Changing Currents in Education and Public Life
Edited by Lynn Book and David Phillips
Empathy is an ideal enshrined in parables like the Good Samaritan and commandments, such as ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’. Understood in one way, it is about doing good and helping others, yet it is also about helping ourselves. The ancients understood this connection, and the message of love and concern for others is perhaps more central than any other in religious texts and works of wisdom. This insight emerges anew in modern times not from Sunday sermons but in evidence from scientific research and business practice. Empathy is now understood as an essential element of creating personal well-being, professional success, corporate innovation and social change. It is something we are endowed with in measure at birth and a capability that we can grow. Although our relationships and life experiences teach us lessons related to empathy, the journey is not the same for all. Some of us may become more or less empathetic. The consequences are significant.
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