- You'd think empathy would be the minimum qualification to hold public office in a democracy. Sadly, a remarkable number of people who are supposed to be devoting their lives to representing others seem clueless about how their constituents actually live and what they need.
- Part 1: Why we need empathy now more than ever
- Part 2: Empathy Deficit Disorder
- Nuns on the Bus: The Call to Compassion
Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest
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Part 1: Why we need empathy now more than ever
- Critics say that empathy clouds our judgment and distracts us from true morality. Here's what they're missing
- The one thing that could save the world
Roman Krznaric, Salon
Gregory Peck and Brock Peters in "To Kill a Mockingbird"
Saturday, Nov 8, 2014 | Empathy is trending. President Obama wants to tackle America’s “empathy deficit,” medical students routinely receive empathy training, and everyone from business gurus to the Dalai Lama have become its champions. The latest neuroscience research shows that 98 percent of us have the capacity to empathize wired into our brains and, like riding a bike, it’s a skill we can learn and develop. No wonder Google searches for the E word have more than doubled in the past decade. The art of imaginatively stepping into another person’s shoes and seeing the world from their perspective is, it would seem, a most valuable and valued twenty-first century asset.
Not so, says Yale psychologist Paul Bloom, leading the counter-charge against empathy’s popularity surge. It is, he claims, a poor moral guide, lacking the power to inspire us to act on, say, child poverty or humanitarian disasters. “Our public decisions will be fairer and more moral once we put empathy aside,” says Bloom, insisting we should instead, “draw on a reasoned, even counter-empathetic, analysis of moral obligation.” But in doing so, Bloom creates a false – and dangerous – dichotomy between empathy and reason, and misses the long lesson from history: that time and again, empathy has played a crucial role in creating a democratic culture that respects human rights. So where have the critics gone wrong?
Roman Krznaric’s book is Empathy: Why It Matters, and How to Get It (Perigee/Penguin, on sale Nov. 4). He is a faculty member of The School of Life in London and founder of the world’s first digital Empathy Library.
Full story …
Part 2: Empathy Deficit Disorder
(A remarkable number of) politicians have no idea what people who are hard up in America are going through. Call it Empathy Deficit Disorder.
Robert Reich, Huffington Post
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
10/28/2014 | Commenting on a recent student suicide at an Alaska high school, Alaska's Republican Congressman Don Young said suicide didn't exist in Alaska before "government largesse" gave residents an entitlement mentality.
"When people had to work and had to provide and had to keep warm by putting participation in cutting wood and catching the fish and killing the animals, we didn't have the suicide problem," he said. Government handouts tell people "you are not worth anything but you are going to get something for nothing."
Full story …
Nuns on the Bus: The Call to Compassion, Susan McKenna, Westminster Town Hall Forum
- Sr. Simone Campbell
- Thursday, November 13, Noon
- Westminster Presbyterian Church Nicollet Mall and 12th Street,
- Free and open to all