You wont find the words ‘ Empathy Revolution printed on many T-Shirts. that is because empathy is usually associated with relationships between individuals rather than with radical social and political change. Yet it is time we rescued empathy from the realm of private life and unleashed its potential to transform public life as well. To do this we need to grasp that empathy can be as much a collective phenomenon as an individual one. When a critical mass of people join together to make the imaginative leap into the lives of togethers, empathy has the power to alters the contours of history. For each and every one of us, the culmination of our empathic journeys is to help create these waves of collective empathy that can play a part in tackling the great problem of our age, from poverty and inequality to armed violence and environmental collapse.
The idea of collective empathy is especially relevant today because it center balances the highly individualistic focus of modern self help culture, which tends to view the search our own ambitions and desires, rather than one that involves working with others towards common goals. Yet thinkers going back to Aristotle have recognised that we are social animals and that joy and meaning in life grow, in good part, from being immersed in something larger than ourselves. Human beings thrive on “we” as much as “me”. We may have homo self-centricus and homo empathicus jostling for space within us, but we need to make some room for socioempathicus too: We are creatures whose empathic selves are fully realised by acting together to create changes
How can we produce a surge of collective empathy that propels us from the self obsessed Age of introspection into a new age of Outrospection? To start we will find out what collective empathy looks like by exploring the greatest meeting of strangers in British history.