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Culture of Empathy Builder:  Arianna Huffington 
http://bit.ly/xD3MJR
 

 Arianna Huffington and Edwin Rutsch: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy.

Arianna Huffington is president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group.  She is the author of numerous books including, On Becoming Fearless...in Love, Work, and Life

Here
is an interview I did with Arianna via email.
 

How can we build a culture of empathy?

 

To a physicist a critical mass is the amount of radioactive material that must be present for a nuclear reaction to become self-sustaining. For the empathy movement, a critical mass is when the empathy habit is cultivated by enough people that it can begin to spread spontaneously. I think of it as an outbreak of a positive infection. And everyone has the potential to be a carrier. So one thing we can do is to spread it as widely as possible...  

 

I think the opposite of empathy is the projection of our own fears onto others. We've seen this over and over again throughout American history. In times of economic upheaval, when huge numbers of people are losing their jobs, losing their homes, and feeling powerless to do anything about it, it has always been the case that people look for scapegoats. Empathy is the antidote to that.
Sub Conference: Journalism and Media

 

 

 

2012-07-03 - Arianna Huffington and Edwin Rutsch: Dialogs on how to build a culture of empathy.
Here is a text based interview I did with Arianna via email.
 

Edwin
  1. Was there an 'aha' moment when you saw or experienced the power of empathy or was it a more gradual evolution?
     

Arianna
  It's always been an important subject to me, but if I had an 'aha' moment it was speaking to Jonas Salk, just before he died. Salk defined the transitional period we're in as moving from Epoch A (based on survival and competition) to Epoch B (based on collaboration and meaning). It put the idea of empathy into a much larger context for me.

Years later, in the 1990s, I wrote a book called The Fourth Instinct, which explored the instinct that takes us beyond our first three -- our impulses for survival, sex, and power -- and drives us to expand the boundaries of our caring to include our communities and the world around us. That instinct is just as vital as the other three but we rarely give it the same kind of attention.
 
     
     
     

 
  2. What is personally your most important value?
     
  Empathy is certainly among my most important values. And it's a quality that gains value for me as time goes on. In a world facing multiple crises, where we are paralyzed and polarized in our politics, there is an urgent need for us to summon our better angels and master our own gifts of identifying with other people's feelings. As Jeremy Rifkin wrote in The Empathic Civilization, empathy is not a quaint behavior to be trotted out during intermittent holiday visits to a food bank or during a post-disaster telethon. It lies at the very core of human existence. It's a value that’s vital both on the small personal scale and the large public scale.
     
     
     
 

3. How can we build a culture of empathy?

     
  To a physicist a critical mass is the amount of radioactive material that must be present for a nuclear reaction to become self-sustaining. For the empathy movement, a critical mass is when the empathy habit is cultivated by enough people that it can begin to spread spontaneously. I think of it as an outbreak of a positive infection. And everyone has the potential to be a carrier. So one thing we can do is to spread it as widely as possible.
 
     
     
     
  4. You said at Davos 2012, "we need a dramatic increase in empathy. There is a race against time at the moment, between the forces and voices of fear mongering that are appealing to our worst parts, to our lizard brains, and the forces of empathy." The relationship of fear and empathy seems to be at the heart or crux of the so many of our personal, social and cultural problems. Do you have stories of how you have taken a fear and empathized with it? What happened?
     
  It is natural to have fears. And fearlessness is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of fear. Empathy is just one of the tools we can use to arrive at that mastery. Fear and empathy really are mutually exclusive. If we choose to connect, to understand, the fear just disappears.

 
     
     
     
  5. How can progressives deepen their empathy for the fears that conservatives may have?
     
  I don’t believe in seeing everything through the outdated prism of left vs. right. What's left-wing about caring for the middle class, or the kids graduating from college and unable to get jobs? There are many politicians that use fear for political purposes, and exploit the entirely legitimate fear that millions of Americans have about their economic stability. They use it to divide us against one another with the idea that the American Dream is a zero-sum game. So it's important to realize that the way these fears manifest in a lot of people may be different than how the fear started.
     
     
     
  6. Typically, empathy is defined as the metaphor of; 'standing in someone else's shoes' or 'looking thought someone else's eyes.' For me empathy is like a cornucopia. What is your metaphor of what empathy is like? And would you elaborate on how your metaphor illustrates empathy?
     
  President Obama put it nicely in his speech responding to the shooting of then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, asking us to "expand our moral imaginations" and "widen the circle of our concern." We all have circles of concern -- our partners, our families, our communities, our country. And widening those circles should be a lifelong effort.
     
     
     
   7. What do you see as the opposite of empathy and what is your metaphor for that?
     
   I think the opposite of empathy is the projection of our own fears onto others. We've seen this over and over again throughout American history. In times of economic upheaval, when huge numbers of people are losing their jobs, losing their homes, and feeling powerless to do anything about it, it has always been the case that people look for scapegoats. Empathy is the antidote to that.

 

 

09/09/2013 - How to Immediately Improve Your Life (Hint: It Starts With Improving the Lives of Others)  Arianna Huffington

"Empathy, compassion, and giving -- which is simply empathy and compassion in action -- are the building blocks of our being. With them we flourish; without them we perish...

Last week a few HuffPost editors and I were treated to a visit by Bill Drayton and Mary Gordon. Bill Drayton is the founder of Ashoka and a longtime champion of social entrepreneurship, a term that he coined and that has now spread across the world. Mary Gordon is a former kindergarten teacher who founded Roots of Empathy, an organization dedicated to teaching emotional literacy and promoting empathy in children. She was also one of the first Ashoka fellows.

Our visit started with talk of the newborn recently welcomed by one of our editors, Gregory Beyer, whereupon Mary presented him with a onesie with "Empathy Teacher" emblazoned on the front. But as Mary -- a great empathy teacher herself -- told us, it's a two-way street, and empathy is best nurtured by example. "Love grows brains," she told us. "We need to show children a picture of love as we raise them.""

 

 

Quotes

 “New scientific data tells us that empathy is not a quaint behavior trotted out during intermittent visits to a food bank or during the Haiti telethon. Instead, it lies at the very core of human existence. Indeed, in this time of economic hardship, political instability, and rapid technological change, I believe empathy is the one quality we most need to teach and nurture if we’re going to survive and flourish in the 21st century.”   Arianna Huffington


"Empathy is the one quality we most need if we’re going to survive and flourish in the twenty-first century."  Arianna Huffington

"..we need a dramatic increase in empathy. There is a race against time at the moment, between the forces and voices of fear mongering that are appealing to our worst parts, to our lizard brains, and the forces of empathy. And we've seen here so many people here who are all about empathy."
  Arianna Huffington

"we need to accelerate that instinct for empathy, for connectivity with each other and with ourselves...."
  Arianna Huffington

"..to summon our better angels, there are two essential ingredients we’ll need: innovation nurtured by an entrepreneurial spirit, and empathy nurtured by a strong civil society."
 Arianna Huffington
 

 

07/04/2012  Google Big Tent Event:
Arianna Speaks At Cannes Lions Festival Of Creativity

 
 

Q: You define the 21st century, as the century of empathy. Right? What do you mean by this?
What is the century of Empathy, Arianna?

A: .... I think if you look at the world around. it's like a split screen world. Depending on what you focus on, you can be incredibly pessimistic or incredibly optimistic. You can focus on all the explosion of cruelty and lack and unemployment and austerity or you can focus on what is being born. I think that what is being born is going to be grounded in empathy. In our realization that we are all connected. And so in the way we are all connected through technology, we are also connect in a human way.  And if we don't acknowledge that an base our decisions on it, we're going to be n major trouble.......

and come from that deeper place of wisdom and empathy.


 

07/04/2012  Google Big Tent Event:
Arianna Speaks At Cannes Lions Festival Of Creativity (VIDEO)

Arianna recently joined Google's Carlo d'Asaro Biondo and Iain Tait for a talk at the Cannes Lions Festival Of Creativity. The June 21 event focused on how to merge success and happiness in a technology-heavy world. Arianna added that this is the century of empathy, noting that today's world operates like a "split screen."

"[D]epending on what you focus on, you can be incredibly pessimistic or incredibly optimistic," Arianna said. "You can focus on all the explosions of cruelty ... and unemployment and austerity, or you can focus on what is being born. And I think what is being born is going to be grounded in empathy, in our realization that we are all connected."



 

Arianna Huffington Interview: His Holiness Discusses Compassion, Science, Religion And Sleep 


"His Holiness the Dalai Lama sat down with Arianna Huffington at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London to celebrate his Templeton Prize, and discuss the importance of a productive conversation between spirituality and science."
  • Q. What do you hope to gain from collaboration between science and spirituality?
    • 1. science studied mater, now studying mind
    • 2. just research
    • 3. more awareness on importance of emotions
    • how to train awareness
      • promote these values - with experience and science
    • in education teach warm heartedness
  • Q.  In west epidemic of drugs. any alternative?
    • are harmful
    • temporary solution
    • self centered attitude - causes anxiety
    • concern for others, open mind, less fear, less stress, peace
    • inner values
  • Q.  Peace of mind, compassion gyms.
    • training of mind
  • Q what is secret of sound sleep?
    • daytime clam and relaxed
    • to much anxiety in day no good
    • giving up political responsibilities he slept better.

 


2012-04-00 -  Cultivating Empathy - Hosted by Arianna Huffington - Socialedge.org
"I have been lucky enough, in the course of my travels around the country and around the world, to meet and work with many people who have bolstered my faith in our collective ability to confront the crises we face. And I am increasingly convinced that the solutions to our problems are not going to come from the political, media, and financial institutions that continue to fail us. The solutions are going to come from each of us doing our part—making a personal commitment and taking action. And to summon our better angels, there are two essential ingredients we’ll need: innovation nurtured by an entrepreneurial spirit, and empathy nurtured by a strong civil society. "(expert from Rippling: How Social Entrepreneurs Spread Innovation Throughout the WorldBy Beverly Schwartz  pg 201+)


 


2012-01-25  - Arianna Huffington Promotes the Importance of Empathy - at Davos

"Practical little steps that help us connect.  The final thing I want to end on is, we need a dramatic increase in empathy. There is a race against time at the moment, between the forces and voices of fear mongering that are appealing to our worst parts, to our lizard brains,  and the forces of empathy. And  we've seen here so many people here who are all about empathy.


People like cow girl, that is introducing story telling as a way to connect with each other. People who are bringing others together,...... we need to accelerate that instinct for empathy, for connectivity with each other and with ourselves..... "

 


Last month, I spent a fascinating couple of days at the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship in Oxford, England. It was exhilarating--and deeply moving--to hear example after example of social entrepreneurs making quantifiable improvements in lives all around the world
 


Arianna Huffington on Empathy: Welcome to the Social Edge update!
"A few years ago, Arianna Huffington wrote a book exploring what drives us to include the world around us in our individual caring. Not surprisingly then, she went to the Skoll World Forum last month to speak on a panel addressing Catastrophic Risk and Threats to the Global Commons. This week, she is on Social Edge connecting empathy with social change. She writes: “Empathy is the one quality we most need if we’re going to survive and flourish in the twenty-first century.”
 

 

2012-01-26 - Huffington: Financial Crisis or Empathy Crisis?  at Davos
" Her analysis was that the world isn’t suffering from a financial crisis, or a eurozone crisis, or a confidence crisis as much as from a crisis of empathy. Her prescription? Slow down, unplug, and get a lot more sleep. You’ll better understand and really connect with the people around you — and that, more than stimulus of the monetary or intellectual sort — is the key to making the world a better place."


 

2011-05-30 - Memorial Day Lessons From Darwin, Virginia Woolf, and Altruistic Squirrels
"Empathy and narrative are two of my great obsessions. And here they were being most movingly and unexpectedly illustrated. The images we often have of college are about the acquisition of knowledge -- hitting the books, studying all night, taking test after test. But as Elyse and Jacob demonstrated, the goal -- not just for college but for life -- should be wisdom, at the heart of which is empathy. The world is not suffering right now for lack of data. But it is definitely crying out for wisdom. .. And using narrative to tap into that instinct for empathy has always been one of our goals at HuffPost  "


2011-05-30 -Shakespeare, The Bible, and America's Shift Into a Punitive Society

"This is not to say that changing things is easy and that there are simple solutions to the mess we are in. But if those in charge cared the way you care if someone you love is in danger -- when you get that shot of adrenaline that allows a parent to lift a car off her child and do things no one thought possible -- we would see an empathy spike that would lead to results now considered impossible.

When we're moved to act, we're capable of tapping into amazing ingenuity and creativity. And though we're not slaves to our leaders, the tone set by them matters. And instead of empathy, it's notable how much the tone of our political discourse has become about punishment. Instead of helping those suffering in this financial crisis, there's a substantial segment of the population that now believes they got what was coming to them."
 

2010-02-10 - Only Empathy Can Save Us: Why Jeremy Rifkin's The Empathic Civilization Is This Month's HuffPost Book Club Pick
(Huffington Post hosts a series of articles and month long discussion from experts in the field of empathy)
"Empathy, Rifkin tells us -- and backs up with new scientific data -- is not a quaint behavior trotted out during intermittent visits to a food bank or during the Haiti telethon. Instead, it lies at the very core of human existence. This is something I've long believed. Indeed, I dedicated a whole book to exploring what I called The Fourth Instinct -- that part of the human character that compels us to go beyond our impulses for survival, sex, and power, and drives us to expand the boundaries of our caring to include our communities and the world around us.

Please read The Empathic Civilization and join in our month-long discussion about it. Not only will Jeremy Rifkin be regularly blogging about the issues his book raises, we will also be featuring posts from over 30 of the world's leading scientists, scholars, and public policy intellectuals in a many fields, which will allow us to have a robust and informed discussion on what it will take to create and nurture a truly empathic civilization."



 

Arianna Huffington's "4E's" at the 4A's: Engagement, Energy, Empathy and Enthusiasm
 the essential elements in media and marketing: engagement, energy, empathy and enthusiasm.
"empathy, there is something in our world that makes people want to make a difference.
To make our lives about something more than our own narrow preoccupations"

 

 

 

 

Warton: How can marketers authentically put social responsibility at the center of their strategy?

 

"...there is something about the times we are living in where empathy is really key. It hasn't been always so.
But right now, people want to be part of a larger meaning. They want their lives to be about something other than our own narrow preoccupation. And marketers who really tap into that authentically and transparently can really make a big difference to their brands...."
 

 

 

Notes:
=====================================

What is your strategy for creating a movement for building a culture of empathy?

  • Self Care (self-empathy):

    • connect with ourselves.

    • Slow down,

    • Unplug

    • Get a lot more sleep.

  • Facilitate connection bringing people together

    • Story telling

  • Use the entrepreneurial spirit

  • Face the fears?

  • Empathy nurtured by a strong civil society.

  • Tap into current societal desire for empathy

    • accelerate that instinct for empathy

  • Give to others