Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

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Culture of Empathy Builder:  Randall Amster


Randall Amster
Randall Amster, J.D., Ph.D., teaches Peace Studies and is Chair of the Master of Arts Program in Humanities at Prescott College, and also serves as the Executive Director of the Peace and Justice Studies Association.

Exploring the Power of Nonviolence: Peace, Politics, and Practice
"The expert authors brought together in this volume collectively deploy the essential teachings of nonviolence across a spectrum of contemporary issues. From considering the principles of the French Revolution and encouraging peace through natural resource management to exploring multiculturism and in teaching peace in the elementary classroom, this work is broad in scope yet detailed in its approach to the fundamental principles of nonviolence."
2012 Local to Global Justice Teach-In: 2012 Keynote Address - Radical Empathy

Local to Global Justice - Radical Empathy Teach In
12 Local to Global Justice teach in


  • 00:00 Introduction

  • Empathy, A radical concept

    • Empathy is a radical concept. Sometimes the word radical is unnecessary, it's embedded in the notion. Empathy, as a working concept, if we actually put it into practice in our lives, would be among the most radical things we could do in this world.

    • empathy sounds naive

    • it's doesn't denote radicalism

    • it might be the key

    • It might promote a dialog about healing and renewal. We need some of that.

    • sometimes deny care for ourselves.

    • think about having empathy for the radical.

  • Radical Empathy - A Starting Point

    • science is catching up

    • interesting that science lags behind common sense

    • it's the cutting edge of science

    • thinking of ethics from a different point

      • relationships

    • individualization of our struggles - our own pursuits

    • healing and renewal - we need to socialize our burdens

  • Workshopping

    • burnout

    • futility

    • prevalent in activist communities

    • things have gotten worse

    • activists have incrementally slowed the rate of destruction


  • Exploring the Issues - pitfalls

    • reactivism - playing defense

    • responding to crisis

    • lacktivism - fatalism - futility 

    • clicktivism

    • cracktivism - gotta keep going

  • 15:00 Solutions

    • Activism is the rent I pay to live on the planet

    • Contactivsim - building relationships

      • basis of empathy

      • basis of cosmos

    • 17:00 impactivism

    • 20:00 Thanktivism

    • 23:00 Proactivism - envision the world we want
      [yes, we need the vision! what does a culture of empathy look like?]

      • creating alternatives

      • building the future

      • being present


  • 25:20 Cutting-Edge - mirror neurons

    • human biology

    • how many know about mirror neurons (one did)

    • peace pilgrim   "Life is like a mirror. Smile at it and it smiles back at you."

    • "laughter is contagious"

    • wired to emulate others

    • others are part of ourselves

  • 29:00 Cutting-Edge - epigenetics

    • think inter and trans generationally

  • 32:30 Cutting-Edge - Quantum zeno effect

    • physics and consciousness

  • 36:00 Self, Society and nature

    • care of self, others, and environment