Culture of Empathy Builder:
Empathy Expert Big Page: Peter Gabel
Empathy and Restorative Justice "A
co-founder of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, Peter was
instrumental in creating the Project for Integrating Spirituality, Law,
and Politics, a nationwide group that seeks to bring together law
teachers, lawyers, and law students who seek to connect the inner and the
outer in a fundamental transformation of legal culture. "
at Tikkun Magazine.
We social change activists need to
move forward in a way that manifests, respect, concern and care.
That doesn't dominantly manifest anger, bitterness, resentment and
rage.... We need to become militant empathy advocates.
Peter Gabel on Building a Culture of Empathy in the Justice and Legal
(Incorporating approaches like Restorative Justice, etc.)
Peter Gabel Introduction: from offices of
Associate Editor Tikkun Magazine
Law Professor at
Organizer for Project for Integrating
Spirituality, Law and Politics
for lawyers, law professors and law
for connecting the longing for empathy
and understanding with law and social activism
fuse the inner and the outer
bring that perspective into the legal
Empathy is inherently present in law and
legal culture because law has a relationship to justice
feeling for justice is a present need
for all people
2:00 - legal arena - empathic awareness
other hand - current legal culture was
born 1600+ based on individualism and materialism
social connection, empathy, compassion,
3:00 The legal model in many ways sees
people as distinct, they may lie, must be maximally distrustful
goal of an empathic world - legal world
is what defines what is binding on us.
the socially binding part
need to find ways of bringing into the
existing legal system the connection part (empathy)
4:00 - the adversary system - the
process of law is people are at war with each other
the structure of trials assumes everyone
may be lying
law school you learn to aggrandize
yourself and discredit the other
fosters the gladiator combat which
is the opposite of empathy
6:00 - there's so much mistrust build into
8:20: Other laws, contracts, torts, etc
sees individuals as socially separate
corporations - nothing about empathy
about self interest
law of contracts
no law about concerns for the other -
empathy and compassion
the very structure of the law is geared
toward competition and not toward empathy
11:00 a crime is not a tearing of the
communal fabric but the state versus the defendant
13:30 Project for Integrating
Spirituality, Law and Politics
Our group is interested in creating new
forms of law and legal culture
that go beyond the liberal model
need a new step that connects people to
that fosters empathy, concern,
creating new processes, new training
14:30 the process is creating a new
Four main goals our group has are;
1. Support the Restorative Justice
2. Transformative Mediation
3. New forms of Law Practice - Lawyers
as 'Spiritual Guides'
1. Support the Restorative Justice
crime as a harm to the community as a
foster the taking of responsibility
reintegration into society
healing of society
may address larger problems
2. Transformative Mediation (20:00)
3. New forms of Law Practice -
Lawyers as 'Spiritual Guides'
lawyers have a permanent relationship
with the clients
heart based connection with clients
Georgia project as example
coming into contact with justice system
is connecting with you as a human being
engaging the public space and law is a
chance for personal growth
Education - changing legal education (23:00)
changing legal education
law students lose touch with their
values of caring
legal reasoning: fast talking and
cleverness is valued
legal mind is cut off from the heart,
empathy, compassion, care, love
lawyers have a glazed eye way of being
people don't like lawyers because they
don't act like human beings
26:00 - change education to introduce
empathy, caring, cooperation
28:00 - can't have a little empathy class
on the side. it needs to be the core of the curriculum
29:00 Have empathy training, how does it
work, how to connect people. Build the curriculum on that.
We all need empathy training because we
live in an alienated world
Tikkun means to repair and heal the
It's imagining how to connect your
empathy with your work as a lawyer
there's always the cooperative aspect
peoples aspiration to cooperate versus
just self interest
looking for the empathy in every case
and bring that out.
need to learn the rule of separation
and how to foster greater empathy, compassion, connection
society is cooperative - it doesn't work
unless everyone is working together.
the cooperative element
32:00 How's that
effort progressing? A Culture of Empathy?
it's a dawning transformation of
consciousness that takes a long time
it took thousands of years to get to a
Constitution, where we are not bound to the king
now going to a new form of human
connection that values longing for love,
that's going to take a long time
34:20 Other ways
to create a Culture of Empathy?
Stay with the law
imagine how powerful it would be if
every city, in the law centers, if empathic efforts were taking
OJ Simpson trial, for example - if
social healing would be there
it would change the culture
build new forms of legal culture in
these centers and the media
that's how law could and will contribute
37:30 Other ways
to create a Culture of Empathy?
overcome the alienation in every sphere
of life that separates
Network of Spiritual Progressives,
Tikkun fosters new ways of social activism
connect spirituality and politics,
Empathy is a spiritual aspect of reality
Empathy is invisible, a way of
experiencing the other
empathy and caring is also essential to
39:30 I went to
Democratic and GOP conventions to talk about empathy?
with the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor
it shows what a challenge it is
when you introduce connection to each
other, business, courts, parties
the fear of the isolated individual of
being controlled and manipulated by others comes to the surface
Obama saying he wants a Supreme Court
judge with empathy created a firestorm
it's argued that Empathy can mean
they will be imposing their view on
there is no objective empathy
the key to overcome that fear is that we
are unique but also the same
we have the same longing,
are the source of each other's
we can't do it without each other.
empathy and compassion are essential
Justice Scalia wants nothing to do with
what he calls subjective factors in law
we're all detached individuals and
only rules are objective
same with Senator Jeff Session who
lead challenge to empathy
the paranoid and understandable view
they say it's empathy for one side and
not the other?
the notion of scarce resources
at it's core is a paranoid and fearful
model of human relations
45:00 Empathy for
one side or the other? a fear they will not receive empathy?
it assumes that if empathy is brought
into this area the individual will be harmed in some way.
if empathy is excluded, then it's
everyone for themselves and everything you can get for yourself you
the fears are legitimate, some could be
47:00 If the
conservative has a fear of not being empathized with, a way to deal
with it is to actually speak to that fear, acknowledging it?
some people out of fear hold themselves
back and build a wall around themselves, emotional wall, financial
wall, and out of fear of the other, exist in this isolated
social change activists need to move
forward with care, respect, and not manifest bitterness, rage
We need to become militant empathy
49:00 There's a real fear that you can be
manipulated and abused
if you're open you are more in danger of
don't deny it.
but there's the need, the longing for
even the most walled in person to get out and to be see by the
50:00 How to deal
with empathy in the current structure?
need a militant empathy
changing this system toward empathy
what's going for us is that we all want
we're taping into something that is
within all of us.
the fearful person would come out if
they felt safe
a new activism - all change has to have
that spiritually sensitivity
not touchy feely, but firm, militant -
53:20 What does
It means you're not a wimp!
you stand up and insist this is the
right direction to go.
When you talk about spiritual needs,
people think this is just psychobabble
spiritual people are not seen as being
willing to engage in moral struggle, encounter
strength confidence, determination has
to be part of this.
we can move this way, we will move this
let's take care of one another
let foster a cooperative economy
doesn't mean you're rage full, hateful,
sanctimonious - that's go to go.
55:20 How about
focusing on the empathy and being open about what the policies and
(working toward a culture of empathy and
being open about how to get there)
a good idea about not being rigidly set
on one fixed policy
whatever will foster the sense of
connection is more important that the fixed outcome
up to a point - for example illness - we
need healthcare - can't compromise on that
it's basic to what we mean by empathy
that we care for one another and act from a place of caring.
no one is expendable, I assume your not
saying to give up on that too?
57:00 It's that we want a culture of
empathy and how we get to that culture is left open.
if someone is suffering like that, we
are obviously not empathizing with them
we have to keep working until their
needs are incorporated into our world view or policies.
That's worth trying.
maybe Obama relies too much on the
process and not enough on the underlying values?
perhaps a stronger stand is needed to
have his supporters feel they are fighting for a particular vision
of the world. It can't be mushy.
in terms of the exact details of any
policy or proposal I agree with you.
58:30 Oscar Grant
Shooting - and the peace and justice communities
an example of where there should be a
process where the police officer should be able to fully feel he can
convey what he thought he was doing.
an incredible tragedy
shouldn't be this situation
need a process to create connection
how to heal suffering,
we haven't yet created this healing
how do we transcend this situation
processes that can foster empathy
between 2 communities
1:02:00 We have a
lot to talk about .
This is a new discourse that we are trying
to bring forward.
Peter Gabel: Part 4
mentions empathy a couple of times.