Editor of the Reformer:
Regarding the recent op-ed by Jim Freedman: "The compassion deficit: Why empathy is not enough," Jan. 18.
I think the author does a nice job raising some legitimate concerns. I very recently organized a panel of top experts in the field of emotional intelligence for a presentation on emotional intelligence and one of the world’s leading experts on empathy participated. Dr. Helen Riess has a slightly different take on the topic. She suggests that our empathic ability to understand another’s feelings and to feel what another feels leads to physiologic changes that generate empathic concern. What we do with that concern is what determines whether we ignore the other or we decide to be helpful in some way.
The Harvard Alumni club in Connecticut asked me to organize a panel of world class leaders in the field of emotional intelligence (EI) to talk about why interest in EI is soaring. The panel presented their insights on Jan. 11, 2021. There were many people who offered high praise for the panel and asked if they could see it again, if it had been recorded, and if they could share the recording. A recording was not done professionally but was available and so I have posted it here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6KfyKRrf-U) for you to enjoy and to share. If you like it please share it since our intent as presenters was to encourage more and more people to understand how powerful emotional intelligence can be in making our lives better.
One other thought that you may find interesting as well is that the 74 million people that voted for President Trump may feel the author lacks “empathy” for them since he started with a quote from President Obama and later wrote that President Trump was calling for insurrection. I suspect that many people agreed with his comments while a whole lot of other people were turned off. Such is the nature of our politics today.
And if you want to feel some compassion for conservatives watch this powerful 10 minute presentation from the Braver Angels group by Reverend Franklin Ruff: https://youtu.be/GSHl2HLVVVc.
Simsbury, Conn., Jan. 19