SUPPORT: Change the Way You See the World

Because in an empathic civilization, ‘monkey see, monkey do’ isn’t such a bad thing

Empathic Civilization

WATCH: The Empathic Civilization (courtesy of RSA Animate and Jonathan Rifkin)

Not long ago, Emma Rae Lierley, Administrative Coordinator at GFI, sent me a link to a video on “The Empathic Civilization” (right).  Her rationale in sending it was that she felt it encapsulated the basic premise upon which Global Lens was founded:  that in our most sympathetic state of human existence, we are all connected.

Of course, nowadays, we hear such things all the time.  Technological evolution has certainly connected us with the world outside our physical boundaries.  Intellectual curiosity has always found a way to merge minds above borders.  And then, without doubt, there is religion.

All are valid points of connection, connectivity.  But the video makes a much more basic point.  It says that we, as humans, are predisposed to having shared feelings and emotions, or an “empathic” relationship with one another that intuitively draws us together, as a people (see the video’s example of ‘monkey see, monkey do’).

A Shared History: BELVEDERE (top) and GREY MATTER

Is this true?  It’s hard to verify, scientifically.  But over the course of human evolution, it is indeed what brought people together as clans and tribes, and eventually, societies.  And then, over the course of that same history, somehow those clans, tribes, and societies eventually separated into the world of nations we have today… Which is where Global Lens begins.

The series, by definition, is based on the idea that we are an empathic civilization, and that there is more that unites us, than divides us.   It is grounded in the idea that the experience of one individual is not so different from what another experiences, thousands of miles away;  and it is rooted in the philosophy that although every person’s experience in this world is unique, everything we do, individually, is part of our shared and collective human experience.

Some of you may have recognized this, when watching works such as GREY MATTER and BELVEDERE—two films, from two very different nations (Rwanda and Bosnia & Herzegovina), that deal with the psychological aftermath of genocide.   The directors of these films, despite being divided by race, culture and region, are not so separate when it comes to their interpretation of a [tragically] shared experience.

Alternately, there is our Turkish film TOLL BOOTH, which some audiences compare to the offbeat American film, OFFICE SPACE—despite its darkly comedic tone—because most people can indeed relate to a bad day at the office.  And then there are films such as MOURNING and MUTUM, both of which are so culturally singular in their approach, but ultimately universal in that they take us to the very relatable worlds of wonder [that we all once] experienced as a child.

Because everyone gets a 'case of the Mondays': TOLL BOOTH (top) and OFFICE SPACE

An “empathic civilization.”   There is no way to really prove this, as a scientific or sociological phenomenon.  And all of our world–through politic, war and other conflicts–may in fact say that we are more different than alike, and that what one person feels is in no way comparable to another.  Then again, Global Lens is one experiment that perhaps says otherwise and so who–but you–can say for certain.


(Postscript:  Emma Rae Lierley is perhaps our empathic staff member, who understands not just Global Lens, but also what unites us at GFI)

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