Monday, February 4, 2008

AWNM: Empathy Periods 2/5 Combined

Fishbowl Live Blogging
February 7, 2008
8:25-9:24 MST


Dan is the best selling author of Free Agent Nation and A Whole New Mind. His articles on work, business, and technology appear in many publications including The New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Slate, Fast Company, and Wired, where he is a contributing editor. A popular speaker, he lectures to corporations, associations, and universities around the world on economic transformation and business strategy. Pink lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, and three children.


P.S. He doesn't like to be called Mr. Pink- it makes him feel old!


335 comments:

1 – 200 of 335   Newer›   Newest»
Daniel said...

This is a test.

maddieh said...

In the empathy chapter, Dan Pink said that women are generally more empathic than men. Do you think men or women are generally more empathic?

chelseas said...

Is there a certain age that seems to be more empathetic than others?

ashleyf said...

Well also, is empathy the same as sensitivity? Because it seems that women are much more sensitive than men

morganw said...

Bringing in the inner circle discussion about cynicism, I think that it can be a way to cope with intense emotions that people don't necessarily know how to deal with because they don't have enough empathy.

maddief said...

Okay, does anyone else think that empathy is what makes us humans? Animals have the capability to communicate with each other, as do humans, but they can not relate to each other. Also, if computers could empathize, would we be any different than them?

stefo said...

I believe that women are much more empathetic. That is the commen stererotype but it does have a basic truth. Women intuitivly have a more nuturing nature. Men are expected to stay strong

SerenaL said...

maddief-

I think that women tend to be more empathic because we have motherly instincts. That doesn't mean that guys don't have empathy, women just tend to have it more often.

lizc said...

I think that sometimes men will be empathetic towards others but they don't show their feelings as openly as the women do.

nilec said...

Maddieh-
In the survey we took for the empathy portfolio the average score for females was lower than the average for males. Does that mean females are less empathetic?

phoebef said...

maddieh- i think that women are generally more empathetic, but i think that there are exceptions. i think it partly has to do with how the person was raised, who they were surrounded by, and what their lifestyle and life experiences are at the time.

Tylerg! said...

Ashleyf, I think that empathy is more than sensitivity. Empathy not only requires you to care for someone and be sensetive, but empathy requires you to understand and feel others pain.

amyw said...

Does anyone think that computers will ever be able to empathize? Is this too complicated for them, or will they one day be able to take on human emotion? They've done a lot of things that no one ever thought they could do. Will this be one of them?

kristinah said...

this is a test

jordanh said...

Ashelyf- I think that empathy is being sensitive to a situation, and taking that sensitivity and applying the feelings of others to yourself (if that makes sense...)

maddieh said...

Ashley- Well, I think that sensitivity is a part of empathy. Because you can be empathtic while not being very sensitive. You can still put yourselves in other's situations and feel for them without being overally sensitive.

josed said...

Ok, my question to Mr. Pink is... why do you think we have become less empathetic (or empathic, I can never decide), than before? That is, why has empathy become a key aptitude that we can "unlock" instead of a key aptitude that we have at our disposal?

nicolek said...

Maddieh-
I think that women are more empathetic because they have children and they have hormones that make them care for another being like they care for themselves which is empathy

meganu said...

maddie-
I think that men are more empathetic. It is a common stereotype that women are the empathetic ones but I think men just hold it in better. Women are more open about it. Like Stef said, men are expected to be the ones who stay strong and keep everything together but in reality they are more empathetic than women.

kristenw said...

ashley - that is a really good point because I know when I was reading this chapter I raleted those two so I think that empathy and simpathy.

ZachH said...

I agree MaddieF-

I don't think animals show empathy towards one another. It is unique and makes us human.

ZachH said...

I agree MaddieF-

I don't think animals show empathy towards one another. It is unique and makes us human.

aweber said...

tylerg!- i agree. empathy is a lot more than just simpathy... or else they would just both called simpathy...

Daniel said...

interesting that females scored *lower* than men. why do you think that was?

morganw said...

Maddief - I think that empathy is one of the things that separate us from animals. I think what really separates us is our right-brained abilities. If computers could emphasize we would still be very different from them because they would not have our other human attributes like design, play, meaning, symphony, and story.

macm said...

Phoebe-
So then do you think that people are influenced by their parents and other outside forces to be more or less empathetic? Or are we born one way or the other?

mitchl. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
caitlina said...

It sounds like computers will be able to hold some sort of capability in the future to posess empathy, but they will not be able to have that actual sort of bedside manner, that patients expect when they're in the hospital. I think that computers will only be able to maintain an audio that comforts people.

maddief said...

I agree Morgan, I think that by being unsympathetic or empathetic, people don't have to worry about others' problems.

Laurenc said...

Maddieh - I think that women are generally more empathetic then men due to the fact that women have to raise children which in a sense requires them to feel for the child. I'm not saying father's don't help raise children too but the Mom has a deeper bond with the child. Women also tend to spend more time thinking and feeling then men who tend to act more then think

alexd said...

I think that empathy is an essential part to every aspect of life however too much empathy is a bad thing. I think if a person has too much empathy towards another person, it is misinterpreted as pity.

amyw said...

Ashleyf---I think that you have to have sensitivity to be emphathetic. If you aren't a sensitive person, you won't have as much empathy.

jordanh said...

amyw- I don't believe that a computer could every empathize with somebody because I think that computers are built off of facts and systems, and empathy has no facts or systems to it, but rather it is a human instinct that a computer can't replicate.

Lukez said...

amyw - I don't think that computers will ever be able to empathize. Even with the advances in computers I don't think that it will ever be possible for them to feel emotions and react accordingly.

NickB said...

@amyw We think that computers will be able to empathise in the far future because, after all, didn't we have an emphisis on left brained thinking, and we computerized it. Why can't it be done with the right side of the brain.

The question is, what happens after we automize the right side of the brain?

nicolek said...

Molly and I are wondering, are there any jobs that dont require empathy? Ones in which empathy could actually be harmful in the process?

ashleyf said...

meganu-yes, men are the ones that are supposed to be "strong," but it makes me think of the Great Depression when it was the women who were the strong ones and the men ran away from home because they could't take all the sorrow in their everyday life.

stefo said...

Do you think that business is more of a cold and shrewd place? For many years that is how it has been. Empathetic feelings have been crushed in order to do the best for your company. Even before technology when humans were more basic Empathy still didn't have a place in business. Is it only necessary in the medical career?

mitchl. said...

Chelseas, I do think that some ages are more empathetic than others are. For example, back in the seventies, people didn't like the war going on and maybe thats because they didn't like to see other people dying and families being torn apart.

mattw said...

maddieh - i also think that women do generally have more empathy than men, but in Pink's book I think it said that when boys are more sensitive, or girls are tougher, then they are at an advantage. I believe that's true, becasue then they have a broader perspective then the stereotpical person.

lizc said...

alexd- empathy is definately not always pity. You can feel good with them and rejoice with them when they suceed with them. A lot of time I don't think that pity has to do with empathy. It is more an action than it is a feeling.

kristinasmom said...

this is a test

alyssas said...

So what do you think the boundary between symapthy and empathy is?

phoebef said...

macm- i think that people are not born with empathy, but that its a skill we have to learn. some people learn this skill more easily than others, and this has to do with many factors. i think that one of the main factors is how the person is taught by thier parents. if the adults are around the child are empathetic then the child learns to be so as well.

Daniel said...

not sure that people have become less empathic over the years. the point is that empathy is hard to outsource and hard to automate -- which makes it more valuable in the workforce.

ParkerH said...

morganw~
I have to agree, but not totally. Yeah, we are different because of our right-brained attributes, but we are also different because of our downfalls. Greed, pride, and all of those bad sides of human nature are also things that separate us from computers.

chelseas said...

I still think that empathy is needed in the workplace. I think that it is more leniant than the school system. I think that it is just how you presxent yourself. If you are the one who makes the effort to come forward and ask, I think that people are more willing to empathetic.

whitneys said...

maddief - I made that same comment about empathy making us human! I don't think animals care for their babies or for the tribe, they merely have the instinct to survive. Where as humans have that instinct to survive, but because we do not really do not live in a life or death world, that provides room for empathy. So the enviornment we live in lets us have empathy. Remember Lord of the Flies? The boys lost empathy as they lived in the hotile environment.

Daniel said...

question: can someone have too much empathy?

Louiseb said...

Ashley F- I think that empathy and sensitivity are similar, but they are definitly not the same thing. I think that everyone has empathy, men and women, but women just tend to show it more because they are more sensitive and don't have as much trouble showing their feelings.
I also think that sensitivity can be lost if enough events occur. But i do not think that empathy can ever be lost no matter what happens to you.

Javonm said...

I have noticed in the inner circle they have been talking about empathy in the workplace and in schools and teams etc. but where is the line when empathy no longer produces more work, but when the poeple start to believe that nothing is wrong with failing.

Javonm said...

I have noticed in the inner circle they have been talking about empathy in the workplace and in schools and teams etc. but where is the line when empathy no longer produces more work, but when the poeple start to believe that nothing is wrong with failing.

maddieh said...

Nicole/Molly- I think there are some jobs where people don't need to display empathy or use it but I think that people are much more responsive to a person who is empathic and nice to them.

mitchs said...

I disagree with the idea that what separates us from animals are our right-brained abilities. I think our left-brained abilities separate us from animals. Take for example dogs; dogs can show empathy by licking your cut when they know you are hurt, or just being friendly when they sense you are feeling down. However, they can't do math, type or speak languages. Right brain ablities separates us from computers, left brain abilities separate us from animals.

meganu said...

Ashleyf-
Exactly! Even though men are supposed to be the strong ones, deep down inside they are very empathetic. I think women know how to cope with things a lot better.

KatherineM said...

Alex- I disagree. I don't think you can have too much empathy for someone else, but I do think you can have too much sympathy for someone else. Sympathy is just feeling sorry for someone else, and I think that often does come off as pity. Empathy is being able to really relate to someone, and I don't think you can have too much of that.

maddief said...

I agree Morgan, the right brain characteristics are what make us human. However, if computers had the ability to empathize, maybe they could use symphony, meaning, etc. Then what would be the difference between man and machine?

aweber said...

nick- we won't be automizing the right side anytime soon... i almost doubt we ever will. It's too confusing for a computer to understand emotions like smiling, sadness, etc... btw for all y'alls the hilary clinton comment there by dawnielle... hilary did end up getting more voters to her side, so she took advantage to get votes from voters who are too empathetic.

kristenw said...

I have a question for everyone, Is empathy needed in schools and in education?

Tylerg! said...

I think that empathy can be taken way to far. If we understand someones pain, and then give them lee-way because we feel sorry for someone then we are being unfair to those who haven't had a tragic situation. In the workplace, if someone comes into work and says that something bad has happened to them and the boss lets them off the hook and piles their work on someone else, it is unfair to thos who are working hard. This could lead to people making up stories. I think that empathy can be taken to far.

alexd said...

Louise- Although I see where you are coming from, I do believe that it is possible to lose empathy. I think that there are people who live without empathy. Kind of like people without a conscience.

alyssas said...

Stef O.- I think that in business empathy isn't the most important thing. Like they were saying in the inner circle, people in high positions need empathy, but they don't need to show it as much as everybody else because they need to show their strength as leaders.

NickB said...

alssas,
It is difficult to determine the difference between sympathy and empathy, but you must look at the definitions of each. Sympathy involves feeling sorry for someone. While, empathy is understanding someone.

Something else to understand is that though the two are different, they are both related and cannot be brought apart.

markg said...

daniel- I think men dont want to appear more empathetic than women but actually they are. And women seem to want to appear empathetic when they actually aren't.

mattf said...

@Molly I think that all jobs need empathy, but some just need more than others. For example, a soldier can't be as empathetic as a counselor, or else the soldier wouldn't be able to complete his job. He cannot feel sorry for the enemy. On the other hand, conselors need lots of empathy to be successful. They have to empathise their patients so they get better.

josed said...

I think that the people who are saying that there are cases where there is too much empathy, are actually mixing empathy up with mercy.


For example, if an employee forgets to turn in his paper on the deadline, then the boss shouldn't let the employee get away with it. But it the guy had pneumonia, the boss should cut him some slack! The problem is to remember that business is business, even if you feel for your co-workers. If a student was sick, then the teacher can't get mad aboutlate work. But a person who just had a bad day, should get their act together just a little more.

jordanh said...

daniel- I think that men score lower on the empathy scale because for so long, me have been responsible for hunting, getting food, and protecting his family. He is the tough guy. But I think that today, a woman can provide for her family as well as a man could, so I think that men don't have to be so "tough" anymore.

BrianC said...

Amyw, I think it's unlikely that computers will be able to empathize in our lifetime. I do, however, think that eventually a pattern will be discovered in trends and such and that eventually computers might be able to express empathy. I just don't think it will happen any time soon.

Lukez said...

I don't think that computers will ever be able to empathize. They were created for left brain thinking. I think that a whole new type of technology will have to be created if we ever want to have right brain thinking in any sort of technology.

macm said...

Phoebe-
I definitely agree. Kids learn by example, and when the parents are abusive or unempathetic, it will be harder for the child to be empathetic because they have nothing to base it off of. Also I think that I has to do with events that happen to you in your life, just as the inner circle was talking about at he beginning of the discussion with cynicism. People who have had these terrible expericences may have a tendency to change the way they view the world, for better or for worse.

mattw said...

I like the portfolio activity eavesdrop. I admit I have done that plenty of times before reading this; but after I read the activity, it gave me a legible reason to do it. I often try to picture myself in their position, and its actually kind of fun.

stefo said...

The inner circle is talking about the upcoming election. I think that empathy is going to be a big part of the campaign. There is going to be alot of empathy for the soldiers, their families, those suffering financially. But the presidental canidate that is going to win is the one who feels empathy and it incites them to create the best plan to act on it.

amyw said...

I think empathy in schools is important. If a teacher feels empathy for their students (but not too much), the students will have a better experience because teachers who have no empathy at all are a little hard to deal with. Same goes for students feeling empathy for each other. It makes school better. Does anyone else agree with me?

Daniel said...

markg-interesting point. one of the themes of the book is the virtues of androgyny.

SerenaL said...

kristen-

I think some ammount of empathy is needed at school. Especially in middle school and highschool, most kids are going through a lot. There are so many changes and problems that they usually don't think adults understand. It helps to know that there are other people relating to you and going through the same situations.

ZachH said...

Can empathy be taught in school or is it something we are born knowing how to do? How could schools become more empathetic?

Javonm said...

I agree with the inner circle that empathy isn't general emotion and that is what we make it seem. The definition of empathy is that you are able to listen to someone and respond effectively to how they feel about a certain subject. I think it is important for a president to have empathy because that means that they are listening to their followers and how they feel, it doesn't mean that they are sad and very emotional people.

MollyS said...

Mr. Pink,
We think that yes, a person can have too much empathy in certain jobs, such as law enforcement. If we have all of our police going around feeling bad for the criminals what justice would we have in our world?

lizc said...

markg- I completely agree with you. Girls just sympathize and act empathetic towards eachother to try to make their companion feel better. Guys just act tough and try to hide their feelings even though they might have a huge amount of feeling for one of their buddies.

mitchl. said...

Kristen, I don't think that empathy is needed in schools and education, I think that empathy is always in schools and education. For example, we all know the person who forgets to do their project worth 100 points, and everyone does or should feel sorry for him.

maddief said...

I totally agree Amy. If students empathize with each other, then there would be a lot less bullying. When people are aware of how it feels to be teased, maybe they wouldn't want to pick on others, because they know what it's like.

Louiseb said...

Daniel- I think that someone can definitly have too much empathy. If someone always felt bad because of things that happened to other people, they would never have time to reflect on the things that were wrong in their own lives.
I think that in a way we are all a little bit selfish because we always feel empathy for ourselves but not always for other people.

phoebef said...

alyssas- that is a very good question. i think that the difference is empathy is putting yourself into another persons shoes, and trying to feel how they feel. sympathy is more like knowing how the person feels but there isnt a real emotional attatchment.

nilec said...

Daniel- i think the score of the survey depends on each person taking it and the questions that are asked on the survey. So i would say that the scores could vary on depending on the person an the survey itself.

maddieh said...

Daniel- I think people can have too much empathy when they put the feelings of others before their own needs. If someone is feeling too much of what another person is feeling and puts that ahead of their own emotions, then I think they are being too empathetic. I think it's okay to be empathetic but not if you act it out all the time.

Laurenc said...

amyw - I agree. If teachers had no empathy then a lot more pressure would be on students. If a student has just had a death in the family and misses a lot of school they count on the teachers to understand and give them time to make up what they've missed. If there was no empathy then students might be expected to still go to school despite illness or tradegies.

morganw said...

Stefo - I don't think that empathy is only valuable in the medical profession because of marketing. Business and marketing require the business owners and workers to have a certain amount of empathy so that they can properly advertise their products. If empathy is a truly human aspect, then there should, in theory, be no profession that we choose that wouldn't involve it.

BrianC said...

In the inner circle, they're talking about the elections going on. My question is, who will do better in an election, someone who can empathize with their supporters, or someone who's impartial and has never been to the other side?
And anyone can give their opinion on this.

kristinasmom said...

I agree. There is a line to be drawn with empathy and business and personal. If we let empathy go to far twill be compassionate with his feelings. You have to be strong for yourself and be productive yourself and hold yourself accountable for what you do. If you do not then how will you grow to be strong.

alyssas said...

Zach- I think that we are born with a certain amount of empathy but it is shaped by our expierences and the people around us, as to how much emapthy we have and how we show it.

aweber said...

amy- yes i agree... but a teacher can't be very empathetic. if they were then they would get late stuff in later than normal but still excuse it... good for us, bad for them.

amyw said...

Like they're saying in the inner circle, I think how you're raised and what environment you're in really develops your empathy level. If your parents show no emotion to you and don't demonstrate empathy, then you probably won't have any. But if they show you a lot of empathy, then you're more likely to have empathy.

Tylerg! said...

Mitchl, this makes sense, but isn't it their fault if they forget to do their project. I wouldn't expect people to feel sorry for me if I forgot to do homework, because it was irresponsibility. If something happens to them that causes them to forget I can see me feeling a little sorry, but they were given time to do their work so it is their responsibility to get it done.

mattf said...

@ZachH Empathy can be taught at school, and it is a developed characteristic. If a child is taught to win at all costs and have no mercy, they probably have less empathy than some kid who is taught good sportsmanship. I think empathy is directly related to competativeness and the more competative a person is, the less empathy they have.

chelseas said...

I think that empathy is something that people look for, especially in an election, while voting. If there is a topic that requires the candidate to show empathy, I think that the voters will tend to vote more toward that candidate. I agree with the inner circle, and that this is similar to FDR and Hoover.

markg said...

mitchl- I think your forgeting what empathy means...Sympathy is feeling sorry for someone else.

katyj said...

Phoebe and Mac, i agree. If a child is raised in an extremely empathetic household, the yare more likely to be empathetic. But I also think that sometimes if a child lives in a very unempathetic household they might become more empathetic towards people who are in the same situation, because they know how it feels.

Daniel said...

molly s -- good point. i think in certain jobs too much empathy is a liability. but from what i've seen in the workplace, the problem is an empathy deficit not an empathy surplus.

mitchs said...

StefO- I don't think that empathy is very important in the business world. It is important to understand what other people want in order to close a deal or come to an agreement, but empathy is not necessary for that. Business is mostly about manipulating people to get them to do what you want. If you are good at manipulating people, you can fake empathy and convince people that you understand what they want, when really you are only motivated by your own goals.

kristinah said...

I dont think that we have become necessarily less empathetic but we have not shown it as much because it is kind of looked down upon. Like when hilary cried some people thought that she was now a weak candidate for the presidency. Also, I think that there are so many things going on in the world today that if we were empathetic for everyone then we would be so emotionally exausted by the end of the day we would eventually become immune to the situations of others, like soldiers in war.

kristenw said...

serena - but isn't what parents and friends are for is empathy really the role that teachers need to take, should they just focus on teaching or should they also work with the kids through their problems?

KatherineM said...

Kristina- I definitely think that empathy is needed in schools. Kids have to deal with a lot of hard work and a lot of stress. Having others who empathize with kids can really be helpful in reducing stress and making kids' time in school better.

Laurenc said...

ok just to clear something up. Hilary Clinton was NOT being empathetic. She was crying after her loss to make people feel bad for her. Do you honestly think she was crying over the starving children in Africa? I certainly think not

rant over

kristinasmom said...

I think that it is the parents that show and teach the children to a certain point in early childhood. You are what your parents are until you become independent on your own and learn your other ways to live. The parents give you the core.

Daniel said...

also, there's been some interesting early research on ceos and leaders that seems to verify this point. many leaders who lack empathy (again, many -- not all) end up crashing and burning. but so do the handful that are too empathic. when it comes to leadership at least, it seems the best approach is to *combine* empathy and action-orientation. once again, the key is wholeness.

markg said...

chelseas- Yes i agree with you. If you are voting for a president you are going to want someone that can relate to you and tell you that they know how you feel. You want someone that can relate to the most number of people.

Javonm said...

Zach H- I think that empathy is a natuarl skill that you build up depending on how you are raised, where you are raised, your ethnic background etc. There are a lot of factors that play into it but I don't thikn they can teach empathy in the schools, but I do think that a teacher can show you that empathy is a good choice, but I don't think they can teach you to be empathetic.

caitlina said...

Zach- I can remember in elementary school being taught to apologize to a person when they were hurt, and to help people when they were having trouble. In a way this is a form of empathy, being by a person to help them. But I think that empathy has to come from inside a person, so they can feel with and for that person. Teachers can lead a student to find empathy, but I think that emapahty has to come from within oneself.

meganu said...

Tylerg!-
I totally agree with you. I think that when people realized that they can get away with things in work and school if something tragic happens, then they are more likely to take advantage of that situation. If you don't want to get in trouble with your teacher or boss, you could tell them that its realy not your fault because something terrible happened in your personal life. That way they don't ask very many questions and they give your work to someone else.

kristinah said...

katyj- I think that it depends on the child and how they think because there are some kinds that will just rebel when their parents are more empathetic and just get sick of it.

Selenam said...

Nicolek-I suppose if you killed people for a living, then yes, there is a job where empathy is dangerous.
___________________________________
Daniel- Yes. If someone is too empathetic, then they could end up losing everything. For example, if a person was so empathetic towards homeless people they gave someone their house, then the original person would be out on the street without a place to live. That person was too empathetic.

josed said...

I don't think that people who live in adversity have less empathy. I think that when they put themselves in the shoes of normal people, the realize that normal people are doing better than them! The people who suffer adversity have worse lives than normal people on a bad day! But if you show a person who lives in adversity somebody who lives in a worse place, then they will be empathetic to that person.

maddief said...

Daniel, I don't think that you can have too much empathy. Empathy is the ability to relate to someone and know how they feel. As long as a person is not affected be how another person feels, then they are not experiencing sympathy. Sympathy is acting on your feelings of empathy, and yes, you can have too much sympathy, if you let it influence your actons.

ashleyf said...

Lukez-I don't believe there is anyway that computers can ever empathize. Like many have been saying, empathy is what makes us human. Computers can be programmed to empathize, but that doesn't mean they really are. Computers are not human brains, not the right side anyway.

clarao said...

amyw- I think that empathy will always be one of those things that make us human. If computers will ever be able to have empathy, then they will seem just as human as we do.

SerenaL said...

Kristen-

That is a good point, but if kids are stressed out then it will be affecting their school work even if they are getting help from parents and friends. The teachers shouldn't work with the kids, but should recognize if the kid is in need of empathy.

SerenaL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liap said...

I think that it doesn't matter how much money you are born with or got over time, I think that empathy is simply something that you have or you don't.

Louiseb said...

I disagree with what they are talking about in the inner circle.
I feel that while many wealthy people are very nice and empathetic, they can never truly understand how some people feel.
This is also true for everyone else. I think that in order to truly feel empaty for someone, you have to know what they are going through.
The kids in Africa for expamle, most people claim to feel empaty for them but I think that that empathy would be worlds different if all of those people had actually experienced what those kids are going through.

jordanh said...

MitchS- I disagree because I think that empathy is what a business needs these days to compete with other businesses. I would have agreed with you 10 years ago, but I think that these days that it easy to put an effective and cheap product on the market, so I think that in order to have a good competition that businesses need to reach out to there consumer, see what their needs are, experience that, and create a product that truly meets the consumer's needs.

Daniel said...

another question: do you think it's realistically possible for someone to deepen and improve his or her empathy?

stefo said...

I don't like the idea of wealth defining somebody. I think to truly be empathetic you must have experienced something similar or have a connection that goes deeper than just hearing the story. That's why I am having just a hard time with Empathy. Is it truly ever possible to feel empathy?

ParkerH said...

Daniel~ That is true, but only currently. If what you talk about is true, and these six senses are needed in the near future, then empathy will increase. At that point in time, there will be more of an empathy surplus. Then what Molly talked about will become more of a problem.

mattw said...

Laurenc - I agree. even though I didn't see the breakdown, fromm what I've heard, you seem to be right. My dad told me that Obama declared that there are more young black people in prison than white people in the U.S., and that is not entirely true.

It's like how one of Bill Clintons representitives said that he was black. We all know that is NOT TRUE.

alyssas said...

Daniel- I agree. I believe that to achieve this new sense of "whole" you need to have balance. Balance between empathy and emotion and design and function. But do you think that to succeed in the Conceptual Age, you need to have all of the six senses, or can you still survive with only one?

mattw said...
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lizc said...

Daniel- I agree with you about the fact that some of the most well known leaders have come to a horrible ending. Much like Hitler, who had no empathy for the millions of people that he was killing. If he had empathy for them and could feel for them, then he wouldn't have done that stuff. Also, he lacked guilt. He did not think that what he was doing was wrong. If you lack guilt then you lack empathy.

amyw said...

I agree with Maddief that you can't have too much empathy. Empathy is just the feeling, and this is an important skill to develop. But you can be too sympathetic, because this is acting on your empathy. Good observation!

chelseas said...

I think that we can both show empathy and sympathy. I think that you can be more empathetic if you have personally experienced that specicfic idea, or something similar to that. You can be empathetic and can truly feel how they are feeling at that specific time.

ZachH said...

i agree that computers can't empathize. You can program a computer to do anything (even offer empathy) but it isn't "real" empathy. Empathy comes from the heart and you can't program a heart into a computer.

Tylerg! said...

Thank you Meganu. If someone starts a lie then it will continue to grow. More and more people will start to use empathy or sympathy to their advantage. They'll tell or make up a story that they know their teacher will empathize with, and then the teacher will give them an extension or let them off of having to do work.

nicolek said...

Brianc-
I think that in an ellection the peron who showed that they could relate to the people electing them and understand their needs will always win over a person who doesn't show empathy at all. But it is possible for someone to be to empathetic and they need to be strong enough to run a country but be empathetic at the same time.

alexd said...

I think that in general we are using empathy very loosely. Every one keeps saying that all people have empathy but I think if everyone had empathy, the world would look very different.

markg said...

louiseb- I agree with you about people with money that are empathetic. Many wealthy people tend to give away alot of money to charities and other things. The fact that they have money would make them want to know how it feels to be in someone else's shoes.

clarao said...

liap- I don't think empathy is necessarily something that you have or don't. You can have different levels of empathy, and that is one thing that makes everyone different.

NickB said...

krisenw

Balance is a necessity. Teachers must be able to relate to their students. A student's life does not only involve school. Life at home, at sports, etc. They all relate to the ability and feeling of the student. Something you have to take into account though is that if empathy becomes sympathy. Students will believe they will always be felt sorry for if something isn't going their way.
-john

phoebef said...

daniel- i think that a person does have the ability to inprove their empathy, but just simply thinking about how other people feel more often. Even things as simple as having empathy for a character in a book, can increase a persons empathy.

mitchs said...

Daniel- I think that to a small degree it is possible for someone to deepen their empathy, but that would be very challenging to do. It is not nearly as hard to learn to fake empathy. You don't always have to feel one way to act that way. It is possible to learn to control your emotions and make yourself seem much more empathetic than you are.

maddieh said...

With the election, do you think that people are actually going to empathize with the soldiers in Iraq and their families or do you think that they are going to sympathize? I'm just thinking that the war has gone on for so long that it is hard for people to feel the same emotions that they felt when it started. I think after a while, people harden themselves from that emotion.

amandah said...

I agree with Louise.
Saying that all wealthy people aren't empathetic is a a stereotype.

aweber said...

question:
i heard that your favorite color can tell about your empathy and androgyny... what does everyone think?

meganu said...

Ms. Smith just asked if we, as students, feel entitled to the same prosperity that our parents have. I don't think we are entitled to that. My parents aren't prosperous at all. Everything in my life right now is telling me to go to college and get a good job so that I can make money. When I get older and live on my own, there's no way I want to live the way I do now.

meganu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kristinasmom said...

It depends on the person. Many people can manipulate people to be empathetic (sp). Talking about the homeless or street people. People need know that giving empathy to someone is not always the best thing to do. It is the situation such as homework at school or helping someone that is not helping themself. But it is very good to be empathetic.

mattf said...

@LukeZ I think computers will one day be programmed to "empathize" through a series of recordings that can react to anything you say. It will be more cause and effect, you say one thing and the computer will go through a series of steps and react to what you say. No, the computer won't feel sorry for you, but it can make it sound like it does.

Javonm said...

What is empathy in today's world? The way the inner circle and the outer cicrle are describing it is that empathy is when we feel empathetic for another after we compare the situation they are in to ourselves and then depending on how it relates to uswe decide whether we feel empathetic for them. Is there a "true" empathy where we actually feel what the other person feels naturally without having to compare it to ourselves?

maddief said...

Caitlin, I agree that empathy is something that a person has to develop on their own. A parent or a teacher can show you what empathy is, but they can't make you feel it. My mom is a first grade teacher, and half of her job is teaching them social skills, not just learning skills. Empathy is essential in order for us to relate and socialize with each other.

whitneys said...

Mr. Pink ~ As far as the idea of too much empathy, I agree that there is a line to be drawn. The way we know where to draw the line is common sense, a function of the left brain. This further supports that we need both sides of the brain in order to truly be successful.

Ryad said...

I agree with amy, I like her point that sympathy is acting on your empathy. That can be over done but I think it is very important to be able to act on your understandings of people.

caitlina said...

Daniel- I think that someone could deepen his or her empathy towards others. This could happen when someone experiences a hard situation such as poverty, famine, natural disaster, and they see how fortunate they really are.

Daniel said...

phoebef and mitchs -- have you noticed your own empathy deepening at certain moments in your life?

BrianC said...

Daniel-I think it is entirly possible for someone to increase their empathy. For example, if there's a really rich person who has almost no empathy and he suddenly goes bankrupt and has to get a job at Wal-mart and live as middle-class, then they would have to become more empathetic to survive at that level. Extremes aside, I think anyone can increase their empathy by doing such things as charity work, donating, or even just going to visit people who aren't as well-off as them. So, I think you can realisticly increase your empathy.

Laurenc said...

daniel - I don't think it is possible to deeper or increase your level of empathy. I think we can only care or relate to other's problems to a certain amoount and that varies from person to person. Also if someone is too empathetic then people will take advantage of them. This is especially true for teachers who are too empathetic and will take any excuse from anyone.

morganw said...

Daniel - I do think that people can increase their empathy, but I do not think it is something that can be taught. Let me explain. Empathy is something I believe in very strongly, but I also believe that empathy is a personal attribute that can only be changed by the person themself. You can do activities to make you more aware of empathy, but it really comes down to you and how willing you are to change and let yourself feel and "mimic" the emotions of others. Its a right-brained attribute that cannot be approached in a left-brained way because it cannot be understood in a linear, sequential or logical way.

nilec said...

John- I agree that in school empathy should be a factor only to a certain degree. But think it is up to the students to be responsible enough to determind when empathy should play a role.

jordanh said...

I think that you can gain or lose empathy by living a certain experience. For example, when my parents divorced, I became more empathetic for kids whose parents were divorced, and less empathetic for kids whose parents were together. I think that experience shapes a person's empathy.

amyw said...

I agree with kristina in the inner circle. Teachers can get to know students too well and start to have way too much empathy for them. I know because I have seen it. It's good to get to know your teacher, but they also have to hold up their expectations for you. On that same note, if there's an extreme situation (like a death in the family), then it's OK for your teacher to loosen their expectations for you for a while until the situation clears up.

NickB said...

@ maddieh, actually, most democrats and republicans are both more worried about the economy than the war, a first in american history. This signifies that we don't so much care about Iraq, but more about themselves. This speaks volumes about how much more room we have to grow in the skill of empathy
-nick

KatherineM said...

Daniel, I think it is realistically possible for someone to improve their empathy over time. People go through many different experiences as they go through life, and through these experiences, they learn a lot about life and other people, which allows them to better relate to one others.

lizc said...

I think that it is so much easier to have empathy for someone when you go through the same thing yourself. Otherwise you are sympethizing with them more than you are feeling empathy for them. If you share a same experience then you can share the same feeling.

melissaz said...

I have been reading some of your comments on if computers will ever e able to become empathetic, and really, anything can happen. It seems that so much has been changing in the fact of technology and a lot has happened that many thought could never and would never. I have a feeling that if a computer can actually become empathtic, it will take a long time but anyting can happen.

Tylerg! said...

Brianc, I agree. Your situation to some extent defines your empathy. Whatever your circumstance helps to prove how much empathy you will have.

Selenam said...

Daniel-Yes I do think you can improve your sense of empathy. People could practice imagining what it would be like to be someone in a particular situation. With practice they could get better at empathizing with different people.

Liap said...

aaronw-
I don't think that someone's favorite color has anything to do with how empathetic someone is. Most people decide what their favorite color is when they are 2-4years old, based on memories associated with that color.

kristinasmom said...

On Mrs. Smiths question. Parents live and do the best they can to raise their children. They want the best for them and they see how the society is right now. They want their child to go to school and get a job that they will enjoy. If you do not like a job or career that you like how can you be as determined and have prosperity in happiness as well as income or whatever your desires are?

ZachH said...

@ Javon,

I think there is a fine line between Empathy and sympathy. Sympathy is feeling sorry for someone where empathy is being able to relate to the person. For example, if someone had a relative die, but you've never that, you would feel sympathy for them. But if you had also had a relavtive die, you would fell empathy for them because you understand the emotions and what they are going through.

mattw said...

@laurenc and Daniel - I agree that teachers can be too empathetic. In fact, just this morning, my first block teacher let me in late just because I said that we hit too many red lights. I appreciate it, but at some point your just becoming a push-over.

stefo said...

The inner circle is talking about empathetic relationship in the school. Students need a connection and understanding that some curcumstances deserve more empathy than other. A balance is needed. Students need to be responsible and to carry their own burden at times. There needs to be a that line though in the class. The teacher needs to be understanding but also need to keep control.

MollyS said...

I was wondering, is empathy something that you can teach yourself to have? Or are we just as emapathetic as someone else, or something else like the empathy quotient, says?

markg said...

Nilec- I agree with you becuase i think at a high school level students need to be professional and sometimes its not necessary to know everything that is going on in everyone else's lives.

alyssas said...

Jordan H.- I completely agree. I was in the same situation and afterwards, I saw my friends' families in a completely different way. So do you think that your friends could have true empathy for you in that situation?

maddief said...

I still think that people can never have to much empathy. I believe that there can be too much sympathy, if you act on your empathy, but I don't think that relating to another person can ever be a bad thing.

maddieh said...

AlexD- I agree that the world would be better if everyone could empathize. One thing that springs to mind is the genocide in Darfur. if everyone cared and felt empathy for those people then the genocide would probably be over or be controlled a lot more.

macm said...

maddieh-
I think that you are right about people hardening to emotion. Sometimes, people feel so much that they just don't want to feel anything anymore, not just sympathy but other emotions too like hope. This is partly the fault of the media, because if they shwoed somthing uplifiting about the war, perhaps a child who has made an amazing recovery or somebody getting an education, people would be more willing to feel happy bout it, and at the same time welcoming back all of their emotions.

Louiseb said...

Daniel-
I think that unless a very conscious effort is made to increase your empathy, it will never change. It seems to me that we all have the same amount of empathy, we just use it differently. I know that I am very tight with how I use empathy, I also know that there are times when people will see me as someone with very little empathy but in reality I have just as much empathy as everyone else, I just don't show it as much as some other people.

amandah said...

In the inner circle they were talking about empathy in the classroom. I agree with Leslie the teacher should have a balance of empathy.

josed said...

Daniel, I think that people can realistically improve their empathy. It usually only takes one or two ordeals where you have empathy for people. If you have a vivid imagination, then you can easily put yourself in someone's shoes. So, in order to be more empathic, one must first be more creative. To be more creative, you use the high concept aptitudes ( design, story, symphony). Then, you do more of "going into people's shoes."

mitchs said...

Daniel- Yes, I have noticed my empathy change at one point in my life. When my parents got divorced (age 4) I was the older child, and as I grew up I began to serve as the communication link between my parents. It really increased my empathy because my parents were both very negative about each other, so I had to put myself in each of their positions and try to decide for myself who was right and who was wrong. It really taught me a lot about people's emotions.

kristenw said...

serena and john
- that's very true so your saying like what they said in the inner circle, that they need to acknoledge their issues but not let it affect the way they teach and treat the kids to a point where it's unfair to other kids

whitneys said...

javonm - Great Question! I think there is a way someone can truly feel natural empathy without comparing the situation to their personal life. The proof I have of this is acting. There are some emotions an actor has to portray in a movie or a play they absolutely cannot relate to their personal lives. Therefore, the actor takes themselves out and fully becomes the character. They feel and react how the character would. But of course this takes a lot of practice. So I think there can be a natural empathy, but it takes time and effort to develop.

amyw said...

I do think that empathy can be increased. However, in order to increase it, you must have a concious desire to do so. No one can make you increase your empathy level, or do it for you. It's all you. But once you decide this, the sky's the limit!

katyj said...

nilec - i agree. Empathy is very important in school, but it is very important for the student to take it into their own hands and do not use a teachers empathy to thier advantage. For example if someone has a really empathetic teacher they shouldnt use that to thier advantage to get out of an assignment.

Lukez said...

Mr.Pink - I think that certain things can trigger a person to be more empathetic. Like if a person sees somethings that is really sad, they are more empathetic to that then if they were to just hear about the same thing.

Daniel said...

selenam -- i agree that people can improve their empathy, but there are limits. some people are, no doubt, more naturally empathetic than others. but i do think that practice, awareness, environment, and experience can push people to the upper end of their ranges.

NickB said...

Nick
I wouldn't say that people are not concerned with the war. I agree that many people are selfish. All they care about is their son or daughter coming home. Not about what pulling out would do to Iraq and the people there. Also, people are fickle. They have become bored of the current status, and they want some big change for them to stay interested.

nilec said...

New topic-
How does empathy affect relationships with family and friends?

ParkerH said...

I looked up the exact definitions of empathy, and here they are...

em·pa·thy –noun 1. the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.
2. the imaginative ascribing to an object, as a natural object or work of art, feelings or attitudes present in oneself: By means of empathy, a great painting becomes a mirror of the self.

Any thoughts or comments on this?

SerenaL said...

Daniel-

Realistically yes a persons level of empathy can change, but not necessarily. And it depends on your definition of empathy. I understand it as relating to one another and understanding a similar feeling. So to empathize for someone's hardships, you have to experience your own hardships.

And to your other question, yes. When I am having more problems or if I am happier than I normally am, then I usually have more empathy for other people. But in general I am a very caring person so it is hard to notice when I am even more empathetic then I usually am.

mitchl. said...

Melissaz, I disagree that sometime in the future computers will have any empathy because a computer doesn't have a brain, therefore it can't relate to anything that you are going through because it has never gone through a situation that can put it into someone elses shoes.

Selenam said...

melissaz-I agree. If computers adnvace far enough, it is concievable that they could develop empathy. The human brain functions using electrical signals, so if scientists understand enough about how the human brain works, then they could probably build an artificial brain, complete with empathy.

Javonm said...

Molly- I think to truely learn and apply empathy you must be able to have experienced some sort of situaiton that causes you to react appropriately with empathy that you have earned over your personal experiences.

Laurenc said...

I have to say something relating to what kristina just said in the inner circle and about fake smiles which Pink talks about in AWNM.

If someone tells me their goldfish died the night before I will say something like "gosh, i'm so sorry" but in reality i've had fish..and they die a lot so I don't really care which sounds really mean but its true. I think a lot of times people will fake empathize and pretend to relate when really they don't. Another example is when someone says "i know how that feels" when it's never happened to them.

meganu said...

Javon-
I think there is a sense of natural empathy that we have. Yes we may compare what has happened in other people's lives to our own but even that comes naturally to us. Our intuition knows that something is different and there is a reason for feeling sad or whatever for that person it happened to.

Liap said...

I agree with what Rachel is saying in the inner circle. Teachers can only be so empathetic before they have to be strict. For example, a teacher may be empathetic that they were having a really busy night and couldn't get one assignment done on time, bu if the student starts doing this on a regular basis, the teacher has to stop accepting the late work.

mattf said...

@ The Inner Circle

Empathy in schools needs to gradually decrease over time. In first grade, the teacher needs to be able to understand the death of a fish, and not scream at the kid for not doing his homework. In high school, the teachers should still be empathetic, but demand the work be completed unless there is a major family crisis, like a death in the family or a relative is in the hospital. The relationships between the students and teachers should be empathetic, but on a social level and not professionally (classroom work).

alexd said...

Has anyone seen the movie Freedom Writers?

I think that movie is an example of true empathy. The teacher in that movie is extremely empathetic to ALL of her students but eventually it ruins her personal life. She has to choose between her students and herself. That is an example of TOO much empathy because she doesn't even have time for her own life.

chelseas said...

Daniel-
I think that empathy can change over time. I think that you cannot truly be empathetic until you have placed yourself in someone else's shoes. Until then, you can feel sorry for them, and comfrot them, but I think that you have to take to the next step up.

markg said...

NileC- Empathy affects relationships between family and friends in a good way. They want to know what each other is doing and how their personal life is going. It affects relationships in a good way. I think that empathy is what relationships are built on.

alyssas said...

Do you think empathy can be mistaken for other emotions besides sympathy? Like if leaders show empathy it can often be mistaken as weakness. Is that true?

jordanh said...

alyssas- I think that is funny to see younger kids' reactions when I would tell them that my parents are divorced. It usually makes them uncomfortable, and today that "D" word is the worse curse words for kids. But I think that for kids my age that they empathize with us more so then a younger kid. I can see them imagining their lives like mine.

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