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The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis Hardcover – December 31, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
For author and social thinker Rifkin (The European Dream, The Hydrogen Economy), an E.U. advisor and senior lecturer at Wharton's Executive Education Program, the central paradox of human existence is, and has always been, the conflict between empathy and entropy: while globalization brings together diverse people, the very good-a rise in "empathic awareness"-is counterbalanced by the very bad-"dramatic deterioration of the health of the planet," by way of the technology that drives progress. Though wordy, Rifkin provides a thorough, lucid overview of mankind's history along the "empathy/entropy" spectrum: Spencer's mischaracterization of "nature red in tooth and claw," replaced by a more sensitive understanding of the biological and sociological evolution; the progression of socio-economic communities-civilizations-from the Neolithic to the "Modern Market Economy"; the current "Age of Empathy," in which the dominance of one language (English), "backyard" energies (wind, solar, etc.), the biosphere education in classrooms, and other developments, shine the way forward. Despite windiness and occasional hyperbole, this is the kind of reading fans of Jared Diamond and Richard Dawkins can sink their teeth into, with a contagious sense of urgency over whether we can "reach biosphere consciousness and global empathy in time to avert planetary collapse."
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"A brilliant read ... that boldly challenges the conventional view of human nature embedded in our educational systems, business practices, and political culture." Huffington Post "The kind of reading fans of Jared Diamond and Richard Dawkins can sink their teeth into, with a contagious sense of urgency over whether we can 'reach biosphere consciousness and global empathy in time to avert planetary collapse.'" Publishers Weekly "A thoroughly entertaining read." Socialist Unity "Many in the scholarly, religious, and political fields praise Jeremy Rifkin for a willingness to think big, raise controversial questions, and serve as a social and ethical prophet." New York Times Rifkin is "one of the leading big-picture thinkers of our day." Utne Reader "Rifkin poses real questions that we've spent too little time thinking about." Washington Post --This text refers to the Paperback edition.