Friday, January 4, 2013
Humane Educator's Toolbox: The Power of Outrospection
Enough navel gazing! It's time to look outward to know ourselves, and to help create a better world!, says philosopher and author Roman Krznaric. In this 10 minute video (animated by RSA Animate) Krznaric argues for a turn to "outrospection." He focuses on the power of empathy as a revolutionary tool for changing the world.
In outlining his argument, he uses powerful examples, such as strategies being used to bring about peace between Palestine and Israel. He also talks about the power of empathy as a mass force -- something that happens on a collective scale.
Krznaric also stresses that it's important to expand the reach of our empathy. He says we need to empathize with those in power. We need to understand their values, motivations, needs, etc., and "only then are we going to be able to develop effective strategies for social, political, and economic transformation."
He also highlights the need to "apply our more ambitious thinking in policy realms such as climate change." He says that the gap remains so large between what we know about these issues and the actions we are taking, because we are failing to empathize through both space (the impact on those far away) and time (the impact on future generations).
Krznaric calls for bringing empathy into our daily lives, and for creating mechanisms to expand the reach and depth of empathy. One idea he shares are empathy museums, which are interactive places where people are put into situations in which they gain some personal experience with these important global ethical issues (such as talking to other people with diverse views, making something in sweatshop conditions, learning about the impact of food choices right in the cafeteria, etc.).
Krznaric's talk is a great springboard for exploring the role of connection and empathy in creating a better world. And while Krznaric limits his vision to empathy for people, these concepts can (and must) be extended to nonhuman animals and the earth itself, as well.
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