Society needs to undergo an empathic revolution if we are to survive as a species, says Anita Nowak of McGill University speaking at PINC 15 in the Netherlands.
There is a spectrum of empathy, says Nowak, with pity at one end, empathy at the other and compassion and sympathy somewhere in between. Pity, while being an emotional reaction to someone else’s pain, also involves an element of looking down on people — this is where a lot of foreign aid and paternalistic philanthropy has come from.
When we empathise, however, we recognise
that we all share a common humanity and
that we are all inherently worthy.
Extending empathy, Nowak continues, is the only human emotion that expresses equality between humans.