The Empathic Civilization

The Empathic Civilization

The Race to Global Consciousness in A World in Crisis

Book - 2009
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"One of the leading big-picture thinkers of our day" ( Utne Reader ) delivers his boldest work in this erudite, tough-minded, and far-reaching manifesto.

Never has the world seemed so completely united-in the form of communication, commerce, and culture-and so savagely torn apart-in the form of war, financial meltdown, global warming, and even the migration of diseases.

No matter how much we put our minds to the task of meeting the challenges of a rapidly globalizing world, the human race seems to continually come up short, unable to muster the collective mental resources to truly "think globally and act locally." In his most ambitious book to date, bestselling social critic Jeremy Rifkin shows that this disconnect between our vision for the world and our ability to realize that vision lies in the current state of human consciousness. The very way our brains are structured disposes us to a way of feeling, thinking, and acting in the world that is no longer entirely relevant to the new environments we have created for ourselves.

The human-made environment is rapidly morphing into a global space, yet our existing modes of consciousness are structured for earlier eras of history, which are just as quickly fading away. Humanity, Rifkin argues, finds itself on the cusp of its greatest experiment to date: refashioning human consciousness so that human beings can mutually live and flourish in the new globalizing society.

In essence, this shift in consciousness is based upon reaching out to others. But to resist this change in human relations and modes of thinking, Rifkin contends, would spell ineptness and disaster in facing the new challenges around us. As the forces of globalization accelerate, deepen, and become ever more complex, the older faith-based and rational forms of consciousness are likely to become stressed, and even dangerous, as they attempt to navigate a world increasingly beyond their reach and control. Indeed, the emergence of this empathetic consciousness has implications for the future that will likely be as profound and far-reaching as when Enlightenment philosophers upended faith-based consciousness with the canon of reason.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Group, c2009
ISBN: 9781585427659
Branch Call Number: 901 Rif 3558ad 1
Characteristics: x, 674 p


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Jun 01, 2015

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

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!

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."

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.

Aug 22, 2010

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

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