The Empathic Civilization

The Empathic Civilization

The Race to Global Consciousness in A World in Crisis

Book - 2009
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In this sweeping new interpretation of the history of civilization, bestselling author Jeremy Rifkin looks at the evolution of empathy and the profound ways that it has shaped our development-and is likely to determine our fate as a species.

Today we face unparalleled challenges in an energy-intensive and interconnected world that will demand an unprecedented level of mutual understanding among diverse peoples and nations. Do we have the capacity and collective will to come together in a way that will enable us to cope with the great challenges of our time?

In this remarkable book Jeremy Rifkin tells the dramatic story of the extension of human empathy from the rise of the first great theological civilizations, to the ideological age that dominated the 18th and 19th centuries, the psychological era that characterized much of the 20th century and the emerging dramaturgical period of the 21st century. The result is a new social tapestry-The Empathic Civilization-woven from a wide range of fields.

Rifkin argues that at the very core of the human story is the paradoxical relationship between empathy and entropy. At various times in history new energy regimes have converged with new communication revolutions, creating ever more complex societies that heightened empathic sensitivity and expanded human consciousness. But these increasingly complicated milieus require extensive energy use and speed us toward resource depletion.

The irony is that our growing empathic awareness has been made possible by an ever-greater consumption of the Earth′s resources, resulting in a dramatic deterioration of the health of the planet. If we are to avert a catastrophic destruction of the Earth′s ecosystems, the collapse of the global economy and the possible extinction of the human race, we will need to change human consciousness itself-and in less than a generation.

Rifkin challenges us to address what may be the most important question facing humanity today: Can we achieve global empathy in time to avoid the collapse of civilization and save the planet?

One of the most popular social thinkers of our time, Jeremy Rifkin is the bestselling author of The European Dream, The Hydrogen Economy#65533; The End of Work, The Biotech Century, and The Age of Access. He is the president of the Foundation on Economic Trends in Washington, D.C.


Publisher: Cambridge : 2009
ISBN: 9780745641461
Branch Call Number: ANF 327 RIFK
Characteristics: 674 p. ; 23 cm

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m
mizletty
Jun 01, 2015

This book is a gem - well written, a fascinating look at our history, thought-provoking in its premise and development.

s
StarGladiator
Sep 10, 2013

I met Rifkin many years ago during some volunteer political activities I was involved with, so I wasn't surprised by a recent book of his fraudulently blaming the economic meltdown solely on oil prices (completely discounting that Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and others, had speculated the paper price of oil 13.8 times higher than its physical price, but the real reason was the banksters' insurance swindle, buying and selling among themselves an infinite amount of unregulated insurance policies, far exceeding the total amount of money on the planet, which was why the had to bail out AIG, or else, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, GE, and so forth, would have gone bankrupt!). Rifkin is not what he appears to be, which is always upholding the status quo!

j
JohnFDavidson
Jan 16, 2011

After reading I was able to read some criticism of it, but feel that it was aimed at the naivity of the author. The author, Jeremy Rifkin identifies a variety of trends with the key one being a global growth of empathy. His argument is credible and he concedes that it might not be enough to overcome global self destruction by means climate change or nuclear war. He suggests that in more educated, liberal socities we are much more accepting as we understand what previously were regarded as groups that were "the other" That includes ethnic, religious groups and women, but more recently homosexuals and handicapped people all of whom are more integrated and contributing. Part of what allows us to be more understanding, and accepting (ie. more empathic) comes from the drain of finite energy sources that are ultimately self-destructive. As a liberal minded reader I am encouraged and wondering how I can help tip the scales.

debwalker Jan 04, 2011

Chosen as Book of the Year by Arianna Huffington. "My book of the year is Jeremy Rifkin’s The Empathic Civilization (Putnam), a fascinating work that boldly challenges the conventional view of human nature embedded in our educational systems, business practices and political culture – a view that sees human nature as detached, rational and objective, and sees individuals as autonomous agents in pursuit primarily of material self-interest. And it seeks to replace that view with a counter-narrative that allows humanity to see itself as an extended family living in a shared and interconnected world.

"Empathy, Rifkin tells us – and backs his view up with new scientific data – is not a quaint behaviour trotted out during intermittent visits to a food bank or during a heart-tugging telethon. Instead, it lies at the very core of human existence. Since the global economic crisis, the role empathy plays in our lives has only grown more important. In fact, in this time of economic hardship, political instability, and rapid technological change, empathy is the one quality we most need if we're going to survive and flourish in the 21st century."

2
21288004246712
Oct 16, 2010

The range of Rifkin's knowledge is impressive, but with preconceived notions he can readily mine the historical record to support his views, and the emergence of his empathic civilization does not appear all that assured.

v
velvetcactus
Aug 22, 2010

Hope I can get through it before "the volcano blows!"

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