One soldier, gazing in disbelief at the enemy lines, said the blazed trenches looked "like the footlights of a theater." Adam Smith would, no doubt, be incredulous. At the time of publication, the 64-year-old Rifkin was working as an advisor to the European Union concerning issues relating to the economy, climate change, and energy security, as well as president of the American non-profit organization the Foundation on Economic Trends. I find myself quoting it a lot. The reconciliation commissions and restorative justice programs are a formal recognition that the question of morality extends beyond the issue of fairness to include the equally important issue of caring and that righting a wrong includes emotional reparations as well as criminal convictions. Download for offline reading, highlight, bookmark or take notes while you read The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis. Please try your request again later. Unlike sympathy, which is more passive, empathy conjures up active engagement—the willingness of an observer to become part of another's experience, to share the feeling of that experience. Our journey begins at the crossroads where the laws of energy that govern the universe come up against the human inclination to continually transcend our sense of isolation by seeking the companionship of others in ever more complex energy-consuming social arrangements. Jeremy Rifkin. For Freud, reality is imposing restraints and constraints, first in the form of toilet training and scheduled feedings. They are unexpected and, therefore, trigger alarm and heighten our interest. He wrote. They chose to be human. Part III reports on the current race to global peak empathy against the backdrop of an ever-quickening entropic destruction of the Earth's biosphere. Our official chroniclers— the historians—have given short shrift to empathy as a driving force in the unfolding of human history. The thought of extinction, first raised with the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945 by the U.S. government, now takes on an even more dramatic urgency with the report by James Hansen, the head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, that human-induced climate change, brought on by a voracious global economy, might lead to a six-degree rise in the Earth's temperature by the end of the century, or shortly thereafter, and the demise of civilization as we've come to know it. Yet what transpired in the battlefields of Flanders on Christmas Eve 1914 between tens of thousands of young men had nothing to do with original sin or productive labor. The answer is that tales of misdeeds and woe surprise us. Locke believed that "[t]he negation of nature is the way toward happiness.". A massively absorbing book detailing how Empathy permeates our life.it is a most positive reading . Read this book using Google Play Books app on your PC, android, iOS devices. We have to remember that as recently as six generations ago, our great-great-grandparents—living circa mid-to-late 1880s—were not encultured to think therapeutically. If we can imagine that possibility, we can save our species and our planet! Soon hundreds followed. The second surrogate mother was far less comfortable. Hoffman and others don't discount the role cognition plays—what psychologists call "empathic accuracy." The differentiation process pulls individuals away from the collective tribal "we" to an ever more individual "I." The infants were, for the most part, well-fed, well-supervised, and kept in germ-free environments. A century later, the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham qualified the idea of happiness by suggesting that the universal human condition boiled down to the avoidance of pain and the optimizing of pleasure. There has been a steady rise in interest in the import and impact of empathy on consciousness and social development over the past century. His only answer to the nightmare of human existence was to call for the tight hand of government authority to keep people from killing each other in a war of "each against all.". It is packed with invaluable information and insight about steering a (relatively) safe course through the sometimes rough seas of our rapidly changing, interconnected world. Reconciliation commissions bring together those who have committed the crimes and their victims. Archaic men and women were nomadic and communal. At the cusp of the modern era, the British philosopher Thomas Hobbes quipped that "the life of man [is] solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." Meanwhile, service learning has revolutionized the school experience. The essential task at hand is to examine the depths of the conundrum of human history, to fully explore its workings and pathways and twists and turns so that we might find a way out of our predicament. [6] The Empathic Civilization was contrasted to the book Crisis Economics by Nouriel Roubini and Stephen Mihm, as reaching different conclusions but being complementary by offering valid alternative futures different from contemporary belief in social progress. Nonetheless, Linux works and has become a competitor with Microsoft on the world stage. Infants responded almost immediately. But these increasingly more complicated milieus require more extensive energy use and speed us toward resource depletion. The Empathic Civilization speaks to our despair when we confront the horrific effects of global warming, financial meltdown, and war. The irony is that our growing empathic awareness has been made possible by an ever-greater consumption of the Earth's energy and other resources, resulting in a dramatic deterioration of the health of the planet. Empathy shares emotional territory with sympathy but is markedly different. American philosopher and psychologist George Herbert Mead argued that every human being takes on the role of another in order to assess that person's thoughts, behavior, and intentions, and thus create an appropriate response. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. Oh this book. They were untutored in the notion of unconscious drives and terms like transference and projection. They talked about where they hailed from, reminisced about Christmases past, and joked about the absurdity of war. Rifkin provides a history of empathy in psychology, including how it relates to the works of Freudian psychology, Melanie Klein, Ronald Fairbairn, Heinz Kohut, and Donald Winnicott, leading to John Bowlby and Attachment Theory. Governance, which traditionally had been structured around cohort groups, marking the passage of life from infancy to old age, made way for abstract rule in the hands of a single ruler who exercised absolute power. Recent discoveries in brain science and child development are forcing us to rethink the long-held belief that human beings are, by nature, aggressive, materialistic, utilitarian, and self-interested. A few men from both sides crawled out of their trenches and began to walk across the no-man's-land toward each other. No other creature has left such a destructive footprint on the Earth. Part I is given over to an examination of the new view of human nature that is emerging in the natural and social sciences and in the humanities, with the discovery of Homoempathicus. Rifkin says that our customary feeling, thinking, and acting are no longer relevant to the world we have created and that humanity is on the cusp of its greatest experiment: to refashion our consciousness in order to live and flourish in the new globalizing society. I will buy the hardcover; I have to. .Let any one consider what the difference is between an acre of land planted with tobacco or sugar, sown with wheat or barley, and an acre of the same land lying in common, without any husbandry upon it, and he will find, that the improvement of labour makes the far greater part of the value. His utilitarian spin was later sexualized by Sigmund Freud at the turn of the twentieth century in the form of the pleasure principle. The conditions were hellish. A growing number of child development psychologists now argue the contrary—that a sense of selfhood and self-awareness depends on and feeds off of deepening relationships to other people. A radical new view of human nature is emerging in the biological and cognitive sciences and creating controversy in intellectual circles, the business community, and government. Even officers at the front participated, although when the news filtered back to the high command in the rear, the generals took a less enthusiastic view of the affair. For 93 percent of our species' existence we lived as foragers/hunters in small tribal groups of between 30 and 150 people. Cooperation bests competition. Hardcover. (We will examine the powerful paradigmatic impact the new empathic surge is having across the global society in Part III: The Age of Empathy.). Rifkin argues in favour of relationalism, that the meaning of existence is to enter into relationships. Rifkin extrapolates the observed trend into the future, predicting that Internet and mobile technology along with small-scale renewable energy commercialization will create an era of distributed capitalism necessary to manage the new energy regime and a heightened global empathy that can help solve global problems. Ofttimes empathizing with another person's joy comes from a deep personal knowledge of their past struggles, making their joy all the more valued and vicariously felt. more. Our empathy is spreading across the globe to embrace all humanity. It is his own advantage, indeed, and not that of society, which he has in view. The Empathic Civilization is emerging. The first hint that such might be the case—at least in scientific literature— occurred in an obscure laboratory study by psychologist Harry Harlow in 1958 at the University of Wisconsin. The difficulty lies in the evolutionary process itself. Resolving the empathy/entropy paradox will likely be the critical test of our species' ability to survive and flourish on Earth in the future. A lightbulb radiating heat was placed behind the surrogate. The reality is that each new, more complex energy-consuming civilization in history increases the pace, flow, and density of human exchange and creates more connectivity between people. Rifkin says that our customary feeling, thinking, and acting are no longer relevant to the world we have created and that humanity is on the cusp of its greatest experiment: to refashion our consciousness in order to live and flourish in the new globalizing society. I think in some real sense, he is weeping for joy. The idea behind this global software business is to encourage thousands of people to empathize with the plight of others who are experiencing glitches with their software programming and codes and freely give time and expertise to help solve their problems. The surreal "Christmas truce" ended as abruptly as it began—all in all, a small blip in a war that would end in November 1918 with 8.5 million military deaths in the greatest episode of human carnage in the annals of history until that time. Reviewed in the United States on September 4, 2020. This is the process that characterizes what we call civilization. Finally, we turn our attention to the fledgling Third Industrial Revolution that is ushering in a new era of "distributed capitalism" and the beginning of biosphere consciousness. Empathic development and the development of selfhood go hand in hand and accompany the increasingly complex energy-consuming social structures that make up the human journey. The cognitive proponents, in their theories, came close to suggesting—although not overtly—that empathy is an instrumental value, a taking of measure of the other to advance one's own social interest and maintain appropriate social relations. The Empathic Civilization examines the radical new view of human nature that is emerging in the biological and cognitive sciences, and creating controversy in intellectual circles, the business community, and government. This is a very important book and it will be a shame, perhaps even a tragedy, if it does not command a very wide readership. Rifkin argues that at the very core of the human story is the paradoxical relationship between empathy and entropy. Some schools in the United States have begun to revolutionize curricula to emphasize empathetic pedagogy alongside the more traditional intellectual and vocational programs. The book was noted for its heft, in terms of its actual page numbers, exhaustive research, and dense academic language. There was a problem loading your book clubs. solve.care decentralized healthcare and benefits administration launch. At the heart of the human saga is a catch-22— a contradiction of extraordinary significance—that has accompanied our species, if not from the very beginning, then at least from the time our ancestors began their slow metamorphosis from archaic to civilized beings thousands of years before Christ. The pages that follow reveal the dramatic story of the development of human empathy from the rise of the great theological civilizations, to the ideological age that dominated the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the psychological era that characterized much of the twentieth century, and the emerging dramaturgical period of the twenty-first century. In other words, it wasn't until human beings were developed enough in human selfhood that they could begin thinking about the nature of their innermost feelings and thoughts in relation to other people's innermost feelings and thoughts that they were able to recognize the existence of empathy, find the appropriate metaphors to discuss it, and probe the deep recesses of its multiple meanings. Though wordy, Rifkin provides a thorough, lucid overview of mankind's history along the "empathy/entropy" spectrum: Spencer's mischaracterization of "nature red in tooth and claw," replaced by a more sensitive understanding of the biological and sociological evolution; the progression of socio-economic communities-civilizations-from the Neolithic to the "Modern Market Economy"; the current "Age of Empathy," in which the dominance of one language (English), "backyard" energies (wind, solar, etc. There isn't any empathy in heaven because there's no mortality. Rifkin argues that at the very core of the human story is the paradoxical relationship between empathy and entropy. The victims bear public witness to the atrocities committed and talk openly about the physical and emotional suffering they experienced at the hands of the perpetrators. The everyday world is quite different. The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis. Understanding the contradiction that lies at the heart of the human saga is critical if our species is to renegotiate a sustainable relationship to the planet in time to step back from the abyss. [13] For example, Dudley was disappointed with the few references made to Marshall McLuhan and the lack of reference to the works of Julian Jaynes. Caveat emptor—let the buyer beware—has been replaced with the belief that all exchanges should be, above all, completely transparent. Description "One of the leading big-picture thinkers of our day" (Utne Reader) delivers his boldest work in this erudite, tough-minded, and far-reaching manifesto. Empathic distress is as old as our species and is traceable far back into our ancestral past, to our link with our primate relatives and, before them, our mammalian ancestors. Granted, some expropriation of other animals and manipulation of our environment is essential to maintain human sustenance, as is the case with every other mammalian species. The German philosopher and historian Wilhelm Dilthey borrowed the term from aesthetics and began to use it to describe the mental process by which one person enters into another's being and comes to know how they feel and think. Early evaluations of student performance in the few places where the new empathic approach to education has been implemented show a marked improvement in mindfulness, communications skills, and critical thinking as youngsters become more introspective, emotionally attuned, and cognitively adept at comprehending and responding intelligently and compassionately to others. Rifkin argues that a realistic hope for overcoming our present ecological crisis can derive from this new discovery of empathy in nature. Harlow and his team erected two artificial surrogate mothers. With scripts, there was a shift from a mythological consciousness to a theological consciousness; individuals thought of themselves less in terms of a small, local group and more with a monotheistic religion which included a personal relationship with a god. Most shared René Descartes's view of living creatures as "soulless automatons" whose movements were little different from those of the automated puppetry that danced upon the Strasbourg Clock. Evidence was already well in hand by then, showing that human infants exhibited similar behavior in foundling hospitals earlier in the century. Cambridge Polity Press also published the book in Australia and New Zealand beginning in March 2010. The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis is a 2010 non-fiction book written by Jeremy Rifkin. If there were any lingering doubt as to how close our species is coming to the very limits of its sustainability on Earth, a single statistic is revealing of our current state of affairs: Our scientists tell us that the nearly seven billion human beings now inhabiting the Earth make up less than 1 percent of the total biomass of all the Earth's consumers. 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