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Join the Empathy Revolution!

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Introspection is out, and outrospection is in. Philosopher and author Roman Krznaric explains how we can help drive social change by stepping outside ourselves.

Roman Krznaric: I believe that empathy – the imaginative act of stepping into another person’s shoes and viewing the world from their perspective – is a radical tool for social change and should be a guiding light for the art of living. Over the past decade, I have become convinced that it has the power not only to transform individual lives, but to help tackle some of the great problems of our age, from wealth inequality to violent conflicts and climate change.

It is important to understand what empathy is and is not. If you see a homeless person living under a bridge you may feel sorry for him and give him some money as you pass by. That is pity or sympathy, not empathy. If, on the other hand, you make an effort to look at the world through his eyes, to consider what life is really like for him, and perhaps have a conversation that transforms him from a faceless stranger into a unique individual, then you are empathising.

For an overview of my ideas on empathy, have a look at this article on The Six Habits of Highly Empathic People.

But the big question is this: What practical action should each of us take to create a more empathic world? 

Here’s my easy 4 step guide to becoming an Empathic Revolutionary.

1. Watch the video above
The Power of Outrospection, my new RSA Animate on empathy, is designed to explode your empathy neurons in a mere 10 minutes. It’s based on my longer talk The Six Habits of Highly Empathic People.

2. Read the book
Every revolution needs a handbook and this is it. The Wonderbox: Curious Histories of How to Live reveals how to bring empathic practice into everyday life, drawing on inspiration from the panorama of human history.  ‘A fascinating rattlebag of intelligent, stimulating essays.’ – Financial Times


3. Join the community 
Subscribe to my empathy blog Outrospection. Check out the Culture of Empathy Magazine for empathy news and ideas. Connect with fellow empathists through Ashoka’s Start Empathy campaign. Discover grass-roots empathy organisations like the Parents Circle. And how about helping me found the world’s first Empathy Museum?

Note from Films For Action: We also encourage you to sign up as a member on our site so you can contribute to our community. The whole mission of Films For Action is driven by this philosophy of creating an empathic society. 

4. Deepen your thinking
I’ve written a number of reports, essays and articles that delve into empathy from a range of angles – educational, political, artistic and philosophical. Here’s a selection of writings to chew over.

​‘The Six Habits of Highly Empathic People’ – published by the Greater Good Science Center in Berkeley.

‘Five ways to Expand Your Empathy’ – the most popular post from my Outrospection blog.

‘Time to Swap Introspection for Outrospection’ – on the art of empathy travel, from The Scotsman newspaper.

‘Empathy becomes a revolutionary force for change’ – Wired Magazine 2013 Trends

‘Empathy’ – from  The Observer’s Ideas for Modern Living series.

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Films For Action is a library for people who want to change the world.

Founded in 2006, our mission is to provide citizens with the knowledge and perspectives essential to creating a more beautiful, just, sustainable, and democratic society.

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Why join Films For Action?

Goal: To rapidly transition to a just, ecologically sustainable, holistic way of living as fast as possible.

We believe the first step to achieve this goal should be an information delivery network that can amplify the impacts of all our efforts 1000 fold. 

Although Films For Action is centered around film - its true objective is the transformation of the world. This means moving away from the unsustainable paradigm we have now to a regenerative paradigm, as fast as humanly possible.  

Film is the medium of delivery -- the catalyst, the metabolizing agent to speed up, amplify and multiply the effects of every transition movement on the planet. And of course, "transition" contains it all - social justice, ecological regeneration, true democracy, egalitarian economics, universal empathy, less cultural insanity and more happiness and well-being.

All of these movements need a media ecosystem that supports this transition, rather than the media we have today which marginalizes it, ignores it, sanitizes it, suppresses it, or actively fights it. There is certainly good coverage across many different news outlets, and the quality and depth varies, but in terms of volume, the good stuff is easily lost in the deluge of superficial concerns.

Watch any network TV channel for 24 hours or read the newspaper for a week, and you will see what we mean. The dominant narratives which drive the national debate and become "common knowledge" is more often superficial, focused on symptoms rather than root causes, and reinforces the conventional "two sides" within the status quo. The lies and spin promoted by figures in power become well known, while voices that challenge and expand the range of debate rarely get heard. But most importantly, the level of repetition and volume of coverage is what counts. What gets covered day after day, and what gets covered once and is forgotten, or not covered at all? That's why we need a media movement that's dedicated to elevating the voices that aren't getting heard. We need media alternatives that make social change its primary focus. That's why Films For Action exists.

Ultimately, we're just one star in this growing constellation of new media, but we aim to do our part by cultivating the best video library dedicated to transition online, and we hope you'll join us