Cultivating empathy is no cure-all

Empathy, the ability to actively understand and share the feelings of others, is the hot new thing. As if each of us doesn’t have enough discomfort in our lives, it’s now incumbent on us to take on others’ in order to make us better — take your pick — employees, CEOs, students or political candidates….


Empathy can help us understand those around us and make us more responsive to others’ needs, which are positive things. But cultivating empathy is not a guaranteed cure for all that ails our human connections, our dysfunctional societal enmities or even our search for meaning.

So go ahead, just enjoy that novel on your nightstand for the one thing it can almost surely guarantee: a bit of pleasure at the end of a long, hard day.


Esther Cepeda