Time was when it was a bold statement of the obvious that reading a good book expands one’s empathy. It’s summer in the city of Chicago. People are going to the beach, the park, leaving town for the wilderness or… Read More ›
Beam is a would-be “bad girl,” who has written a very good book. In a world of constrained, limited empathy, the empathic person is a non-conformist. Beam is one of those, too, and succeeds in sustaining a nuanced skepticism about the alternating hype and over-valuation of empathy over against those who summarily dismiss it. Most ambivalently, she calls out the corporate infatuation with empathy. I paraphrase the corporate approach: Take a walk in the other person’s shoes in order to sell them another pair.
Empathy breaks down into emotional contagion. Empathy breaks down in conformity and the closing off of possibilities for flourishing. Empathy breaks down in projection. Empathy breaks down in devaluing and cynical language, in which our humanity literally gets lost in translation. These are not the only ways that empathy fails, but they are the Big Four. How to overcome them?
This book contains some thirty (30) empathy lessons for life. A key empathy lesson that explicitly addresses empathy training: remove the resistance to empathy—obstacles such as cynicism, shame, guilt, aggression, narcissism, devaluing language, and so on—and empathy spontaneously shows up, comes… Read More ›
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 ›
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 ›
Most people think that empathy is compassion; and, heavens knows, the world needs more compassion. But empathy and compassion are distinct.