We need a revolution of human relationships
“When I think of history, I think not of the rise and fall of civilizations, and religions or political systems, I think of the rise and fall of empathy. Moments of mass empathic flowering and also of course of empathic collapse.”
Nigerian-American writer, Teju Cole, mentioned the “empathy gap” in a Mother Jones interview with Sarah Zhang. Cole linked this empathy gap to the lack of concern or empathy for military drone strikes on innocent civilians.
In other words, the American psyche cannot empathize with the unknown unless it waves an American flag. The us vs them dichotomy has created an empathy gap which is currently affecting all aspects of living. This empathy gap exists in most advanced and developed countries.
The most significant aspect of traveling is the learned social ability to understand yourself and others. Their culture, your culture…philosophy and way of life. We’ve been taught to look deep within ourselves (introspection) to unlock the gate and create a new space. Traveling is one of the best ways to nurture the hidden curiosities we have about other people (outrospection).
But, not all of us carry this empathic trait…this magnificent, natural human element which seeks to formulate a universal bond with wo/man kind. We’ve set dangerous limitations. These limitations hinder social interaction and social change. How do we deprogram the self-centered way of thinking about the world?
In the short RSA animated illustration below, philosopher and author Roman Krznaric explained those limitations.
Krznaric says we need “a revolution of human relationships.” A diligent focus on the concept of empathy can spark this revolution.
Labels and stereotypes continue to haunt humans. Empathic people understand other peoples needs and make themselves vulnerable. This power of empathy can cause progress much more quickly in an age of ever-changing technology and global connection. Watch the brilliant animated clip.
We normally think of empathy as the individual down and out, the poor, and the marginalized part of society. We place a victim stamp on those less fortunate, but we also strip away their agency. Our sorrow for them can also be quite insulting. It doesn’t give people a reason to lift themselves if their actual story is being deliberately ignored.
Here is new video featuring international signer/songwriter, Kaye-Ree. The video is called, “One.” Yep…it fits the topic well. Enjoy!