Biologist and educator, Professor of Population Studies in
Biological Sciences at Stanford University and president of Stanford's
Center for Conservation Biology.
The Population Bomb.
Author: Humanity on a Tightrope: Thoughts on Empathy, Family, and
Big Changes for a Viable Future,
Humanity on a Tightrope:
Thoughts on Empathy, Family, and Big Changes for a Viable Future, by
Paul Ehrlich and Robert Ornstein.
Table of Contents
Section 1 Connecting with others: The
Evolution of Humanity, Families and Empathy
Chapter 1: On a Tightrope
Chapter 2: Empathy, And "Us"
Family Members versus "Them"
Chapter 3: The Seeds Of Family
Values And How They Sprouted
Chapter 4: The Evolution of "Them"
Section 2: Changing Our Mind and
Changing the World we Made
Chapter 5: The Neuropsychology Of
Getting To "Us": The More Alike The More We Like
Chapter 6: It's All Us Now:
Closing the Culture Gap and Building a Global Family
Chapter 7: The Beginnings of a New
Stage in History
Chapter 8: Getting To "Alike" One
Chapter 9: Revitalizing Religious
Empathy and Staying on the Tightrope
"Humans were a "small group
animal." We are hard-wired to know and operate in groups of less than
150 people. Within that group, we also have nerves in the brain which
allow us to more or less know how the others think. This empathy may be
unique among the animals, with the ability to "step into the other
person's shoes". Erhlich and Ornstein argue this empathy trait must be
extended to include the whole human family, if we are to survive.
What are the signs that empathy is growing?...
How could we translate your book to develop what I would call "empathy
activism"? How do we make this work?...
And yet we have these global problems, and you are
suggesting we need global empathy. Are they contradictory moves?...
PRE: No, they aren't. It's gotta be a combination. Because, first of
all, we can be empathetic with more people. We actually can't avoid
being empathetic to anybody we are exposed to....
So we have to spread our empathy. It doesn't mean we lose
our empathy for people that we know even more personally - we just
spread it around...."
Teach people how the world works. in education system
"On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Paul Ehrlich about how the
effects of rapid population growth, sky-high consumption, loss of
biodiversity, increasing toxicity of the environment and numerous other
systemic problems, require all humans to mutually expand their
commitment to empathy in order to stay balanced with ourselves and the
What brought you to the place where you
see empathy as the way to solve the worlds problems?
Science community sees the problems
but there's no action.
What do we do about it? Need to understand
each other and that's empathy. Humans have it and Obama says we have a
How do we get people to be more empathic?
We have mirror neurons
Short term empathy for people in Haiti
We have started to do it.
getting rid of Saddam in Iraq
improving minorities relationships
Expand family group and for the future family
Need to have a global constitutional congress? on
"Ehrlich said that one reason it’s been so
difficult for people to experience empathy for people across the globe
is that, biologically, we’re not equipped to consider the needs of a
tribe of seven billion – that’s Earth’s current human population.
Ehrlich: We do have the basic equipment to change the way we deal with
the world, the environment and other people. The equipment is the
said that humans – down to the level of neurons – are specially wired
to be empathetic. As an example, he referred to the central metaphor
or his book, a tightrope walker. He said a crowd watching a swaying
tightrope walker will also tend to sway.""
Paul R. Ehrlich: Saving Earth - LA Times
Human empathy is something you pin your hopes on in the new book. But to
me, the sci-fi trope -- until the aliens arrive, humans will always find
reasons to fight each other -- is pretty true.
One of the cheery things I think, and you haven't heard a lot of cheer
from me, is we have the built-in capacity to put ourselves in others'
shoes. The issue is, can we spread that empathy to 7 billion people?
Just in my lifetime, we've spread empathy, making more "us" and fewer
"them." If we had another 1,000 years, I'd be an optimist! I'd be
saying, well things are going in the right direction, slowly, and by my
great-great grandchildren, things could be pretty good. I have a
great-granddaughter now; that child is not facing a great world.
Book Review : Humanity on a Tightrope
The feelings of empathy and semblance is to be cultivated and are
extremely important in order to avert the collapsing civilization. It is
high time that we educate ourselves with the basics of empathy that we
have lost while being focused on catering to our individual needs. We
all need to renew our knowledge of this one indispensable trait which
can help all of us in thinking about our common life-planet.
Ecotopia #114 Humanity on a Tightrope Listen to the
Program(some of the audio is low)
"His theme is empathy—or the lack of
it—and he argues that lack of empathy for other people is at the root of
many sustainability problems. If we have empathy for others, we won’t
destroy the earth on which they (and we live). Paul Ehrlich also talks
about what he calls “Big Change,” or what others call a “quantum leap”
or a “paradigm shift” to get humankind working together on these issues.
Review: ‘Humanity on a Tightrope’
- Stanford Daily “Humanity on a Tightrope,” to be released on Nov. 16, is a rich book
that delves into the root of the world’s most pressing problems: the
lack of empathy in mankind. The whole book revolves around this central
idea of how we human beings as a whole global family should develop more
empathy toward each other to ensure a sustainable future. "