Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

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Culture of Empathy Builder:  Otto Scharmer

Pending - in development






Otto Scharmer: "The Blind Spot of Leadership"


Talks about how the new social model will form. 
Bring the different parts of society and have them empathize with each other.

Innovate at the scale of the whole system.
4:00  "Pull together all the key stake holders. Including business, government, civil society. Moving then through a process of empathizing with each other, seeing the system through the viewpoint of the most marginalized players in the system. Then developing a deeper systems understanding, envisioning new ways of operating and exploring that future through small  concrete prototypes."

8:00 "If you start empathizing with someone there, what's the problem? The problem is, you put yourself out there into vulnerability. What is the easy way out, cynicism. It's all emotions of distancing yourself from the situation. If you want to access your creativity, then all I'm saying is that cynicism is just as dysfunctional as the voice of judgment is. Because it stops the voice of open yourselves. "

From ego-system to eco-system economies
"An open mind represents the capacity to see the world with fresh eyes and to suspend old habits of thought. An open heart means the capacity to empathize, to see any situation through the eyes of someone else. And an open will is the capacity of letting-go and “letting-come:” letting-go of old identities (like “us versus them”), and letting-come a new sense of self and what that shift can make possible."

"A prerequisite for establishing good ‘presencing’ is the way in which we are able the listen. Scharmer has divided listening into four levels:

  • Downloading: When transferring information that is already largely familiar, people only listen to reconfirm what they already know.

  • Factual listening: People only listen attentively when the information is different from what they know. This new information is added to the information that is already known.

  • Empathic listening: By empathizing and seeing through someone else’s eyes, people are able to understand and respect the other person.

  • Generative listening: People listen to create without their personalities getting in the way of results. By connecting their own intuition with the environment, they tap into pure thoughts and ideas."

Leadership Is to Shift the Inner Place from Where We Operate - 4 types of attention

2:00  I-in-You (I in thou) Structure, "The place where perception happens is moving beyond the boundary of our own organization. .... The example of this was the empathic listening. Where our listening is happening from the place where another person is articulating, sharing something or operating from."

Otto Scharmer Shares What You Can Do For A Few Hours Each Day To Revolutionize Your Brain
The Huffington Post (video)
"Scharmer said listening is "at the root of everything." He said there are four types of listening, two of which many are already familiar with -- listening where "we attend to what we already know" and factual listening, where we learn something new. But Scharmer said people today need to master two more types of listening -- empathic listening, where we are able to put ourselves in another's place, and what Scharmer calls generative listening, where we see another person in terms of past, present and future possibilities."

Video Otto Scharmer: "The Blind Spot of Leadership"
"So if you start empathizing with another person, - what's the problem there? The problem is you put yourself out there into vulnerability. So what is the easy way out? Cynicism, Cynicism it's all emotions of distancing yourself from the situation...."
(Blocks of judgment, cynicism, fear)  How to foster this empathy? a personal practice, a support friend. How to do it on a big community and city level is the challenge we have.

Otto Scharmer on Listening

“"Oh, yes, I know how you feel.” The third and deeper level of listening is empathic listening. When we are engaged in real dialogue, we can, when paying attention, become aware of a profound shift in the place from which our listening originates. As long as we operate from the first two types of listening, our listening originates from within the boundaries of our own mental-cognitive organization. But when we listen empathically, our perception shifts from our own organization into the field, to the other, to the place from which the other person is speaking. When moving into that mode of listening we have to activate our empathy by connecting directly, heart to heart, to the other person. If that happens, we feel a profound switch; we forget about our own agenda and begin to see how the world unfolds through someone else’s eyes. When operating in this mode, we usually feel what another person wants to say before the words take form. "...

"I can’t express what I experience in words. My whole being has slowed down. I feel more quiet, present and more my real self. I am connected to something larger than myself.” This is the fourth level of listening. "..
(Note: empathic creativity or transformational empathy)

How to Embrace the Emerging Future: Insights from Dr. Otto Scharmer
"Knowing this fact doesn’t make it easy to be a leader who must deal with ambiguity and lean into the unknown, embracing an emerging and imminent future. Why is it so hard to do? According to Otto, there are three “enemies” that get in the way: the voice of judgement, which shuts down an open mind, the voice of cynicism, which shuts down the capacity for empathy and compassion, and the voice of fear. These three enemies, combined with one’s inner state influence a person’s ability to embrace the future. For those who do lean into the unknown rather than freeze, it can still be difficult when surrounded by people who don’t want to recognize a change. Otto acknowledges this and gives this advice: “Shape something, even on a small scale, to create the reality you want. ""

Uncovering The Blind Spot of Leadership
"Listening 3: Empathic
“Oh, yes, I know exactly how you feel.” This deeper level of listening is empathic listening. When we are engaged in real dialogue and paying careful attention, we can become aware of a profound shift in the place from which our listening originates. We move from seeing the objective world of things, figures, and facts (the “itworld”) to listening to the story of a living and evolving self (the “you-world”). Sometimes, when we say “I know how you feel,” our emphasis is on a kind of mental or abstract knowing. But it requires an open heart to really feel how another feels. An open heart gives us the empathic capacity to connect directly with another person from within. When that happens, we enter new territory in the relationship; we forget about our own agenda and begin to see how the world appears through someone else’s eyes....

Listening 4: Generative
When you operate from Listening 3 (empathic listening), your perspective is redirected to seeing the situation through the eyes of another: “Boy, yes, now I really understand how you feel about it. I can sense it now too.” And finally, when you operate from Listening 4 (generative listening), you have gone through a subtle but profound change that has connected you to a deeper source of knowing, including the knowledge of your best future possibility and self."

Capitalism 4.0 & Neuroplasticity of the Collective Brain
"• The open heart--the capacity to empathize, to experience a problem from the viewpoint of another stakeholder, not your own view (compassion);
• And open will--the capacity to awaken and activate the deeper creative, entrepreneurial core that is dormant in each and every human being."


Shifting the Social Field: Contemplation, Compassion, Collective Action
"So, what does it take to awaken the sleepwalking entity that is our collective self? What does it take to sense and actualize the space of future potential around us?

What it takes is a social field and a social space that facilitates a turn, a bending of our beam of observation back onto ourselves, back onto its source. The bending of the beam of observation is called reflection when it happens as a mental process. It's called empathy or compassion when it happens as a process that activates the intelligence of our heart. And it's called entrepreneurship, or love, or collective action when it happens as a process that activates our deepest capacity to create. What I saw at the Forum was the beginning of a collective opening process on all three of these levels: opening the mind (reflection), the heart (compassion) and the will (creative core). When that opening happens, we still have the same problems, but we can approach them more in more present, more connected, and more co-creative ways."

Diego & Sue's Empathy Walk 2012