Author Archives

Dedicated to the commitment that empathy becomes less of a rumor and more of an expanded reality in the community...

  • Empathy versus bullying: The biggest bully in my life

    Classic, standard bully: Bill Sikes from Dickens' Oliver Twist

    Since the bullying is a boundary violation, the way to reestablish empathy and order (where “order” means common courtesy) is to reestablish the boundary between persons.

  • Empathy as presence – online and in shared physical space

    Cover art: Screen Relations by Gillian Isaacs Russell

    The ontological definition of empathy as “being in the presence of another human being without anything else added” – anything else such as judgment, evaluation, memory, desire, hostility, and the many factors that make us unavailable to be in relationship. Though Gillian Isaacs Russell uses the word “empathy” in a specific psychological sense, I would argue that her work on “presence” is consistent with and contributes to an enlarged sense of empathic relatedness that builds community.   

  • Reclaiming Empathy in Online Therapy: An Imaginary Conversation with Sherry Turkle

    Arnon (Rolnick PhD) and Lou discussing online therapy, online empathy, and Sherry Turkle's memoire The Empathy Diaries

    Professor Turkle, Sherry, launches a Jeremiad – remember the Prophet Jeremiah? – against buzzing, beeping, interrupting devices, which give us acquired attention deficit, and carries her concerns in the direction of online therapy. If empathy is being copresent with another person, where is the empathy online? Find out in the engaging conversation between Lou and Arnon about Sherry’s penetrating and incisive work!

  • Resistance to Empathy (Part 1): Organizational Resistance to Empathy and How to Overcome It

    Resistance to empathy: like Sisyphus pushing that boulder up hill?!

    that make organizations successful are not always the qualities that enhance their empathy. Hear me say it, and not for the last time: the things that make us good at business, including the corporate transformation of American medicine and education, do not always expand our empathy. What to do about it? The battle is joined. The recommendation? Let your customers, constituents, or stake-holders train you in empathy: Realize that if you do not respond empathically, the customers are just going to go quietly to the competitor that does. Empathy is good for business. If the customer has a complaint that he is having trouble expressing, then use one’s listening skills to get to the bottom of things.

  • The Natural Empath Encounters the Good Samaritan

    The Parable of the Good Samaritan: Two experience empathic distress and pass by - the Samaritan recognizes his neighbor in the survivor

    curate. Cross the street away from the neighbor to “down regulate” your empathy, and experience less empathic distress; and cross the street towards your neighbor to expand your empathy in the direction of creating an inclusive community of persons, who recognize the value of cooperation. 

  • Review: Galileo’s Middle Finger by Alice Dreger – Speaking Truth to Power – and Power Talks Back

    Cover art: Galileo's Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and One Scholar's Search for Justice by Alice Dreger

    A scientist has not been burned at the stake in over 350 years – and even then it was Giordano Bruno, not Galileo. Find out how Professor Alice Dreger (PhD) become an advocate for survivors of intersex sexual reassignment surgery and she becomes a strong candidate to be burned in effigy by those for whom she was advocating.

  • Perform a Readiness Assessment: A Rigorous and Critical Empathy

    A Rigorous and Critical Empathy t-shirt, courtesy of the UChicago Community Outreach Program and Xavier Remy

    Empathy is never needed more than when it seems there is no time for it. Empathy is never needed more than when it seems the budget does not allow for it. Empathy is never needed more than when the cynicism and resignation about life, whether in the family or the corporate jungle, are so thick you can’t catch your breath.

  • EDITED OUT while being assessed for publication: Review: The Empathy Diaries: A Memoir by Sherry Turkle

    Cover Art: The Empathy Diaries by Sherry Turkle

    The short review: the title, The Empathy Diaries: A Memoir (Sherry Turkle New York: Penguin Press, 2021, 357 pp.) reveals that empathy lives, comes forth, in empathy’s breakdowns and failings. Empathy often emerges in clarifying a lack of empathy. This work might have been entitled, less elegantly, “The Lack of Empathy Diaries.” I found the book to be a compellingly written, even a page-turner at times, highly recommended, but, caution, this is not a “soft ball” review.”

  • The Case of Dr Know-It-All: Empathy gives us our humanity

    One does not need a philosopher to tell one what empathy is. What then does one need? How about a folktale, a fairy tale, a Märchen? Rather than start with a definition of empathy, my proposal is to start by telling a couple of stories, in which empathy (and its breakdown) plays a crucial role. Both stories are anonymous folktales from the collection edited by the Brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. The distilled wisdom of the ages accumulated in traditional anonymous narratives will do nicely. Now available to listen on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/6pCIwUknKqxZwIqau0m1YW

  • Review: Politics of Empathy by Anthony Clohesy

    Cover art: Politics of Empathy by Anthony Clohesy

    Clohesy’s big idea is that empathy is about identity and similarity, but it is just as fundamentally about differences. Key term: empathy of differences. This provides a powerful angle on that vexing issue of empathy and ethics, which has the frustrating aspect of being a chicken and egg dilemma.