Top Ten (10) Empathy Lessons Trending in the New Year 2018

Here are Empathy Lessons for the New Year ahead. You know what would really interest me? To hear from you (dear reader) what is your empathy lesson? Whether inspired by this list or your own experience over the winter holiday… Read More ›


Recent Posts

  • Empathy Lesson One: Empathy is Not Compassion

    Most people think that empathy is compassion; and, heavens knows, the world needs more compassion. But empathy and compassion are distinct.

  • 12 Top Radio Shows on Empathy

    Here are twelve (12) top radio shows on empathy. Lou Agosta interviews thought leaders in the community about work they are doing that expands empathy. Note: interviews are edited to delete the commercials. Biographical information about the speaker and interviewer… Read More ›

  • Anger and Forgiveness: Resentment, Generosity, and Justice, reviewed

    Martha Nussbaum makes a strong case that, in the face of anger and wrong doing motivated by anger, forgiveness is over-rated. I repeat: over-rated. Instead Nussbaum suggests that generosity – especially when it is performed from strength – is a bridge from the negative consequences of reactive emotions such as anger and resentment to justice.

  • Empathy: A Model Interdisciplinary Curriculum


    Empathy is oxygen for the soul – for teachers and students, here is a model curriculum for empathy studies in diverse contexts.

  • The Last Psychoanalyst: Review of Arnold Goldberg’s The Brain, the Mind, and the Self: A Psychoanalytic Roadmap

    It is not the purpose of this engaging and thought provoking book to get the reader to feel comfortable; it is the purpose of this book to get the reader to think – about psychoanalysis.

  • Empathy Triple Play: 3 books on empathy: hear about the book that got me thrown out of the local institute for psychoanalysis

    Empathy is oxygen for the soul. Short of breath? Maybe one needs expanded empathy. Get some – along with a light snack – at this event.

  • Soul Machine: John Locke, Inventor of CBT [Cognitive Behavioral Therapy]?

    Cover Art: Soul Machine

    By the end of George Makari’s engaging – indeed monumental – Soul Machine: The Invention of the Modern Mind (W.W. Norton 2016: 652 pp.) one comes to understand that the modern mind is more ancient than most people believe and the… Read More ›

  • Historical Empathy and Strict Constructionism: About Guns

    When the framers of the US Constitution wrote the Second Amendment, the standard weapon was a single shot musket, powder and ball. This time out I am a strict constructionist.

  • Illusions of a Future


    The picture is of Socrates drinking the hemlock by the celebrated French painter, Jacques-Louis David. After reading Kate Schechter’s Illusions of a Future (2014) one has to wonder if psychoanalytic politics have brought the practice of psychoanalysis to a similar result…. Read More ›

  • Plato Not Prozac!

    PlatoAndSocrates: The School of Athens

    The neurochemical reshaping of personality has had many unanticipated consequences. I acknowledge that the debate is not ended by the Chapter in my A Rumor of Empathy on “Plato Not Prozac,” the name of which is hereby acknowledged to be from… Read More ›

  • One Person’s Empathy is Another’s Counter-Transference

    Talking People by Lajos Kolzsvary

    One person’s empathy is another’s countertransference. I will not confess my weaknesses, since they will be obvious to the reader in any case. The short – very short – definition of “countertransference” is one’s reaction and response to the other… Read More ›

  • 4 Ways Empathy Misfires, Breaks Down, Goes Astray – Don’t Let This Happen to You!


    Four dimensions of empathy exist – each one has a way of misfiring, breaking down or going astray. The advantage of this definition of empathy is that it shows one where things go “off the rails”. If one knows where and how… Read More ›

  • 9 Steps to Recovery From Domestic Violence (DV) – One Picture


    If the survivor can feel safe enough to express what happened into an empathic receptivity in the context of a trusting environment that does not retraumatize by skepticism and cross-examination, then the abuse, the boundary violations, and the perpetrations, begin… Read More ›

  • Resistance to Empathy – the Presentation – at the Intl’ Psychoanalytic Assoc., Boston, USA


    Resistance to empathy takes many forms. Resistance to empathy includes those factors coming from the therapist, those from the patient, including those emerging in the interaction, and those from the culture at large. Although “the culture” is distinct from “the system delivering… Read More ›

  • Empathy is like oxygen for the soul: So if you are experiencing a shortness of breath…

    Empathy is like oxygen for the soul (according to a famous statement by Heinz Kohut). So if you are experiencing a shortness of breath in your relationships, career, or commitments, maybe you need expanded empathy. Join me [Lou] for an “on… Read More ›

  • 10 Top Tips and Techniques for Expanding Empathy


    Join me [Lou] for an on the air conversation on Empathy Radio focusing on top tips and techniques for expanding ones empathy. Click here to play the show: 10 Top Tips and Techniques for Expanding Empathy. The main tip and… Read More ›

  • Emerging Adulthood and Empathy


    Join Lou Agosta and his special guests Drs. Jesse Viner and Dale Monroe-Cook for an engaging conversation about the emotional, psychological, and human challenges of emerging adulthood. Drs. Viner and Monroe-Cook address these issues with their clients as Medical director and… Read More ›

  • Listening and a Rumor of Empathy Out of the Spirit of Music


    Join me and my special guest musician, teacher, and composer Mischa Zupko for a conversation about music, the emotions, empathy, and community on Wednesday June 3rd at noon Chicago time on VoiceAmerica Empowerment Radio. Click here for live show or… Read More ›

  • Empathy and the Self: An Interview With Joe Palombo, Director, The Center for Neuroscience and Psychoanalytic Social Work

    Join Lou for a conversation with Joe Palombo, Founding Dean of the Institute for Clinical Social Work and Director of the Center for Neuroscience and Psychoanalytic Social Work. Joe’s work specializes in connecting the dots between neuroscience and dynamic psychotherapy,… Read More ›

  • A Rumor of Empathy in Odessa – and at Yivo

    How Things Were Done is Odessa is a humorous – tragic story of the Yiddish mafia (try to get your head around that!) by Isaac Babel about life in Odessa. Jonathan Brent is reportedly working on a biography of Isaac Babel, and Jon has many insights to share about the joys of Yiddish life and his work in the archives. Not to be missed!

  • Lessons Learned: Update in the Battle Against Domestic Violence

    Three women a day die as the result of domestic violence [DV] ( Join me for an “on the air” conversation with Radhika Sharma, education coordinator at Apha Ghar (Our Home, on the VoiceAmerica Empowerment Internet radio channel (click… Read More ›

  • Galileo’s Middle Finger: What Happens When Science Collides With “Empathy” (in Quotation Marks)


    Join me for a conversation on Radio Empathy (click here for show) with Alice Dreger about the conflict between scientific evidence and some interpretations of social justice and “empathy” (in quotation marks). Dreger starts out as a graduate student exploring the condition… Read More ›

  • Listening to Killers by James Garbarino – An Interview with Lou Agosta


    Join me for an “on the air” interview with Jim on the VoiceAmerica Empowerment Internet Radio network [click to listen]: A Rumor of Empathy in Listening to Killers – with replay available shortly after April 22nd. James Garbarino presents lessons… Read More ›

  • Empathy: What it is and why it matters

    EMPATHY: Cover art

    Join me for an engaging, live “on the air conversation” with David Howe, author of Empathy: What it is and why it matters. David Howe begins with the idea that empathy humanizes people and their relationships. Empathy is about our shared… Read More ›

  • UPDATE: A Rumor of Empathy at Affectiva: Reading Faces and Facial Coding Schemes Using Computer Systems

    Enigmatic Micro Expression

    UPDATE: Join Lou Agosta, host of a Rumor of Empathy, and his guest Dan McDuff, Principal Scientist Affectiva software, for an on the air conversation about the emotions on the Wednesday April 8, 2015 at noon CDT on the VoiceAmerican… Read More ›

  • Predictions and Trends in Empathy for 2015


    Looking for patterns, this top ten list engages trends, innovations, and surprises that promote or narrow the expansion of empathy in the community. By definition, empathy is knowing what the other feels because I feel it too; not as a… Read More ›

  • A Rumor of Empathy: Rewriting Empathy in the Context of Philosophy, the book, now available….

    aRumorOfEmpathy:RewritingCover Art

    Here is the short version of the short  version: The deep, underground history of empathy is surfaced and reconstructed in Hume, Kant, Lipps, Freud, Scheler, Stein, and Husserl. A rumor of empathy is engaged in vicarious feeling, receptivity, empathic understanding, empathic interpretation, and… Read More ›

  • A Rumor of Empathy in the Struggle Against Domestic Violence (Update: 2014-03-21)

    Here is a sixteen minute educational video produced and edited by yours truly featuring Serena Low, Executive Director of Apna Ghar (“Our Home”) which operates a shelter and crisis hot line for women in Chicago. She nets out a forty… Read More ›

  • Heidegger’s Special Hermeneutic of Empathy in Being and Time…the Movie

    This educational video includes a presentation by Lou Agosta on Heidegger’s call for a special hermeneutic of empathy in Heidegger’s book Being and Time.  The different aspects of such a Heideggerian inquiry into and definition of empathy are spelled out… Read More ›

  • A Rumor of Empathy…in Mud and Squalor…the Movie

    “Mud and Squalor” is the nick name of the US Army Air Corps base out of which in 1943 David James and his mentor, Carroll Langston, flew  P-51 single engine, pursuit aircraft during World War II. Mr. James talks about… Read More ›

  • A Rumor of Empathy at Apna Ghar in the Fight Against Gender Violence …. the Movie

    This is an on camera interview with Serena Low, Executive Director, Apna Ghar (“Our Home”), captured on December 13, 2012. Apna Ghar (“Our Home”) operates a Hot Line and Shelter for women who are dealing with domestic abuse, intimate partner… Read More ›

  • Heidegger on the Emotions in the Rhetoric of Aristotle

    Heidegger on Aristotle's Rhetoric

    In BEING AND TIME, Heidegger famously notes that the analysis of the affects (pathe) has taken barely one step forward since book II of Aristotle’s RHETORIC (H139). This Hot Link is an essay on this subject published in Philosophy Today… Read More ›

  • Empathy in the Context of Philosophy, the book and comments on it

    Cover Art: Empathy in the Context of Philosophy

    I am humbled by the comments of my colleagues, friends, and associates. “An insightful and provocative exploration of a topic that has only recently begun to receive the attention it deserves and the conceptual clarity needed for a proper understanding…. Read More ›

  • Empathy Lesson: Empathy, Capitalist Tool

    Empathy, Capitalist Tool: In this video (two parts) – Lou Agosta is interviewed by Brandon Hamilton about business and empathy on the Russ Meeks Speaks show (Channel 21, Chicago (RCN)) on October 20, 2017 / November 04, 2017. This is… Read More ›

  • Historical Empathy and the 2nd Amendment: About Guns

    Putting ourselves in the situation of people who lived years ago in a different historical place and time is a challenge to our empathy. It requires historical empathy. How do we get “our heads around” a world that was fundamentally… Read More ›

  • Empathy and Neuroscience Class: Register Now [UChicago Graham School]


    Empathy is oxygen for the soul. So if you are feeling short of breath due to life stresses, perhaps one needs expanded empathy. Get some here. This is what you need to know to register. Further details on the course content… Read More ›

  • Psychiatry and Horror – in the Movies!

    In addition to mastering the unknown through its depiction, the “pay off” is to confront images of the fragmentation of the self, annihilation of the self, and loss of control of the self’s boundaries. That is perhaps why audiences are strangely attracted to horror films. They give a specific form to our most primitive fears, binding these deep fears to a specific something that can be objectified and can be overcome by the cinematic equivalent of the “cavalry to the rescue” or even by counter magic. It should be noted that people run from the theatre if they believe their lives are really in danger; but the views stay in their seats, having actually paid money to be frightened vicariously by the experience of watching a horror film.

  • 10 Top Empathy Trends and Predictions for 2017

    This work aims to be educational in a brain-storming way about the role of empathy in the community and the market for empathy services. Hanna Holborn Gray has said that “education should not be intended to make people comfortable, it is meant to make them think.” I hereby also add: The intention of education is to expand one’s empathy. Amazingly enough that is not as comfortable as many people might imagine, which brings up to the first trend – resistance to empathy.