Innovation in technology is advancing at a breakneck speed. It’s allowing us to feel more connected, it makes the world seem smaller, and it allows us to instantly find out information and messages from people across the globe. We know so much about places we have never been and people we have never met. Yet we seem to be suffering from a crisis of lack of empathy. Schools advocate “global education” but how can we teach global empathy and awareness without truly connecting, human to human, face to face?
Empathy is an ability to truly feel what another person is feeling. Even those of us with an innate capacity to step into another’s emotions are having trouble because we don’t know the emotions of those on the other side of the world or even down the street. All we get is information – coldly worded headlines and so-called facts and quotes. We don’t get the feelings attached to these things. And we definitely don’t get the whole picture.
There are events in the world that alarm us and scare some of us. We feel frantic because we feel powerless despite all of this technology that is connecting us and empowering us. We don’t know how our fellow man feels and we don’t know why the are making certain choices. We watch tragedy unfold in other places behind the safety of our devices. We don’t understand what’s going on or why.
I think what we need is to promote a little more “global education” in the form of face-to-face interaction. People need to travel, explore, attend in-person conferences, and most of all: we need to listen. We should turn off our devices and stream of messaging from our chosen media that tell us what we want to hear or what they want us to hear, and learn about each other using our own judgement. Please travel, please see the world, and please spread love.