Empathy

We are the problem, and we create the change

What follows are very incomplete thoughts and reflections on some recent readings. I would love to hear your ideas and feedback. 

The world is a system made of systems, all inherently living–what Donella Meadows defines as “a set of things—people, cells, molecules, or whatever—interconnected in such a way that they produce their own pattern of behavior over time.”

As I’ve come to better understand systems thinking and social change at a cursory level, I’m realizing that change starts within each of us. As we are part of systems, we are part of the problem, and therefore we are also part of the change. That change begins when each of us realize that we create both sides of the equation.  (more…)

Reading about systems and empathy

In the past few months I’ve moved to a new city and started a new job exploring design for social innovation. Writing has fallen by the wayside. But I recently read three fantastic books that I hope to write more about soon. Check them out!

Note: If you are unfamiliar with systems thinking, I recommend reading them in this order as I did. 

Thinking in Systems: A Primer

Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future

The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society

Interesting Reads on Empathy and “Doing Good”

Below are three articles on the themes of empathy and “doing good” while living abroad that have really resonated with me.

The Baby in the Well: The Case Against Empathy by Paul Bloom

The Romanticization of Poverty by Ben Thurman

I Came to Haiti to Do Good... by Nora Schenkel

Empathy in the Classroom

This video is inspiring. How can we help schools and teachers treat their students this way, and encourage empathy, critical thinking, and independence in the classroom? I’ve been asking myself this question a lot lately, and it seems like this school is definitely on the right track. GOOD has more on the public Mission Hill School in Boston.