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Humanity on a Tightrope: Thoughts on Empathy, Family, and Big Changes for a Viable Future Hardcover – November 16, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Addressing the idea from perspectives that include (but are not limited to) neuroscience (via a lucid description of mirror neurons), motherhood (humans are cooperative breeders), and religion, the authors note the importance of empathy in human history. They highlight how increasing empathy may help us solve our environmental and social problems and back away from our impending ecological and environmental collapse.
They repeatedly show how we can re-frame and re-focus contentious situations by encouraging empathy. And, they discuss the horrors that emerge when we lose our empathy--including the major genocides of the mid and late-20th centuries.
The book, while brief, is rich on ideas. Buy one and give one to a friend.
Global problems, interconnected threats to human security, and complexity theory dominate 21st century writing. These books all begin with the knotty entanglement of the effects of poverty, fundamentalism, nuclear proliferation, climate change, inequity, population, terrorism, ignorance and consumerism and then move toward possible solutions for coping with or managing the complexity. Ehrlich and Ornstein have turned this upside down by beginning with what unites humanity--from our first minutes outside the womb--and argue that if we can return to that natural instinctual empathy , we can find our way out of the morass of threats to humanity and human welfare. By beginning with what unites us and then exploring the threats, they cast new light on what divides us and create hope for retreating from the brink of destruction.
I wish this book had been written a year ago, when my father was alive. He would have greatly enjoyed having this book read to him; it would have connected him with the values and hope for a better world upon which he built his life. By bringing hope for the future, it would have brought peace: he would have insisted that we send copies to all 16 of his grandchildren.
The authors review the research on how we humans work and apply that to how we might catapult the tribalism and nationalism that blocks us from seeing that our common fate requires cooperative solutions on a global scale. But beyond persuading us we are capable of making these changes, they tackle just how we might get there, what solutions various institutions might enact but more important, how we might harness the nearly instantaneous ways to reach one another to achieve what older efforts have fallen short on. The book is less set of commandments on the one true course but rather offers a methodology, the most interesting and optimistic is MAHB, The Millenium Assessment of Human Behavior, a veritable petri dish for problems solvers.
The book is a bit "My Dinner with Andre", listening in on a chat between two erudite brilliant minds. It's readable, accessible, digestible. Don't let its "brevity" fool you---it may be the most important book they've written, if we read and heed them, that is.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A unique presentation of various perspectives to consider when reflecting on the Human Race.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Put down five stars just to write in this box. Have not read the book yet but looking forward to it.Published 14 months ago by W. Kasprzynski
Although this book is a much needed advocacy book about the survival of humanity and the very real threat to our world civilization posed by various problems from climate change to... Read morePublished on July 16, 2011 by Dennis