The Power of Outrospection

What do Mr Spock, Che Guevara and Gandhi have in common? They all appear in my new RSA Animate, The Power of Outrospection, about how empathy can create radical social change.

If you want to know more about my ideas on empathy, a good place to start is my book The Wonderbox: Curious Histories of How to Live, which has a chapter on empathy that was the basis for the RSA Animate. The Wonderbox is about what looking through the lens of history can teach us about empathy, love, work, time and other aspects of everyday life.

You can also visit my empathy page, which outlines How to Join the Empathy Revolution in Five Easy Steps.

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3 Comments

  1. Posted 8 February 2013 at 3.50pm | Permalink

    I loved this! Especially the last couple of minutes where you talk about an empathy museum. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? I feel people are losing empathy as families become more nuclear and communication between even family members is increasingly through the digital world. I started my company, Treetle, precisely to nudge people to *actually do* what they love along with people who love to do the same things. The hope is you meet friends you didn’t even know you had!

  2. Sarah
    Posted 31 March 2013 at 2.28pm | Permalink

    Hi Roman,

    Thank you for this. I agree with you that stepping out of our comfortable knowledge spaces, especially as as time and spatial scales expand through technology and globalisation, is required for a more understanding, accepting and ultimately collaborative world.

    I just wanted to point out that this practice of embedding oneself in “someone else’s life” is precisely what cultural anthropologist do through ethnographic fieldwork. You might find a large amount of fascinating literature that you didn’t know looking that way!

  3. Roman Krznaric
    Posted 7 April 2013 at 5.07pm | Permalink

    Thanks for your comment Sarah. I agree that cultural anthropologists offer plenty of fascinating insights into empathy. In fact, I’ve done a fair amount of ethnographic fieldwork myself, in Guatemala. There’s an interesting new book out called The Anthropology of Empathy, edited by Hollan and Throop, focusing on the Pacific. I think anthropologists are only just getting back into empathy as an explicit topic of research after a long period of being distrustful of the concept, in part due to some rather disparaging comments from Clifford Geertz!
    Best wishes, Roman

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  • Welcome to OUTROSPECTION, my blog on empathy and the art of living. You'll find articles, interviews and news on the fundamental questions of how to live, with an emphasis on outrospection, which is about discovering who we are by stepping outside ourselves and exploring the lives of other people and cultures.


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