Monday, January 27, 2014

Mirror Neurons & Empathy!

We have things called mirror neurons...these are neurons that fire in our own system when we empathize (put ourselves in someone else's position, as if we were experiencing their experience).  Meaning, the same neurons I have active when I feel or do something will be active if I see YOU feeling or doing the same thing!  How amazing is that?!  This means, empathy is actually biological...a humans are built to empathize, to feel what others feel.

I saw this video a while ago, but I am SO glad I just bumped into it again for it's incredible ability to explain a lot of science and humanity in about 10 minutes (and he talks fast, but there are pictures to help you stay with him)!


Perhaps my favorite part (although there are SO many) is the following taken from the script:

"There is no empathy in Utopia because there is no suffering.  Empathy is grounded in the acknowledgement of death and a celebration of life and rooting for each other to flourish and be.  It's based on our frailties and our imperfections.  SO when we talk about building an empathic civilization we're not talking about a Utopia, we're talking about the ability of human beings to show solidarity not only with each other but with our fellow creatures who have a one and only life on this little planet."

"To empathize is to civilize, to civilize is to empathize."

Go out there and mirror your neurons (you don't have much of a choice in that), and THEN act on those mirrored internal responses.  If you see someone angry, feel for them instead of being angry with them.  You know what it feels like to be angry.  If you see someone sad, feel for them instead of walking away or ignoring them.  You know what it feels like to be sad.  Lend a hand, an ear, a shoulder, a word of encouragement.  Do what you wish someone would say to you when you are feeling the way others are feeling.  

Happy, sad, indifferent, elated...we know these feelings.  
Let's start acting like it!  Empathy!

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