00:00 - Where did
your interest in empathy first start?
Always been my
approach to handle social problems
Story: grew up in a
racist segregated city
had to drive
through black community going to church
Parent would say
racist mean things about black people
how would the
people feel if they heard that/
Got involved in
civil rights movement, etc
that early event -
empathy with blacks being demeaned
War in Vietnam
political left -
patriarchal - authoritarian
oppression - empathy came up
hard to find
empathy in CEOs
05:00 UC Berkeley
study - empathy and the hierarchy
raised in poor area,
and being female learned empathy
have to look around
and be observant
love to observe -
understand who we
Story of Bodega Bay
needed a moral
base for book
military has not
didn't want to
bring in religion for morality
peoples caring as
07:00 Empathy is a
empathy is an action
not a head thing
how we are as people
woman at drowning
empathy with the
empathy is always
an active force
even in our talking
and an action grows out of that?
interpreting the meaning of the other
empathy is taking
interpretation a level deeper
11:24 Mary Gordon
says we learn thought relationship
met old friend - the
putting herself in
Patricia Hearst's shoes, perspective
Patricia personally, she said you understood me.
'you're the only one
that got it right' that was the empathy
17:00 Could you put
yourself into George Bush, the psychopaths shoes?
it's difficult because
of our natural repugnance or sociopaths and psychopaths
look for connection from
Bush - he failed
to be empathetic you
have to have connection, but he closes it off.
he has disconnection, unfeeling
Jan 30, 2011 - Kathleen Barry to Edwin Rutsch
In our conversation yesterday, you asked me if I could
empathize with George W. Bush. In Unmaking War, Remaking Men I studied
his presidency, clearly and carefully following his own words and
actions, and found them to reveal what I call presidential psychopathy
which is not unlike the psychopathy found in CEO's like Bernie Madoff.
Lying, deceit and remorselessness along with pleasure from the power
they accrue characterize psychopaths. While I am interested neither in
more name calling nor in an individual diagnosis, it is well known that
psychopaths are drawn to positions of leadership.
But when you asked me
that question, I could not locate anything in what I know about George
W. Bush which would make me empathize with him. Empathy for me is
active, it comes through our interactions with each other. It is
something we do. After dinner on my drive back to Santa Rosa, I
continued thinking about your question as I knew there was something
Then it came to me – I
remembered discovering compassion for someone in my own life who I later
discovered was a sociopath. I have found the resolution to my own pain
and anger from being hurt by this person who had no remorse when I was
able to have compassion for her. That did not mean I accepted or even
forgave her abuse. But when I was able to wish her freedom from
suffering, the pain and anger I had for her just vanished. Thinking
about that brought me to my answer to your question about George W.
Compassion in Buddhism,
means to wish that others are free of suffering. For Buddhists and for
me, compassion is not confined to individuals, taking them one at a
time. Rather it is universal and emerges in the unity of all beings, or
what I have called human interconnection. Compassion for George W. Bush
means wishing that he be free of suffering and simultaneously a wish
that his freedom of suffering would bring relief from suffering of those
he has harmed through his psychopathic leadership.
Barack Obama said that
having empathy meant have it even for George W. Bush with whom he
apparently disagreed when he was running for office. Was that empathy,
actively putting himself in the place of Bush, what made him after he
was elected, adopt the exact same war strategies as Bush did? If so
empathy with Bush along with other forces like the powerful US military
generals led him, like Bush, to commit war crimes. And we know that is
not the function, purpose and place of empathy in our lives.
Thank you Edwin for you
good questions which gave me the opportunity to think through and
clarify my distinction between empathy and compassion.
2010-11-30 - Norman Solomon's hour long interview with Kathleen Barry
on Progressive Radio Network.
2:40 Why connect changing
men and ending war?
masculinity build around
men being expendable in war
How to get out of this?
Costa Rica - no military
but high violence towards woman
need to look at remaking
7:15 getting rid of the
military is not necessarily a cultural change?
a political change to
a personal change to
core masculinity - expects
aggression of men as protector
10:00 Child rearing?
boy learn violence on tv
11:56 How much is innate
we don't know
13:50 Importance of Role
parents, teachers, TV,
Internet, video games
Costa Rica role modeling
men who turn away from
16:50 Biology and
socialization is not destiny?
18:26 Working on a politics of Empathy
19:15 Empathy runs counter to the
inclination to be violent? Does empathy require a sense of security?
If you are feeling desperation is it hard to empathize with others? If
you feel distress id precludes you feeling other peoples humanity?
Are more free to be empathetic when we
have security in ourselves.
There's also spontaneous empathy - when
someone's life is at risk we want to help.
23:15 Breaking empathy, it's not
natural for people to kill others?
military removes empathy -
33:00 How can we change our own
empathy - come in close to other
to the countries we're invading
ie talk with the people in these
40:20 Depravity in foreign policy
41:30 The attitude, "that's the way
things are," is a deficit of empathy?
deficit of empathy or a not knowing
people are in a fog,
Obama and war surge
44:40 How Empathy Can Reshape Our Politics, Our Soldiers and Ourselves