This column will change your life: empathy
September 21, 2014
What the world really needs, according to the Yale psychologist Paul Bloom, is a bit less empathy.
Yes, I know how that sounds. So does he: “Like announcing that you hate kittens,” as he put it recently in the Boston Review. In a world clearly suffering from what Barack Obama calls the “empathy deficit”, it seems that he’s being obnoxiously counterintuitive for the sake of it.
Research suggests that empathetic people are more altruistic; higher empathy is associated with better relationships.
Roman Krznaric, author of the recent book Empathy (he’s in favour of it), thinks that “outrospection” – the deliberate effort to seek out other people’s experiences – might help solve everything from inequality to climate change.
by Oliver Burkeman