Roman Krznaric believes the old story that we are basically selfish, self-interested creatures has been debunked. Now is the time for an empathy revolution.
Empathy is a more popular concept today than at any point in human history. Everybody’s talking about it, from the Dalai Lama to agony aunts, from business gurus to happiness experts. And it’s not surprising, since in the last decade neuroscientists have discovered that 98 percent of us have empathy wired into our brains. The old story that we are basically selfish, self-interested creatures has been debunked. Our selfish inner drives exist side by side with our empathic other half. We are homo empathicus.
We normally think of empathy – the art of stepping into the shoes of another person and looking at the world from their perspective – as something that happens between individuals. But it can also happen on a mass scale and be a force for radical social change. Empathy can create a revolution. Not one of those old fashioned revolutions based on new laws or policies but a revolution of human relationships.
That’s what I argue in my new talk from TEDx Athens called “How to Start an Empathy Revolution.” I discuss everything from human libraries to using babies to teach empathy, from museums of blindness to a unique political phone line in the Middle East. May you take some part of this with you into the world:
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