals are conscience-stricken and altruistic folk of all nations sit down together to make peace? ..

And what about people whose flamboyant empathy is in truth a form of self-gratification? What of pop stars who are keen on giving foreign aid to countries where the money ends up in the bank accounts of ministers almost as rich as the (occasionally tax-dodging) performers themselves?

No Responsibility? More seriously, what happens when the notion of human responsibility for evil goes out of the window, along with the very concept of evil? In Baron-Cohen’s world, murderers, rapists and villainous statesmen lack empathy for genetic and environmental reasons.

img http://bit.ly/iqqrTc
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Looking for Empathy in a Conflict-Ridden World

Looking for Empathy in a Conflict-Ridden World | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
This, I believe, is empathy (though, as I’ve recently discovered, scientists can’t seem to agree on their own definition). We’ve all "felt" for someone else, whether that person is a stranger getting slapped in public or a close friend suffering through the loss of a pet. The empathy we experience can feel as real as if the pain were our own.

But empathy is failing on a pretty mass scale. It fails between Christians and Muslims. It fails between Israelis and Palestinians. Between Democrats and Republicans. Between Red Sox and Yankees fans. When it comes to conflict groups, empathy largely goes offline.
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Libertarians and Compassion | The Agitator

Libertarians and Compassion | The Agitator | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
Are the two compatible?

I ask this question not because I think that libertarians are lacking a basic human emotion (I don’t believe you are), but because politically, I think it needs explanation if libertarian thought is going to be able to reach a larger audience.

Let me explain….when reading a recent interview that Brian Dougherty from Reason did with Ron Paul, Paul said: The biggest challenge for conservatives and libertarians is to convince people who think being libertarian means you have no compassion, and in politics you better have compassion.
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Nice Guys Finish First - By David Brooks - NY TImes

Nice Guys Finish First - By David Brooks  - NY TImes | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
Developments in the study of evolution suggest that the survival of the fittest depends as much on cooperation as it does on a competition between self-interests.

These are books about sympathy, empathy, cooperation and collaboration, written by scientists, evolutionary psychologists, neuroscientists and others. It seems there’s been a shift among those who study this ground, yielding a more nuanced, and often gentler picture of our nature.
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The Spirit of Sympathy - NYTimes.com

The Spirit of Sympathy - NYTimes.com | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
The use of reconciliation threatens to destroy the humanizing function of the Senate.

Human beings, the philosophers tell us, are social animals. We emerge into the world ready to connect with mom and dad. We go through life jibbering and jabbering with each other, grouping and regrouping. When you get a crowd of people in a room, the problem is not getting them to talk to each other; the problem is getting them to shut up.

To help us in this social world, God, nature and culture have equipped us with a spirit of sympathy. We instinctively feel a tinge of pain when we observe another in pain
DAVID BROOKS
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Jewish Philosopher: Ethics from Empathy

Jewish Philosopher: Ethics from Empathy | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
One question frequently asked of atheists is: Since you don't believe in God, doesn't that mean you can kill people?

This is indeed not an idle question. No one disputes the fact that the greatest mass murders in history have been performed by avowed atheists, from the killing fields of Cambodia to the man made famine in the Ukraine. I would argue that the Holocaust as well was engineered by atheists.

An additional problem is that empathy, like all emotions, may vary widely from one person to the next... He may also decide that for some reason the victim deserves to be hurt, and therefore he need feel no empathy

Bottom line: Humans, like all meat eating mammals, are naturally pretty nasty and without God everything is permitted.
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The Other Shoes Don’t Fit — Utne Reader

The Other Shoes Don’t Fit — Utne Reader | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
Recent research suggests that today's youth has less of a capacity to empathize with their peers than any generation hence, a phenomenon some psychologists are linking to a narcissism epidemic.

In a series of studies and books, social psychologist Jean Twenge, author of Generation Me and The Narcissism Epidemic, has argued strongly that today’s younger people score considerably higher on narcissistic scales than previous generations at the same age. As causative factors, she points to three cultural trends: the rise of electronic communication, which has drastically cut down on face-to-face social interaction; increasingly violent and more sexually saturated mass media, which desensitize kids to others; and an avalanche of consumerism and materialism.
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Edwin Rutsch's comment, May 25, 2011 2:05 PM
thanks for the suggestion Bill.
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I Feel Your Pain: The Empathy of Torture

I Feel Your Pain: The Empathy of Torture | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
The empathy gap refers to how people who haven’t been through a painful experience have a hard time estimating just how painful it is (doctors underestimate patients’ pain; even patients underestimate how much pain they’ll experience during a future procedure).

The researchers wondered if they could change people’s opinions on the morality and acceptability of an enhanced interrogation method simply by exposing them to a mild form of it.
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Boys Who Lack Empathy Don't React To A Fearful Face: Scientific American Podcast

Boys Who Lack Empathy Don't React To A Fearful Face: Scientific American Podcast | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
A study of young boys who score poorly on tests of empathy and regard for others found that they didn't register a reaction to faces exhibiting fear...

Healthy children notice the fearful face faster than any other emotion. But for the others, their reaction time to fearful faces slowed in proportion to their lack of empathy.

img http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear
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Tune into Others & Practice Empathy - Rick Hanson

Tune into Others & Practice Empathy - Rick Hanson | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
Empathy is the bedrock of our relationships with others, says Rick Hanson. Here's how to practice it.

This post’s practice—empathy—knits human beings together, and is at the heart of healthy relationships. You were born with this capability—consider that babies cry when they hear other babies cry, but not at recordings of their own crying—and you can get better at it with practice.

Why? Imagine a world in which people interacted with each other like ants or fish. Imagine a day at work like this, or in your family, aware of the surface behavior of the people around you but oblivious to their inner life, while they remain unmoved by your own. That’s a world without empathy. To me, it sounds like a horror film.

More at Empathy Experts: Rick Hanson
http://cultureofempathy.com/References/Experts/Rick-Hanson.htm
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Your Brain, Mindful Presence and Five Practices to Energize Love In Your Relationship, 2 of 2 | Neuroscience and Relationships

Your Brain, Mindful Presence and Five Practices to Energize Love In Your Relationship, 2 of 2 | Neuroscience and Relationships | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
Emotions of love and compassion give meaning and purpose to life. The brain is wired with circuitry for caring and empathic connection...

You want happiness? The best option is to grow your ability to empathically connect to your self and partner, in present moments of awareness. It’s a way of knowing, understand your self, and life around you that is connected to your compassion, and that allows you to best understand and empathically connect to your partner. Athena Staik
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Licia Freeman's curator insight, November 7, 2013 9:24 AM

Connecting brains?

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West Wing Star Rob Lowe: Conservative politics is based on "logic." Liberalism, is "built on empathy"

West Wing Star Rob Lowe: Conservative politics is based on "logic." Liberalism, is "built on empathy" | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
Lowe: I think that artists build their art around empathy. I think that liberal politics is built on empathy. I think conservative politics, from my opinion is built on-

Hannity: Common sense?

Lowe: Logic. Logic and empathy it's like left brain, right brain stuff. So I just think naturally empathetic artists are drawn to that.
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Compassion Project celebrated in event at Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton - (video 2hr)

Compassion Project celebrated in event at Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton - (video 2hr) | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
An inspirational presentation celebrating compassion through science art and music with Dr. Richardson Davidson, Center for Investigating Healthy Minds (UW-Madison), Appleton North Choir, and singer-songwriter Cory Chisel. Free general admission; tickets are available at The Trout Museum of Art, the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, and the Appleton Education Foundation.
http://www.troutmuseum.org/compassion-live.htm

Tuesday's celebration was presented by the Appleton Education Foundation in partnership with Trout and the Appleton Area School District as part of AEF's 2011 Community Education Program.

Dr. Richard Davidson toured the Trout Museum of Art on Tuesday, drinking in the spectacle of row upon row of 6-by-6-inch panels —more than 10,000 of them.

All had been contributed by Appleton school children for the Compassion Project, and on those tiles were the students' drawings and paintings of what compassion means to them.
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The Power of Empathy and Compassion: “Empathy is a quality of Character that can Change the World” says Obama.

The Power of Empathy and Compassion: “Empathy is a quality of Character that can Change the World” says Obama. | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
Speaking at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast on May 12th 2011 Obama said that empathy is a source of morality in the immigration reform debate. According to Edwin Rutsch, writing to Members in Let's Find 1 Million People Who Want to Build a Culture of Empathy and Compassion, Obama has been talking about empathy and compassion more lately and Edwin thinks it will be central to his 2012 election campaign.

Here is the video posted up as part of Edwin Rutsch’s empathy documentary project. where you will find links to many other videos from Obama and others on the importance of empathy.
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The empathy scale: where does your child fit in?

The empathy scale: where does your child fit in? | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
As you watch your six-year-old daughter having a tantrum because she lost her favourite hair slide, it's easy to wonder: where does that rage come from? And where might it lead? Equally, when you watch her blithely crush snails underfoot or deliberately pinch her little brother, you find yourself thinking: how come she is so apparently unfeeling? Is it something we, as parents, have done?

Rare is the parent with a child so saintly that she has never asked herself these questions. But there is little need to worry. Young children get angry. They jump on snails and squash flies
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Is Your Empathy Killing Your Career?

Is Your Empathy Killing Your Career? | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
The Dark Side of Empathy by Barbara Oakley, the author of Cold-Blooded Kindness: Neuroquirks of a Codependent Killer, or Just Give Me a Shot at Loving You, Dear, and Other Reflections on Helping that Hurts.

Empathy, altruism, and caring for others has become the mantra of modern American culture, but as the Greg Mortenson scandal over his three cups of deceit has revealed—empathy has a dark side that has remained unexplored...

Empathy’s dark side has been too long neglected. To truly help others, it’s time to shine a light into the darkness. Barbara Oakley
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Empathy's Decline University of Michigan - David Brooks

Empathy's Decline University of Michigan - David Brooks | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
Nonetheless there is troubling evidence. Scientific American recently reported on research by Sara H. Konrath of the University of Michigan. She looked at surveys in which students were asked to rate their own empathy. She found that self-reported empathy has declined sharply over the past decade. Almost 75 percent of the students today rate themselves as less empathetic than the average student 30 years ago.
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