Empathy and Outrospection

Cognitive empathy… is about perspective taking, about stepping into somebody else’s world, almost like an actor looking through the eyes of their character. It’s about understanding somebody else’s worldview, their beliefs, their fears, the experiences that shape how they look at the world and how they look at themselves. We make assumptions about people. We have prejudices about people, which block us from seeing their uniqueness, their individuality. We use labels, and highly empathic people get beyond those labels by nurturing their curiosity about others… I think we need to think about bringing empathy into our everyday lives in a very sort of habitual way. Socrates said that the way to live a wise life was to know thyself, and we’ve generally thought of that as being about being self reflective, looking in at ourselves. It’s been about introspection. But I think that in the twenty-first century we need to recognize that to know thyself is something that can also be achieved by stepping outside yourself by discovering other people’s lives. And I think empathy is the way to revolutionize our own philosophies of life, to become more outrospective and to create the revolution of human relationships that I think we so desperately need.
— Roman Krznaric, The Power of Outrospection, http://bit.ly/SI2gI0
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