Why Empathy Is Not the Best Way to Care

196

Oasis had it right: stop crying your heart out. Psychologist Paul Bloom argues that empathy may be working against our best interests, and that compassion may be a better strategy. Bloom's latest book is "Against Empathy"

Transcript - I argued empathy is a poor moral guide. It’s biased. It’s enumerate. It zaps the spirit. It can be weaponized to make us worse people. But one question I often get is what replaces it? And in my book I make a distinction between empathy and compassion. Now a lot of people think the terms mean the same thing and it’s not an argument of words. You can use whatever words you want. But psychologically there are two different processes. One is what I’ve been calling empathy which is you’re suffering, I put myself in your shoes. I feel your pain and that has all sorts of effects, most of them bad I would argue. But a second distinct process is compassion where I care about you. I care about your welfare but I don’t necessarily feel your suffering. Now you might say well that’s just a verbal difference or how do we know such a compassion exists. But there’s some really cool research exploring this and actually I got into this because I was at a conference in London and I bumped into Matthieu Ricard. He was hard to miss, long saffron robes, beatific smile. The happiest man on earth. And I got to talking to him and he asked me what I was up to and I told him that I was against empathy. And to me that felt kind of awkward but I thought, you know, telling a monk you’re against empathy. But he said oh, empathy. Of course you should be against empathy. And he began to tell me about his research and then I realized there’s a body of research, neuroscience research that distinguishes empathy from compassion, exactly the distinction I was looking for where they put people in scanners, FMRI scanners and they get them to engage in empathy meditation where you feel the suffering of the other person. Read Full Transcript Here: https://goo.gl/rYjtYT.

Related Videos

Media type
2:47
Stopping Psychopaths in Their Developmental Stage
Stopping Psychopaths in Their Developmental Stage
Details
in Relationships & Parenting
"I'm a very lucky psychopath," says neuroscientist James Fallon, who discovered he had borderline ps...
Media type
8:21
Why Are Millennial Women Ashamed About Out-earning Men?
Why Are Millennial Women Ashamed About Out-earning Men?
Details
in Relationships & Parenting
New research shows that young women who are out-earning men feel ashamed about it. Ana Kasparian, Br...
Media type
8:52
Single Life Vs. Married Life
Single Life Vs. Married Life
Details
in Relationships & Parenting
There's evidence indicating that more people are single now than ever before, people are freaking ou...
Media type
10:00
What we don't know about mother's milk
What we don't know about mother's milk
Details
in Relationships & Parenting
Breast milk grows babies' bodies, fuels neurodevelopment, provides essential immunofactors and safeg...
Media type
15:45
Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin - A hilarious celebration of lifelong female friendship
Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin - A hilarious celebration of lifelong female friendsh...
Details
in Relationships & Parenting
Legendary duo Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin have been friends for decades. In a raw, tender and wide-ra...
Media type
13:14
6 ways to support loved ones and friends with cancer
6 ways to support loved ones and friends with cancer
Details
in Relationships & Parenting
Why are we afraid or uncomfortable when someone we love has cancer? We don’t know how this horror mo...
Media type
13:23
Why women should tell the stories of humanity
Why women should tell the stories of humanity
Details
in Relationships & Parenting
For many centuries (and for many reasons) critically acclaimed creative genius has generally come fr...
Media type
8:46
The best ways to teach your little kids about money
The best ways to teach your little kids about money
Details
in Relationships & Parenting
Personal finance guru Beth Kobliner thinks kids should be learning about money and key economic conc...
Media type
5:59
What we can learn about love from Adam and Eve
What we can learn about love from Adam and Eve
Details
in Relationships & Parenting
Adam and Eve could be called the most famous couple in history. In "The First Love Story: Adam, Eve...
Media type
12:42
To raise brave girls, encourage adventure
To raise brave girls, encourage adventure
Details
in Relationships & Parenting
Gutsy girls skateboard, climb trees, clamber around, fall down, scrape their knees, get right back u...
Media type
1:10
National Puppy Day Reminds Us Of The Benefits Of Dogs
National Puppy Day Reminds Us Of The Benefits Of Dogs
Details
in Relationships & Parenting
In honor of National Puppy Day, here are a few ways our 4-legged friends make our daily lives better...
Media type
2:46
Using Sunday dinners to bridge social divides
Using Sunday dinners to bridge social divides
Details
in Relationships & Parenting
Can a simple meal help bridge the social and racial divides in our country? Dana Bash had lunch with...