8 Videos Exploring Empathy

by Marsha Rakestraw

Empathy is a key component of humane education, and something our society is increasingly recognizing as essential to our well-being and that of the world. Studies show that we’re innately wired to be empathetic.

When we’re able to put ourselves in the place of another, and to imagine the kind of world we want for ourselves and for them, it becomes so much easier to make choices that do the most good and least harm, and that show compassion and consideration for all.

Enjoy these eight short videos about empathy, and let them inspire a deeper practice in your own life.

1.  “The Power of Empathy (2:53 min)
Brené Brown explores the importance of empathy and how it’s different from sympathy.

2.  “Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson on Empathy (3:16 min)
What would our world look like if training in empathy were a fundamental part of our education? Neil deGrasse Tyson reflects on our relationships with other beings and the importance of empathy toward animals.

3.  “Moral Behavior in Animals (16:49 min)
Scientist Frans de Waal explores moral behavior, such as cooperation and empathy, in animals. (The section on empathy starts around minute eight.)

4.  “The Empathic Civilization (10:40 min)
Jeremy Rifkin “investigates the evolution of empathy and the profound ways that it has shaped our development and our society.”

5.  “Power of Outrospection (10:29 min)
Philosopher and author Roman Krznaric argues for a turn to “outrospection.” He focuses on the power of empathy as a revolutionary tool for changing the world.

6.  “Empathy: The Human Connection to Patient Care (4:24 min)
The video asks, if we could see, hear and feel what other people see, hear and feel, “Would you treat them differently?” Although the focus is on patient care at a hospital, the concept is relevant to all of us and the choices we make about others.

7.  “A Radical Experiment in Empathy (19:16 min)
This powerful TEDx talk from sociologist and teacher Sam Richards focuses on understanding different perspectives and educating for conflict resolution and peace.

8.  “Let’s Try Emotional Correctness (6:00 min)
As a political pundit, Sally Kohn has learned the importance of showing respect and compassion to those with whom she disagrees, and how bringing empathy to the conversation helps build common ground.

What are your favorite videos exploring empathy?