a revolution of human relationships: outrospection
October 5, 2011, 9:50 pm
Filed under: the sweet life | Tags: , , , , , ,


I have decided to do something new with coromandal, namely to use posts to introduce readers to very good sources of information on given topics.

This first post is an introduction to Roman Krznaric’s blog called outrospection.  It is about – as its subtitle makes clear – “empathy and the art of living.”  I have written several posts in coromandal on empathy, mostly in response to the writing of Jeremy Rifkin for whom the issue is a serious preoccupation.

Krznaric describes the purpose of his writing and the potential emancipatory function of empathy in our lives:
The twentieth century was an age of introspection, when the self-help industry and therapy culture encouraged us to be excessively individualistic and narcissistic, unashamedly emphasising what can be done to help me. I believe that the twenty-first century should become the age of outrospection, in which we place a greater focus on discovering and fulfilling ourselves through being interested in other people, and understanding how they live, think and look at the world.

In a video the author describes empathy as an antidote to our selfishness and – I find this most hopeful – as a tool that will relate us back to one another:

On the one hand it’s an antidote to the narcissistic and individualistic cult of self help that we’ve inherited from the 20th century.  And on the other hand it’s a tool for political radicals because it can bring about revolution.  Not a revolution of new institutions or new laws or new policies.  But a revolution of human relationships.

If this sounds interesting to you there is over two years of writing on empathy on the outrospection blog.  I know I’ll be checking in often.

Krznaric is on the faculty at The School of Life in London, an institution which offers a “variety of programmes and services concerned with how to live wisely and well.”

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