Friday 15 October 2010

Empathy & the Future of the Human Brain

Recently I published an eZine with an RSA Animate which illustrated how important the value of empathy was to the development of a more peaceful society:

I observed that up until September 11 empathy was increasing as a priority in society:, then it started decreasing.

I postulated that the reason for the reduction in the priority on this value since September 11 was the profound global worldview shift we observed at this watershed in civilisation's history. Within a few days of writing the eZine I saw a presentation from the renowned neuroscientist, Baroness Susan Greenfield,, on the future of the brain. Susan gives another explanation, due to the impact of modern technology, for the decline in the importance of empathy.

Most likely both of these factors are causing the decrease in the priority on empathy. What do you think?     


gregory said...

there is a large increase in the number of "empaths" in the last decade. by this i mean individual people who have empathy, who in essence have "psychically" expanded the subtlety of their awareness to such a degree that they are able to cognized the mental, emotional, psychological makeup of other people, other cultures, even those outside the range of the senses.

so, expanding what you are looking at, changes this question.

we perhaps are looking at a split in social structures, those who are more conscious, those who are not. yet.

Paul Chippendale said...

I was referring to empathy in the sence most people use the term. Latest scientific research indicates it is an emergent property of mirror neurons. It has nothing to do with consciousness--people's ability to empathsise with others is a developed skill. Susan Greenfield discusses recent research which shows that, in certain circumstances, screen based technology can inhibit the development of this skill.