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Steven Meglitsch

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Are we capable of creating the global empathetic civilization?

I was fascinated a year or so ago to watch a YouTube vid from the The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) called «The Empathetic Civilization» (link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7AWnfFRc7g ) featuring a lecture by American economist Jeremy Rifkin. The gist of the message seemed to be that the human brain is softwired to be empathetic, and that history has been gradually expanding the scope of human empaty as civilization develops from close blood ties via regious groups to national identities, and even beyond.

What seems to be the problem? We have the knowledge and technology to communicate, identify and empathize with the whole of humanity, or even with the entire Biosphere – why can't we take the next step?


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    Nov 26 2012: To answer you in one phrase: Because their is no money in it.

    Social change/global awareness we see in our current world is thanks to a very low percentage of people who have courage and humanity to think beyond themselves.

    I am a business student myself and believe me it is disgusting what they teach us- basically it is all bout bottom line.
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      Nov 26 2012: Dear Kareem,
      As an insightful student, you are in a prime position to change the paradigm. I totally agree with you...it takes courage and humanity to think beyond ourselves. It seems like you have already started to do so. I appreciate your forward thinking, and I'm sure you will do well in our world, because you ARE thinking and feeling beyond yourself and the bottom line...kudos to you my friend:>)
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      Nov 26 2012: One of the biggest barriers we face is our blind trust in money as the solution to everything.

      A friend of mine (French) who was going through business school (in Norway) at the time (he found out brutally, in the '80s, that his degrees in literature, history and philosophy didn't provide him any career options) told me after his first year: "Oh, there's nothing difficult about it, you don't need to use your brain. I have now been a student here for a year and nobody on campus, neither the students ror the professors has engaged me in any high-level discussion about theory. Everybody reads the textbooks and accepts that economy and finance follow irrefutable laws of nature."

      I agree with you both, Kareem and Colleen, With Kareem for pointing out one of the biggest obstacles to reaching the next level of human empathy - our addiction to money and profit, and with Colleen for pointing out that virtually anyone is capable of changing their way of thinking and start walking in a new, better direction.

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