RSA Animate - The Empathic Civilisation

"Political adviser and social and ethical prophet Jeremy Rifkin investigates the evolution of empathy and the profound ways that it has shaped our development and our society."

Jeremy Rifkin describes how humans evolved from empathy to blood-ties, to empathy with religious ties, to empathy with national ties, to empathy for the human race with the biosphere. We have the capacity to empathize with other races, other cultures, other creatures. We evolve into "homo impathicus".

No more racism, no anti-feminism, no religionism, no nationalism, no homophobia and no more dominionism.  

  

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This rings true to me. Thanks, Joan.

Good. He makes sense to me, too. 

It's good to see that we animals are soft-wired for empathy across all our man-made boundaries.  It gives me hope that future generations and societies may naturally develop to view our existence and connection to each other with a more global and unifying perspective.  I do, however, unfortunately see this as a continuous uphill battle, as selfishness and exclusivity are powerful behaviors to overcome.         

Yes, a continuous battle. The good news, we have what it takes to stand and speak our piece and support each other. I like your gentleness and your ways of writing things. 

I've only become a more outspoken person in recent years, Joan.  I now wish I had been more assertive when I was a young adult, but I guess it just wasn't a part of my natural personality.  I'm not an abrasive person, but as I've grown older, wisdom, experience and the desire to affect change have made me much more vocal about issues I've always cared about:  equality, kindness, empathy, fairness, etc. 

Thanks for the kind words.  You've been an inspiration to me on many occasions. 

Technology can help elicit and extend our empathy. I discovered this article a few days ago:

Virtual Superpowers Encourage Real-World Empathy (ScienceDaily)

If you give people superpowers, will they use those abilities for good?

Researchers at Stanford recently investigated the subject by giving people the ability of Superman-like flight in the university's Virtual Human Interaction Laboratory (VHIL). While several studies have shown that playing violent videogames can encourage aggressive behavior, the new research suggests that games could be designed to train people to be more empathetic in the real world.

...

One at a time, 30 men and 30 women entered the simulator and strapped on a set of goggles that transported them into a digital cityscape. A woman's voice then explained their mission: A diabetic child is stranded somewhere in the city, and you must find him and deliver an insulin injection.

With a whoosh of air, the subjects left the ground -- either controlling their flight by a series of arm motions, like Superman, or as a passenger in a helicopter. [...]

After removing the virtual reality goggles, each person then sat with an experimenter to answer a few questions about the experience. This questionnaire, however, was a ruse: During the interview, the experimenter would "accidentally" knock over a cup filled with 15 pens. [...]

The pen experiment is a standard test for gauging empathy [...]

"It's very clear that if you design games that are violent, peoples' aggressive behavior increases," Bailenson said. "If we can identify the mechanism that encourages empathy, then perhaps we can design technology and video games that people will enjoy and that will successfully promote altruistic behavior in the real world."

Grinning Cat, this experiment really stimulates my interest! There always is the question, does violence on TV encourage aggression. We did some experiments over 30 years ago that revealed violence TV watching correlated positively with aggressive behavior.
This research you found offers an interesting question:
"It's very clear that if you design games that are violent, peoples' aggressive behavior increases," Bailenson said. "If we can identify the mechanism that encourages empathy, then perhaps we can design technology and video games that people will enjoy and that will successfully promote altruistic behavior in the real world."
Thanks for this Grinning Cat!

And speaking of anti-feminism, the misogynistic, non-empathic definition of "Atheism Plus" on Urban Dictionary has thousands more thumbs up than thumbs down; vice versa for the more positive definition.

It says something when this:

...frauds... their goal is to subvert atheism with the religion of feminist indoctrination and bitch about non existent misogyny... nothing more than dogmatic feminists trying to commandeer the atheist movement...

seems overwhelmingly more popular than this:

...dedicated to promoting social justice along with skepticism and critical thinking... We are... Atheists PLUS we care about social justice, Atheists PLUS we support women’s rights, Atheists PLUS we protest racism...

True, those who go to that page to vote are a self-selected sample! (And ballot box stuffing can't be ruled out.)

There's a discussion here on A/N: Urban Dictionary battle over Atheism+

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