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Empathy Deficit



Barack Obama

"The world doesn't just revolve around you. There's a lot of talk in this country about the federal deficit. But I think we should talk more about our empathy deficit."
Barack Obama



"We live in a culture that discourages empathy. A culture that too often tells us our principle goal in life is to be rich, thin, young, famous, safe, and entertained. A culture where those in power too often encourage these selfish impulses."
Barack Obama


"You know, the principle of empathy gives broader meaning, by the way, to Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolence...

It seems like we got an empathy shortage, an empathy deficit. More serious than the federal budget deficit. We've become so cynical that it almost seems naive to believe that we can understand each other across the gulf of race, or class or region or religion...

An empathy shortage. That's what the principle of empathy does, its calls us all to task. The heartless conservative, the patronizing liberal, the powerful and the powerless. The oppressed and the oppressor. No one is exempt from finding common ground, because when no one is exempt it forces all of us to examine our own actions, our own belief systems. It shakes us out of our complacency and protects us from our own blindness our own self-righteousness. Our own fanaticism." Barack Obama


"Barack Obama: That's great. I often say we've got a budget deficit that's important, we've got a trade deficit that's critical, but what I worry about most is our empathy deficit. When I speak to students, I tell them that one of the most important things we can do is to look through somebody else's eyes. People like bin Laden are missing that sense of empathy. That's why they can think of the people in the World Trade Center as abstractions. They can just crash a plane into them and not even consider, "How would I feel if my child were in there?"

Oprah: We Americans also suffer from an empathy deficit, because we often feel that the woman in Bosnia or Afghanistan who loses her child is somehow different from us. "



"The biggest deficit that we have in our society and in the world right now is an empathy deficit. We are in great need of people being able to stand in somebody else's shoes and see the world through their eyes.  And the great power of books is the capacity to take you out of yourself and put you somewhere else. And to suddenly say, “Oh, this is what it’s like” – maybe not perfectly – but it gives you some glimpse of “This is what it is like to be a woman”, or “This is what it is like to be an African-American”. Or “This is what it is like to be impoverished in India”. Or “This is what it’s like to be in the midst of war”.

And so much of what binds us together in society and allows it to function effectively depends on it. And so much of what is wrong with how we interact, and so much of what is wrong with our politics has to do with the absence of that quality. And so it’s books more than anything else that are going to give our young people the ability to see other people. And that then gives them the capacity to act responsibly with respect to other people."   Barack Obama



"The last piece of advice is to cultivate a sense of empathy. There's a lot of talk in this country about the federal deficit. But I think we should talk more about our empathy deficit - the ability to put ourselves in someone else's shoes; to see the world through those who are different from us - the child who's hungry, the laid-off steelworker, the immigrant woman cleaning your dorm room." 
 
Barack Obama



"You know, there's a lot of talk in this country about the federal deficit. But I think we should talk more about our empathy deficit - the ability to put ourselves in someone else's shoes; to see the world through the eyes of those who are different from us - the child who's hungry, the steelworker who's been laid-off, the family who lost the entire life they built together when the storm came to town." Barack Obama


"What I've learned about how Democrats lose, Democrats lose when they are not clear what they stand for. Democrats lose when they are attacked, and because they don't know where they stand, they end up getting defensive, instead of going on the offensive......
 

The problem of the 21st century is the problem of the other, people who are not like us... people talk about our federal budget deficit, we have a empathy deficit, we are not able to see world through other people eyes. And that's what I think I can provide." 
Barack Obama


"I'm talking about a moral deficit. I'm talking about an empathy deficit. I'm taking about an inability to recognize ourselves in one another; to understand that we are our brother's keeper; we are our sister's keeper;"
Barack Obama


"I'm talking about an empathy deficit that exists. I'm talking about an inability to recognize ourselves in each other, to understand that we are our brother's keeper, that we are our sister's keeper, that, in the words of Dr. King, we are all tied together in a single garment of destiny.  We have an empathy deficit when we're still sending our children down corridors of shame instead of corridors of opportunity, not just in South Carolina but all across the United States of America."
Barack Obama
 





Why Do We Have an Empathy Deficit?
And what can we do about it?
Nov 13, 2017
Diane Dreher Ph.D.
Distracted drivers, online bullying, uncaring workplaces, and disheartening disasters on the news—it doesn’t take a Ph.D. in psychology to see that we have an “empathy deficit.” 











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