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Radical Compassion
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Curated by Jim Manske
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Doctors Can Learn Empathy Through a Computer-Based Tutorial

Cancer doctors want to offer a sympathetic ear, but sometimes miss the cues from patients. To help physicians better address their patients' fears and worries, a Duke University researcher has developed a new interactive training tool.

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Roshi Joan Halifax: This Is What Compassion Looks Like: A Buddhist View of Occupy Wall Street

Roshi Joan Halifax: This Is What Compassion Looks Like: A Buddhist View of Occupy Wall Street | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
It started 28 days ago, with a ragtag group of people who called themselves "Occupy Wall Street" planting themselves at Liberty Square Plaza (aka Zuccotti Park) in New York City, under the shadows of skyscrapers.

 

They gathered together to call attention to the disproportionate influence that the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans have over our political and economic system. Using the phrase "We are the 99 percent," they drew a circle of inclusion around the myriad forms of structural violence and suffering that so many of us are experiencing these days.

 

The Buddha would probably agree with their analysis. Numerous Buddhist texts point out that poverty is not any individual's fate or karma, but rather exists in a web of causes and conditions. The Buddha also noted that the way to build a peaceful society is to ensure equitable distribution of resources.

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KarmaTube: A Teacher in Tokyo

KarmaTube: A Teacher in Tokyo | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Your class goal is to understand how to be happy and care for other people. It sounds like the sort of class a stressed or overworked adult would find, long after they graduated school.
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Compassionate Leadership in Action: Three Puffs of Gold -- IndieGoGo

Compassionate Leadership in Action: Three Puffs of Gold -- IndieGoGo | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
A survivor of sexual assault. Her silence has a voice of its own.

 

CL 10 graduate Meena Serendib is working on a social change project utilizing film to explore surviving date rape.  Please check out the request video and consider supporting her work.

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How Women Can End War

How Women Can End War | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Nobel winner Leymah Gbowee helped inspire “Women, War, and Peace,” now airing on PBS. By Jesse Ellison.

 

Four years ago, when producers Abigail Disney, Pamela Hogan, and Gini Reticker hatched the idea for Women, War, and Peace, the five-part documentary series currently airing on PBS, they couldn’t possibly have predicted quite how perfect their timing would be. Just three days before the first episode premiered, one of their real-life heroines, Leymah Gbowee, was among three women to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her work shepherding peace into a war-ravaged region of sub-Saharan Africa.

 

As Disney was putting the film together, she was stunned by the dearth of footage documenting the women’s extraordinary efforts. (There was, of course, no shortage of film showing combat and warlords.) Hogan, meanwhile, was simultaneously struck by the realization that in the seven seasons that she’d been producing PBS’s Wide Angle, an award-winning show focused on international news, virtually every story that aired that had to do with war had focused on men almost exclusively. The resulting collaboration proved truly prescient.

 

Not only did Gbowee just win the Nobel Prize, but the series also comes on the heels of a slew of watershed moments for women. Last month, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff became the first woman to open the United Nations General Assembly. And just a week earlier, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton chaired the first-ever Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation High-Level Policy Dialogue on Women and the Economy. Her main message? That female empowerment and inclusion—both politically and economically—lead to stronger economies, less warfare, and greater political stability.

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Mind and Life XXIII - Session 2 - Ecology, Ethics and Interdependence

Session 2 of "Ecology, Ethics and Interdependence", the Mind and Life XXIII conference with His Holiness the Dalai Lama...

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Our View: Educate parents about value of nonviolent discipline | SouthCoastToday.com

Assault is legally defined as an "act that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent, harmful or offensive contact. It consists of a threat of harm accompanied by an apparent, present ability to carry out the threat.

 

According to the "Report on Physical Punishment in the United States: What Research Tells Us About Its Effects on Children," done by Phoenix Children's Hospital in 2008, about 29 percent of Americans are opposed to parents using physical punishment; 71 percent approve.

 

It's a perplexing statistic. Shirley Pearson of Mattapoisett is the vice president of Family Nonviolence Inc., of Fairhaven. She's a retired school psychologist who points out that corporal punishment is allowed in the schools in 26 of the United States. It's allowed in homes in all 50 states.

 

It defies logic: Why is a child who strikes another child punished by blows from an adult?

 

...

 

We are persuaded by the arguments of Family Nonviolence Inc. that say the preferred course is to teach children to solve problems without violence, teach high school students that parenting can work without corporal punishment and teach parents that — regardless of how they were raised — they can discipline their children with methods other than spanking.

 

We are convinced that children raised this way will be more likely to be peacemakers in a world that assaults and batters us all far too much.

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Positive Psychology News Daily » IPPA Closing Keynote: Now Is the Time to Study Compassion

Positive Psychology News Daily » IPPA Closing Keynote: Now Is the Time to Study Compassion | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

A Propitious Time in the History of Science

 

A neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Richard Davidson made a commitment to the Dalai Lama in 1992 to help get meditation and compassion onto the scientific map by studying the way they affect the brain. At that time, a word like compassion would not appear in the index of a respectable textbook. Now, there are results that make it a serious subject of inquiry. He said we live at a very propitious time in the history of science for the following reasons:

 

1. Neuroplasticity, the concept that the brain is an organ built to change in response to experience, is now widely accepted.

2. Epigenetics is causing a revolution in nuclear biology. Gene regulation — when genes are or are not expressed — can be affected by the environment, including training. There are extraordinary new methods to look at epigenetic changes. (Wikipedia on Epigenetics: the study of heritable changes in gene expression caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence).

3. Neurally inspired behavioral interventions are proving to be the best ways to change the brain in specific and localized ways. Compared to them, drugs are blunt instruments.

4. Scientists are putting the brain back into biomedicine, studying the pathway back to the mind. We can study the way psycho-social factors affect the brain, and thus the mind.

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The Book Bench: The Occupy Wall Street Library

The Book Bench: The Occupy Wall Street Library | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

The morning of day twelve of the Occupy Wall Street protest, a few people are waving signs and shouting slogans. Mostly, though, everyone is just hanging out. They take naps, play board games, and pick up books from the haphazardly organized library that occupies a bench on the side of Zuccotti Park...

 

On my visit to the library this morning, I was supplied with a full history of the institution by its appointed caretaker, Betsy Fagin.

 

Betsy said that she had seen people passing around “Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life,” by Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of The Center for Nonviolent Communication...

 

 

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2011/09/the-occupy-wall-street-library.html#ixzz1a2AMj8Y1

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Danger! Article Up Ahead! | Fast Company

Danger! Article Up Ahead! | Fast Company | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

In Martin Lindstrom's  new book, Brandwashed, he devotes a standalone chapter to some of the main drivers that ignite our desire to buy, from sex, to nostalgia, to yes, our very human desire for freshness, and how marketers ruthlessly take advantage of our very human susceptibilities. He may have explored each one of these drivers alone, yet in real life, they blend and blur into one another. And what do they all have in common? F-E-A-R.

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Buddhafield 2011 - Shantigarbha

'Empathy: what, why and how' - Shantigarbha - "Empathy is a compassionate understanding of another's experience. It's the basis of ethics and compassion ...

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Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why should you believe in world peace?

Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why should you believe in world peace? | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

"Believe it or not," the Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker proclaims in his new book, The Better Angels of Our Nature, "today we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species’ existence."

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John Lash:The World as You See it, in 500 Years

John Lash:The World as You See it, in 500 Years | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

Imagine the world you would like to see in a year. Now imagine the world in five years, then 10, 20, 50, 100, and finally 500. Take some time with each increment.

 

This past year I have spent a lot of time trying to create the world I want to live in, and I have met many people with the same desire, though they do not always put it in the same words. I have interacted with advocates of restorative circles, nonviolent communication (NVC), alternatives to violence, and many others interested in peace making.

 

I first heard the phrase “the world I want to live in” from Jim Manske, one of my NVC teachers. He led a group in this exercise as part of Compassionate Leadership, a series of trainings and retreats that uses NVC and other strategies for helping people become “leaderful” in their lives and communities.

One year and five were straightforward for me. I have specific goals that involve school, work and my personal life. It was even easy to go a little further, because 10 or 20 years fall within my expected lifetime. Interestingly, I found these frames limiting as well, because I seemed to stay focused on my personal life.

 

As I moved further and further into the future my dreams became bigger and less focused on myself. I reached a time when I would be gone. I saw a world with plenty to eat for everyone, with peace abounding, and other visionary goals.

 

By far my strongest vision was of a world without prisons. I had no idea how it would be possible, but I imagined it anyway. Why not? Five hundred years from now, I and everyone I know will long be dust. It appealed to me to imagine that prisons and all the suffering that takes place in them would be dust as well.

 

Then Jim pulled a dirty trick on us. He asked us what we could do now to make these things reality. What could I do to achieve my own goals while simultaneously contributing to the world of 100 and even 500 years from now? It was difficult to imagine my actions now having an effect so far in the future. It seemed absurd, but in fact that is all the future is made of. Our actions now determine the world that will exist then.

 

What could I do to create a world where prisons no longer exist, and is it lunacy to even think that such a thing is possible? I do not think so. I can look at the present world and see efforts to make my vision true. One area where it is happening is in juvenile justice. Consider the youth courts of New Zealand.

In 1989 New Zealand passed The Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act. Its express purpose was, “’to promote the wellbeing of children, young persons, and their families and family groups.’ The Act thus seeks to empower families and communities, rather than professionals, in deciding the best measures to respond to offending behavior in children and young people.” This is a quote from Restorative Justice Online, a project of Prison Fellowship International and its Centre for Justice and Reconciliation.

 

The site also has a recent op-ed from a judge in New Zealand that discusses the lessons learned from this effort and how it might look if applied to the adult system. The judge, Fred McElrea, writes that by making family group conferencing (the restorative system used in lieu of courts) the legal default position of the state, most cases were resolved without any court appearance. He also points out the importance of victim participation and continuing monitoring of the resolution agreed upon in order to maintain the credibility of the system. New Zealand is just one of a growing number of countries that are adapting to restorative justice approaches including Australia, Canada and Brazil.

 

Looking at this picture gives me hope that we in the United States can progress as well, to a system that integrates all members of society into the solutions needed to address harm. Just as in other countries, these efforts are beginning to take root here, and it is my dream that one day they will spread to the entire criminal justice system.

 

I realize that I may not see this dream realized, but I know that I can begin to do my part now. How about you?

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» How Do “Flourishers” Flourish? - Adventures in Positive Psychology

» How Do “Flourishers” Flourish? - Adventures in Positive Psychology | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
A flourishing person is someone who experiences positive emotions, excels in daily life, and is a contributing and productive member of society. In other words, they consistently feel good and do good.

 

The article shares six pleasant activities that can boost positive emotions. The “flourishers” experienced higher levels of positive emotions during these activities:

 

Helping

Interacting With Others

Playing and Amusement

Learning and Curiousity

Spiritual Activity

Exercising

 

As you go through your day, work to observe and be aware of your emotional reactions to different situations and experiences. Determine what activities, people, and places elicit the greatest positivity for you, and incorporate more of this into your life.

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raymondo's comment, December 2, 2011 10:24 PM
Hi Kate, positivity plus Happiness & Wellbeing is an Excellent mix.

With Warmth, Raymondo
Senzeni Katywa's curator insight, May 31, 2014 7:15 AM

Our well-being is is dependant on the way we live our lives. People who live stable lives with their families and have stable jobs are generally known to live more happier lives. 

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World Becoming Less Violent: Seth Borenstein, Huffington Post

World Becoming Less Violent: Seth Borenstein, Huffington Post | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
WASHINGTON -- It seems as if violence is everywhere, but it's really on the run. Yes, thousands of people have died in bloody unrest from Africa to Pakistan, while terrorists plot bombings and kidnappings.
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Wayland Myers PhD - Loving Detachment

Wayland Myers PhD - Loving Detachment | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

Many years ago, I heard a drug rehab counselor say, "Detachment is a means whereby we allow others the opportunity to learn how to care for themselves better.” I felt confused and disturbed. I was a parent. My teenage child’s life and our family were being ravaged by her struggle with drug and alcohol use. Was I being told I shouldn’t try to stop her from using drugs and alcohol? That I shouldn’t try to protect her from herself or try to control her recovery? I had heard about this “loving detachment” before and it sounded like a self-protective form of abandonment. But, this counselor made it sound like a gift. How could that be?

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John Lash: The Peaceful Power of Restorative Circles

John Lash:  The Peaceful Power of Restorative Circles | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

In the early 1990s a young Englishman walked up the steep mountainside that surrounds Rio de Janeiro and into a favela, a slum unlike anything seen in the United States. It was a place ruled by drug gangs and the daily scene of murders and gun fights between the inhabitants and the police. He walked in and began talking to some kids about what was happening in their lives. Nearly 20 years later, the justice and educational systems of Brazil have been altered, and the work he started there has spread around the world...

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Miki Kashtan: The Fearless Heart: An Alternative to Demands: Notes from OccupyOakland, October 18th

Miki Kashtan:  The Fearless Heart: An Alternative to Demands: Notes from OccupyOakland, October 18th | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

The OccupyOakland I visited on October 15th was not a protest. You could say that I knew it, because I have read about it before I was there. I still couldn’t understand it fully until I saw what it meant. I suspect the same is true elsewhere, though I will not presume to know.

 

A protest, in some fundamental way, engages with the existing power structures. What I saw, instead, was a parallel existence. This was not a march attempting to make something happen through demands and goals. What I saw was a gathering of people without any urgency, setting up camp, providing free services, engaged in the activities of making life happen, engaged in educating each other, curious to learn, and intent on inclusion. In an earlier post I was expressing some concern about the absence of a vision. What I saw in the park changed my perspective. I was fully humbled. There is absolutely no absence of vision. In fact, what was so compelling for me in being there was seeing a vision being lived out. They are not making demands. Instead, in their own small way, and however imperfectly, they are creating the world in which they want to live. There is free food being served 24/7, there are supplies of all kinds, energy created by people pedaling a bike, and everyone appears to be part of an incessant conversation.

 

I see an astonishing potential for this form of action that I hadn’t considered previously. It makes for a movement that has no clear end point. There is nothing someone else can do in any immediate way that will give the people gathered at the park in Oakland what they are already creating for themselves. I can’t imagine what would happen, or a set of actions on the part of anyone, that would lead people to say “Now we are done and we can go home to our daily living.” They didn’t seem particularly interested in that form of daily living that has become the norm in this country. It is, in fact, that very form of daily living that this movement seems to me to be challenging.

 

Is their core method a conscious choice on anyone’s part? Whether or not it is, the result is confusion for many. I was confused enough to not see their vision until I was there. Having been there, I now know why I didn’t see it. The vision is not being articulated, it is only lived, as best the occupiers know how. The action is broad enough, and the articulation is sparse enough that many of us can interpret the actions as manifestations of a vision we have. Indeed, many, including myself, have done so. I can certainly see what is happening as an example and precursor to the vision of a world based on caring for human needs. Some are also urging the movement to follow specific strategies, to articulate certain demands, to go for certain goals.

 

The lack of clarity about the difference between demands and vision continues. I am still wishing that some vision, or many visions, were articulated even in the absence of demands. I still suspect that many would find it hard to express the positive vision they are trying to live. I imagine that were they to do so, perhaps more people would grasp what they are trying to do and be inspired, because vision tends to attract people. No accident that one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s most famous speeches was about dreaming. That being said, I don’t know what is true. My humility grows daily about this movement.

 

There is also a way in which talking about “a movement” is misleading. Yes, there is a tremendous amount of thought and care that’s being put into coordination, logistics, and all other aspects of continuing this massive experiment. And yet much of what happens, including actual protest actions that are taking place alongside and within this attempt to step outside the norms of living, happens through people taking spontaneous, autonomous steps.

 

What is most striking to me of all is how much I don’t know. I don’t know if anyone, anywhere, has the capacity to predict what could happen as a result of this new form of action. This movement has outgrown our capacity to categorize, analyze, and predict. It’s already bigger than anyone’s decision making capacity. No one can tell the people on the street what to do. I feel a slight bit of discomfort, and a whole lot of curiosity and interest in accompanying this surge. In this moment, more than anything, I see this movement as part of a large wakeup call that life is issuing to itself.

 

The group of people that took possession of the Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland are creating a small scale experiment in living without relying on large institutions. Anyone can join, anyone can contribute, anyone can challenge, and anyone can talk. Why would that ever want to stop?

 

Stay tuned for more Notes from OccupyOakland. Since writing this piece I have been to OccupyOakland once more. I attended a meeting of the newly created Nonviolence Caucus (meets daily as of October 18th, an hour before the General Assembly, by the kids’ play area) and participated in the General Assembly meeting. I plan on posting my impressions of these conversations in the next couple of days.

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Positive Psychology News Daily » Risk versus Uncertainty

Positive Psychology News Daily » Risk versus Uncertainty | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

We are deluged with data, but is more data and more rapidly acquired data actually contributing to higher quality decisions? For example does more data help entrepreneur owner-managers drive enterprise value for stakeholders? Or are we failing to understand how to strategically allocate resources in our markets because we are misinterpreting the information? One of the most frequent errors we observe owner-managers, and probably many others, making is the failure to distinguish Risk from Uncertainty.

 

There is extensive literature on Risk and Uncertainty. The difference between them is clear and simple to evaluate.

 

With Risk, the actual outcome of a decision may be unknown, but the distribution of the probabilities of alternative outcomes is measurable. Decision-making clarity is achieved by assessing the most likely outcomes for each alternative: Probability multiplied by likely outcome = expected value.

In the domain of Uncertainty, this is not true, because in Uncertainty (by definition), each situation one encounters is in effect immeasurable. It is fresh or unique. There is no reliable platform to support traditional strategic risk analysis. Each scenario becomes exposed to guesswork and conjecture, which only promotes argument and confusion. Owner-managers and CEOs, who have long preached against “surprise” as the worst outcome of any management effort, now find themselves living with it.

 

In the data rich world we live in today, choice is abundant. Yet empirical research has shown that frequently, in the anxiety of too many choices, we feel overwhelmed. Often what we “know” is based on only a modest level of understanding. Paralyzed by the complexity of decisions they have to make, some people attempt to solve this conundrum by seeking out even more data. The result is an overabundance of unconnected facts with no way to see the alternatives clearly.

 

Nonetheless, despite uncertainty, we have to act. Most of us don’t work in laboratories where we can stop the experiment at will. We have to deduce answers on the fly from the data at hand, limited though it may be. The vast majority of all of our decisions are (and will always be) made on imperfect or incomplete information. Some believe that more information will provide a more clear view of the future, and hence improve their decision making. The reality is that additional information in the domain of Uncertainty often clouds the decision-making process.


This is the Age of the Entrepreneur. We recognize that thinking about these issues requires an uncommon degree of honesty. But life, like markets, surely offers the highest benefits to those who can calculate and take on Risk, where appropriate, and otherwise accept the existence of Uncertainty. So if you truly understand the difference, you will recognize which domain you are in, and thus what set of tools you can best employ.

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Occupy Wall Street: Demanding Justice | California Progress Report

Occupy Wall Street: Demanding Justice | California Progress Report | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

Empathy makes casting moral judgments upon others more complicated and more difficult, because seeing something of our reality in them gives them a context — a "story" like our own, which frames their choices and actions with complexities that bleed over into our stories and those of others.

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Gauging the Happiness of Nations: The United Nations Get on Board | Psychology Today

Gauging the Happiness of Nations: The United Nations Get on Board | Psychology Today | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
It has just come to my attention that on July 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution about happiness. Unlike many matters that concern the UN, this resolution was unanimously supported.

 

Among the ideas set forth in the resolution are the following, thoroughly consistent with recent theorizing and research in positive psychology:

1. The pursuit of happiness is a fundamental and universal human goal.

2. The gross domestic product of a nation does not adequately reflect the happiness and well-being of its citizens.

3. Nations should develop measures of happiness and well-being and use them to guide their national policies...

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Social Intelligence and the Biology of Leadership - Harvard Business Review

Social Intelligence and the Biology of Leadership - Harvard Business Review | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

The salient discovery is that certain things leaders do—specifically, exhibit empathy and become attuned to others’ moods—literally affect both their own brain chemistry and that of their followers. Indeed, researchers have found that the leader-follower dynamic is not a case of two (or more) independent brains reacting consciously or unconsciously to each other. Rather, the individual minds become, in a sense, fused into a single system. We believe that great leaders are those whose behavior powerfully leverages the system of brain interconnectedness...

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If Craigslist benefited charity, you would have the Social Good site KarmaGoat

If Craigslist benefited charity, you would have the Social Good site KarmaGoat | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
We all have extra things to either throw out, donate to Goodwill, or give away to a friend. An extra tennis racket, that scuba gear you thought you'd use. Some of it is junk, but some of it might be worth selling. Right now, you can place these items on Craigslist to make a few bucks for yourself.

KarmaGoat would rather you sell things on its site, and have the money go to a charitable cause....

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Debunking “The Age of Empathy”? | Psychology Today

Debunking “The Age of Empathy”? | Psychology Today | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
In an op-ed piece in The New York Times the other day, columnist David Brooks debunked the current "age of empathy" craze -- or at least the claims that empathy makes a significant difference in how we behave toward one another. Though most of us (not all) experience feelings of compassion toward others, Brooks acknowledges, "The problem comes when we try to turn feelings into action...It's not clear it actually motivates you to take moral action...It doesn't seem to help much when that action comes at personal cost."
Brooks cites a recent review of the scientific research by philosopher Jesse Prinz, who concluded that "These studies suggest that empathy is not a major player when it comes to moral motivation." Brooks concurs and echoes the naysayers who have called empathy a "fragile flower" that can easily be crushed by self-concern. Brooks gives more weight to "a sense of duty" that is dictated by social, moral, religious, or military codes. He concludes that "empathy is a sideshow." We need, instead, to debate, reform, enact and "revere" our ethical codes.

 

Well, it's not quite that simple. The truth may lie in a more complex, and subtle, middle-ground. In the first place, you'll note that the philosopher quoted by Brooks said only that the studies he reviewed "suggest" that empathy is a minor factor. That's a classic "weasel word" for a finding that is far less than conclusive. In fact, there are other studies that suggest the opposite - that empathy is a significant causal factor in our social and moral behavior. A more nuanced interpretation is that empathy is necessary but may not be sufficient. There are many other factors influencing our social behavior as well.

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