February 24, 2011

Empathy and Compassion

With all the political unrest here in Wisconsin over the past ten days, and even prior to that, with the last few election cycles, I’ve been thinking a lot about compassion and reflecting on a talk I went to last year by Jeremy Rifkin. “Empathy is the invisible hand.” This video does a nice job of summarizing his theory that we, as a species, need to move towards becoming and embracing our empathic nature.


  1. Great video. Thank you for posting it!

    Comment by nichole — February 24, 2011 @ 10:32 am

  2. This is a good reminder during a lot of upheaval, you’re right. I like how Rifkin is able to incorporate different research into an argument for compassion and how he raises the point that maybe we are not hardwired to respond violently.

    I’m taking a neuropsych class right now and we’ve learned about how MRI can be used on coma patients while showing them a picture of someone playing tennis or asking them to picture themselves playing tennis and then seeing if the appropriate regions of the brain (the “mirror neurons”) are active. They’ve discovered activity even in patients whom they thought couldn’t hear or respond at all, so it’s an interesting study.

    Comment by arielle — February 24, 2011 @ 5:17 pm

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