[H2] Towards Unity
Compassion is the ability to feel for another living being. Empathy is the ability to not only understand another’s feelings, but also to become one with that person’s distress: to put yourself in their shoes and imagine what they’re going through in that situation.
Naturally, these are prerequisites for a community, or a country, to achieve a state of respectfulness, openness and unity.
We invite you to read, explore, comment, and suggest other resources we might include here!
“Paul Ekman’s Taxonomy of Compassion”
The renowned psychologist offers a lesson in emotional intelligence, revealing the similarities between Darwin’s and the Dalai Lama’s perspectives on compassion, and presenting an overview of different forms of compassion, ranging from the most elementary to the most exceptional and heroic. (Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, June 21, 2010)
The Charter for Compassion was born out of a prize-winning TEDTalk in 2008 by author and religious historian Karen Armstrong about her wish to create, launch, and propagate a global compassion movement based on the golden rule. The charter sets out the basic principles by which signatories agree to live.
This section of the website, linked above, includes language on the Role of Compassion in Community Building and the Contagion of Compassionate Actions.
“Teaching (with) empathy and compassion in schools” (The World Bank blog, Aug 25, 2017)
From the article: “We need to teach children to be aware and in control of their impulses and emotions so that they are able to focus on how others feel without dismissing their own feelings or letting them get in the way. Only then will empathy and compassion build true connectedness.”
This evidence-based article talks about different types of empathy including situations in which it can be used to help or deceive others and in other circumstances to desensitize ourselves for protection. (The Conversation Jan 8, 2017)
Read about St. Francis of Assisi, Beatrice Webb, John Howard Griffin, Günther Wallraff and Patricia Moore — and consider practicing experiential empathy. (Yes! Magazine Nov 6, 2014)
“The Empathy Top Five: Who are the greatest empathists of all time?”
According to cultural historian and author Roman Krznaric, they are C.P. Ellis, American segregationist turned civil rights activist and trade union organizer; Indian activist Mahatma Gandhi; the American abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe; author George Orwell, for shining a light on neglected and marginalized communities in British society; and Hilary Swank playing Brandon Teena in Boys Don’t Cry. (https://www.romankrznaric.com Mar 27, 2010)
See Krznaric’s YouTube video on “The Six Habits of Highly Empathic People” below
The term hasn’t been around for long and the meaning is still debated. For The New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof, “empathy is a willingness to understand an individual’s situation, a cognitive and emotional exercise that could in turn inspire compassion.” (The Atlantic Oct 15, 2015)
We can cultivate empathy throughout our lives and use it as a radical force for social transformation. It begins with cultivating curiosity about strangers. … (Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, Nov 27, 2012)
Empathy: Why It Matters, and How to Get It (Roman Krznaric, Perigee/Penguin © 2015)
(YouTube Mar 21, 2012)
(YouTube, Jun 17, 2010)