"Empathy is vital for a healthy democracy, it ensures that we listen to different perspectives and we hear other peoples emotions, and that we also feel them. Indeed without empathy, democracy would not be possible."  Simon Baron-Cohen  TEDx: The Erosion of Empathy

Democracy depends on people listening to each other. Taking their various, different and divergent views  and working to bringing them together (converging) on a common set of actions.  This process takes time and skill to do.

This differs from from an authoritarian or 'power over' approach where a smaller group exercises power over others and suppresses the voice of others.


A democracy, where people do not have the structures, attitudes and skills for working together, is in danger of falling into chaos or dysfunction. Instead of this dysfunction, people may start supporting an authoritarian leadership to at least bring order.


It is very important therefore to be teaching, training and practicing the skills of listening, empathy, dialogue and collaboration if we want a democratic system to work.


The empathy circle is a basic foundational practice for people to learn to listen deeply and dialogue with each other.