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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. In this sweeping new interpretation of the history of civilization, bestselling author Jeremy Rifkin looks at the evolution of empathy and the profound ways that it. TITLE: The Empathic Civilisation. Speakers: Jeremy Rifkin. Chaired by: Date: Venue: RSA, 8 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6EZ. NB. This is an unedited.

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Steam and fossil fuels became the dominant energy regime and electronic communications, like telegraphs, radios, telephones, and television, became the dominant means of communication. Selected Writings is published by Penguin.

Rifkin connects the qualitative changes in energy regimes and communication techniques with changes in how people understand and organize reality. The book received mixed reviews by critics. This is probably unintelligible to folks who haven’t read the book.

Jeremy Rifkin: The empathic civilization | TED Talk

The book is an excellent history of human consciousness and how it is shaped by education systems, parenting techniques, social structures, civjlization and energy use. It was the first narrative to express universal human themes by the telling of an individual’s own story. How often have civiization heard environmentalists exclaim that the alternatives facing the world are radical transformation or total catastrophe? W hoever hacked into the emails at the University of East Anglia fired the opening salvo in a new kind of dirty war.

The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis by Jeremy Rifkin

The flip side of Rifkin’s argument — that native cultures mus Blah. Retrieved from ” https: Stage 3 A couple of centuries ago, a new energy regime appears with coal, steam and rail 1st industrial revolution ; a new communications regime is set up jereny the print press and the development of literacy, through public schooling; consciousness evolves to the ideological-framework stage with the creation of nation-states; empathy extends once more to our fellow citizens this time around.

Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. Rifkin’s opening Part 1 seemed less necessary, somehow, since he spends the first few chapters taking apart Sigmund Freud. To many people, perhaps, the idea of an empathic civilization is oxymoronic. Other reviewers have written more eloquently than I but I did want to praise the book Thanks for telling us about the problem. Retrieved December 28, Journal of the Society for Existential Analysis.


Rifkin is a brilliant guy, who portrays his ideas in a very clean and enjoyable writing style. This empathic drive can be either nurtured, so that each of us can celebrate the hhe and frailty of life, or, sadly, repressed and, in so doing, we are letting secondary drives kick in, such as narcissism, aggression or violence. We are each a composite of the stories we tell about ourselves and the stories others tell about us.

The Empathic Civilization

If an empathic impulse is embedded in our biology, why doesn’t it show up in our history? 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. It draws on similar themes as The Zero Marginal Cost Society, in that the world is experiencing a revolution is energy and communication in a massive way. Whatever lapses in intellectual probity they might reveal, the messages are being used to obscure a mass of evidence showing that anthropogenic climate change is real, and may be occurring more rapidly than previously believed.

I only regret that in the last few pages of the book, Rifkin returns to Goethe’s critique of the scientific method.

Rifkin argues that at the very core of the human story is the paradoxical relationship between empathy and entropy. This page was last edited on 18 Septemberat The trick lies in getting the balance right. Here is an analytical defense of ‘humanity’ that will not only provide you with material to convincingly present your belief in a better future being possible it will re-inspire you and remind you of why you believe this.

Philosophically, Rifkin explores empathy-altruismthe faith versus reason debate, and truth versus reality debate. How can this deadly collision be averted? Particularly as he brings in elements of entropy trends and energy-use trends that Rifkin has written about before, there is a danger in pulling in any random element to prove the case for an emergent empathic civilization.

The Empathic Civilization by Jeremy Rifkin | : Books

He tells stories of history without flinching, acknowledging the horrors but focusing on how we’ve been progressively developing empathy. While humans are more interdependent than ever before, they are at the same time destabilising the planet.

The development of writing, as well as hydraulics and irrigation, allowed agricultural societies to better organize themselves so that a larger geographic area and a larger population could be controlled. One need not be a hardened cynic to find this Rousseauesque tale implausible. Can we reach global empathy in time to avoid the collapse of civilization and save the Earth?


It is a direct result of the energy-intensive civilisation in which the affluent part of humankind lives, and which the rest very much wants to join. Tamper with one part, we affect every other part.

Stage 2 A few thousand years ago, humanity builds the first great hydrolic civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, Mexico The impact of climate change is rather to intensify human conflict. This book would be twice as good if it were half the size. Feb 28, Alexander Ally rated it it was amazing. I skimmed some of the way because it is chock full of great examples that thoroughly illustrate his ideas. We are experiencing technical difficulties.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The energy lost in the transfer of electricity, though it wouldn’t disappear, would be drastically reduced, and an equally-powered planet would undoubtedly be a more empathic planet.

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. Most of The Empathic Civilization is not in fact concerned with the practical task of coping with the mess humans have made of the planet. Most Republicans gnash their teeth, not so much over four more years of Obama, but from a universal shift to gay marriage approval, pot legalization, rejection of politicians like Akin and Mourdock, etc.

It is packed with invaluable information and insight about steering a relatively safe course through the sometimes rough seas of our rapidly changing, interconnected world. It is an acknowledgment that each life is unique, unalienable, and deserving of equal consideration in the public square.

A delusional fantasy that humanity is evolving toward a higher consciousness, when any evolutionary biologist will tell you that evolution is “dumb” –i.