The most critical factor explaining the disjuncture between empathy’s revolutionary potential and today’s empathically-impaired society is the interaction between the brain and our dominant political culture. The evolutionary process has given rise to a hard-wired neural system in the primal brain and particularly in the human brain.
This book argues that the crucial missing piece in this conversation is the failure to identify and explain the dynamic relationship between an empathy gap and the hegemonic influence of neoliberal capitalism, through the analysis of the college classroom, the neoliberal state, media, film and photo images, marketing of products, militarization, mass culture and government policy. This book will contribute to an empirically grounded dissent from capitalism’s narrative about human nature.
Empathy is putting oneself in another’s emotional and cognitive shoes and then acting in a deliberate, appropriate manner. Perhaps counter-intuitively, it requires self-empathy because we’re all products of an empathy-anesthetizing culture. The approach in this book affirms a scientific basis for acting with empathy, and it addresses how this can help inform us to our current political culture and process, and make its of interest to students and scholars in political science, psychology, and other social sciences.