A Case For Nurturing and Developing Empathy – 21st Century Solutions

Book cover, The Empathic Civilization, J. Rifkin, via foet.org

Source: Foundation for Economic Trends, foet.org

Dear Readers!

My drum-beat is that we (all of us, the world over) have gone as far as we can go with ‘old paradigms’ of how the world works, and of how human beings work. I insist the 20th Century brought us several key sets of insights that we can use to understand limitations of old, entrenched, ideas about ourselves.  These  key insights from the 20th, are ‘perfect provision’ for us, as we take  21st Century responsibility to shift from old paradigms.

A set of three ‘packages of insights’ that challenged ‘old’ paradigms arrived early in the 20th, from Einstein, Marx, and the set who approached psychology as a science, (Freud, Jung, and Adler.) To me it’s nothing short of astonishing that these questioner/thinkers ‘happened’ to deliver their findings at approximately the same time – as the 19th Century turned to the 20th.

Throughout our 100 years of ‘exploring and developing’ challenges from these thinkers, others have offered gifts of equally astonishing size and value: Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Buckminster Fuller, for example. They’re not the only individuals who delivered such immense gifts, they happen to be among those who’ve caught my attention.

A review of writings and teachings of each lets us realize that each was strongly oriented to “humanity as a whole”. Generally they were not only ‘questioners/thinkers’, they were designers of systems – of practical solutions and skill-sets  – ideas applied to real needs – that they hoped would be of benefit.

Most of them were also viewed with skepticism. Most of the skepticism was due to our comfort in ‘old’ paradigms, (“the devil we know”).

Buckminster Fuller said: “It is essential to release humanity from the false fixations of yesterday, which seem now to bind it to a rationale of action leading only to extinction.”

The statement speaks directly to the problem with ‘old’ paradigms – not ‘just a little problem’, an extinction problem!

Throughout the late 20th Century and into current times, assorted questioner/thinkers continue to enthusiastically churn away on behalf of “humanity as a whole”. They broaden and deepen the study, and – wonderfully – they share. There are also many of these people! One is Jeremy Rifkin, (author, speaker, teacher, President of Foundation On Economic Trends). I’ve had ‘bits’ of disagreement with Rifkin’s ideas from time to time, but generally have been an enthusiast.

This 10 minute video animation-summary of Jeremy Rifkin’s Empathic Civilization is based on his book of the same name, and on an address to The Royal Society of Arts. (The RSA supplies the animation-summary – see below for link to full, 50-min, talk given by Rifkin.) What Rifkin says in the summary is in complete solidarity with the purpose of Thoughts From The Well. (And – predictably – what he says  challenges old, entrenched, paradigms!)

My Best! –MaggieAnn
(The 10 minute animated film is offered by the Royal Society of Arts and covers information offered by Rifkin in an address to the RSA. Rifkin’s full talk is also posted on YouTube, 50 minutes.)


About maggieannthoeni

A description once given of me was "rooted in the earth while roaming the stars" - and this has felt 'right'. I believe in something akin to this for each of us. I am a passionate supporter of discovering the autonomous self while serving the whole as primary intent. I believe in discovery of innate principles, clearing the overlay of socialization that obscures this from us. I believe it is our responsibility to leave no one behind - most particularly to respond to suffering as best we can whereever we find it, whenever we are made aware. I believe in this for the insect as well as the most magnificent form of humanity. I believe in brother/sisterhood without boundary. I believe in righteous indignation when it is appropriate, but do not believe in an enemy. I believe in consciousness, in intelligence, in logic, in rationality, in emotion, in transcendence - and am convinced until we generally practice explore and honor all this in ourselves, we remain profoundly immature. (I believe real maturity is known and practiced by many young children, and not enough adults!)
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