Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

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Emergency Empathy Response Team
http://bit.ly/JLoxT7

 

  Emergency Empathy Response Team.

Often in the media, TV, internet, etc, people make comments, articles, videos that are negative, critical and misinformed about the nature of empathy. Especially if it is in a national media, this can effect how people view and understand the importance of empathy

We have put together a team to immediately respond with empathic listening, presence, dialog and education to these criticisms.  You're invited to join the team.


 

The response can consist of

1. a panel(s) discussion about the article/video/etc
2. a direct reply in the comment section of the piece.
3. an invitation to the author to join a group dialog and panel.
4.  other ideas?


Here is an example of how this can work.

 
 


 

I saw an article on Forbes Online Magazine titled
Great Negotiators Think With Heads, Not Hearts - Empathy Can Subvert Human Well-Being by Victoria Pynchon.
The article was rather critical of empathy, i.e. saying, 'Empathy Can Subvert Human Well-Being' is rather negative and critical.  People see, read or hear this and that's what sticks in the minds. Empathy is bad..
  The Emergency Empathy Response Team (Edwin and Joe) rushed into action and got together on a Skype video call and reviewed, discussed, empathized with the author, made comments, etc. about the article. We recorded that discussion, posted the video to Youtube and wrote up the discussion in text format. 
    The article author, Victoria Pynchon found out about this and posted the video to the end of her article in an effort to stimulate dialog.
    Joe and I started an email conversation with Victoria , then the 3 of us set a time and held a video panel discussion about it. 
  Through this discussion, we were able to clear up a lot misconceptions and inaccuracies about the nature of empathy and make a new friend all at the same time.
- We clarified the difference between empathy and sympathy
- We explained the perspective taking and action components of empathy.
- Explained the latest scientific understandings
 
     

 

 

 

Join the team, we need,

  • Empathy and Compassion trainers

  • Educators

  • Child Development experts

  • Legal Profession

  • Scientists of all kinds

    • Neuro Scientists

    • Biology

    • Physiologists

  • Interfaith community

  • Artists

  • Concerned citizens

  • etc.


Requirements to join

  • be well grounded in empathy

  • be available at a movements notice to join a Skype based panel discussion to respond or

  • be willing to help in other ways


Typical criticisms or misunderstandings about empathy (underdevelopment)
We will start systematically articulate the typical criticisms of empathy and develop responses. For example,

  • there's a great deal of confusion between empathy and sympathy.

  • often criticism is based on definitions and misunderstand of what it means.

  • empathy is emotionalism

    • people don't understand the 'imaginative empathy or perspective taking component of empathy.

  • empathy does not have an action component.

  • empathy is emotional and we need reason

  • empathy is emotional and we need firm structures and rules


 

Projects Needing a Response:

Against Empathy: America’s pain, Barack Obama’s gain - Kevin D. Williamson

"Just before the election, the Washington Post fluttered about what it described as “Barack Obama’s empathy edge.” The equally hardboiled reporters at Psychology Today pondered: “Is Obama empathetic to a fault?” The Empath-in-Chief himself has said that empathy rather than such bewhiskered qualities as constitutional scrupulousness is his main concern when choosing Supreme Court justices, of whom he demanded that they have “the empathy to recognize what it’s like to be a young, teenaged mom, the empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old. And that’s the criteria by which I’m going to be selecting my judges."
 

 
Great Negotiators Think With Heads, Not Hearts - Empathy Can Subvert Human Well-Being, Forbes (Done!)
      by Victoria Pynchon
The article was rather critical of empathy, i.e. saying, 'Empathy Can Subvert Human Well-Being' is rather negative and critical.  People see, read or hear this and that's what sticks in the minds. Empathy is bad.. The Emergency Empathy Response Team (Edwin and Joe) rushed into action and got together on a Skype video call and reviewed, discussed, empathized with the author, made comments, etc. about the article. We recorded that discussion, posted the video to Youtube and wrote up the discussion in text format. 

 

In This Corner - Empathy vs. Compassion,  Blogs  (Done!)
    by Steve Kenny
The article tries to pit empathy and compassion as somehow at odds with each other and say Liberals have empathy and conservatives have compassion. There were various criticisms of empathy and the extolling of compassion. There were many misunderstandings about the science of how empathy and compassion work.  Joe and Edwin held a panel discussion and reviewed the article. We posted a reply to the authors and invited them to take part in a panel discussion. So far no response.

 

 

Empathy: The New School Subject, Eagle Forum (next up)
     Schools Need Less Emphasis on Empathy

     by Phyllis Schlafly

 

 

The Limits of Empathy, New York Times
       by David Brooks

  • "The problem comes when we try to turn feeling into action. Empathy makes you more aware of other people’s suffering, but it’s not clear it actually motivates you to take moral action or prevents you from taking immoral action"

Sam Spade at Starbucks, New York Times
       by David Brooks

  • "We ought not jettison compassion, of course. Like any of the human sentiments, however, it needs to be cultivated and constrained by reflective deliberation about the world and our obligations within it."

  • "focus attention on the core issues: order and rule of law. "

 

 

Same-sex marriage: Empathy or Right?
Charles Krauthammer

 

 

 


 U.S. Senate - Attacks on Empathy
          ( a major project to respond to this)
 

 

 


Is Your Empathy Killing Your Career?
 by Barbara Oakley

 

 

Steven Pinker

Resources

 

 

Create a structured response

  • What is the criticism (judgment)

    • what is the underlying fear?

      • how does the fear relate to the absence of empathy?

    • What are the authors underlying values or needs

    • what is the response?

    •  

  • What is the misunderstanding

    • what is the response?

    • what is the fear?

    •  

  • What values are important to the author

  •