Even an Earthquake Can’t Stir Student Empathy

The philosopher and cultural thinker Roman Krznaric says, “Empathy can create a revolution … a revolution of human relationships.” He cites empathy tents erected by the Occupy movements in the United States and Britain as emblematic of a seemingly rising trend in social activism.

Self-help gurus recommend empathy workshops to help us channel our inherent fellow-feelings.

But when I stood before my class, as an awkward silence hovered between my students and me, I wasn’t even expecting empathy. I was simply expecting a question or a comment. I was prepared to be offended, even confronted.

By Ranjan Adiga