Tag Archives: Empathy

The Intra-past

Chapter 20 – The Intra-past

It’s not others or circumstances that make us aware in the first place, although they can help to trigger the process.

It is you who is giving awareness to yourself. It is you who is open to becoming aware. All it needs is that you start with giving yourself the gift of honesty and self-compassion to become one with the humantime of your intra-past.

To be properly in the intra-past, some alienation from others, and a self-alienation from the inter- and extra-past, is necessary. Of course, you want to stay social and cooperative with the ones close to you in your life, although with time the nature of these relationships may transform as your awareness regenerates. Separation from yourself and others means, in a psycho-spiritual way, that you let go of your identity, which is based on social conformity and cultural beliefs that would be misbeliefs in a different culture. You also have to let go of attachment to others’ judgments, which are opinions only and have little if anything to do with truth.

By distancing yourself from the idealized role you have learned to assume during all the years of education, socialization, and enculturation, you begin to see who you really are.

Young children don’t need to learn what honesty, fairness, empathy, and compassion are. It’s amazing how children from the beginning know how to love fearlessly; an ability that many grown-ups seem to have forgotten. You don’t need to recall specific events; rather contemplate yourself as a young child, as a newborn, and even as an expected baby before conception that has made its way to its birth without fail, without any support from society, without cultural rules or the advice of any experts. That way, bring yourself into contact with the life animating force from which you came.

As you came from it, you are it. You come from what you were part of before. Each of us is one specific human-type cell of the whole cosmic energy body.

It’s impossible that you are not of your origin. If you got this, you’ve established the foundation of intra-past awareness.

A child does not care about history; it does not have much of it anyway. And yet it is not a matter of age to know what’s right and what’s not. Young children take other people without reservation, regardless of their past, indifferent of their inherited fame, and unconcerned of their economic status. Children, before being taught otherwise, don’t care about how other people look except for their more or less friendly expression. They don’t care about race, size, fashion, and accessories. Children start to interact with whoever is genuinely interested in and willing to on a psychological level. What a clear expression of that all life is connected.

Like water that always flows together again is life finding life unmistakably to unite in love again.

That’s our natural tendency to live life. It’s the only desire, if we stay aware of it, whose pursuit can make us feel truly alive. No possessions or status can substitute for it. Don’t believe any stories that destroy your confidence in connecting to your life source and any other human beings with whom you share the same.

There is a tragicomical saying that, unfortunately, hits the nail right on the head: A banker, a worker, and an immigrant are sitting at a table with twenty cookies. The banker takes nineteen cookies and warns the worker: “Watch out, the immigrant is going to take your cookie away.” As the ones in power don’t want to give up their privileges, people are kept fearfully in survival mode. Survival concerns are best stirred up by propagating a materialistic view on life.

Our immortal soul’s drive is not about survival; it rather needs freedom from the mind’s concern to solely survive.

People with the concern to survive don’t aspire to thrive. They are not motivated to be as fast as they could, for example. To survive before the chasing bear, being only the second slowest is sufficient to ride out. And that’s how people socially compare and construe their story of being relatively OK.

As we deserve to be not judged by our past, we should not judge others according to the labels they are given.

The socio-economic status of people doesn’t tell us much about their human qualities. Try to see people’s soul regardless of social personality appearances. Don’t waste your thoughts on interpreting equipment, façade styles, and fashions. They are not relevant to our true self, and they are gone as fast as they came. We are not our social personalities. Clinging to our social identity and old ways of thinking about ourselves makes us in any case matter less than we deserve. Artificial rules that protect selfish interests are not natural laws of life. Yes, actually money grows on trees. Just, the land where the trees grow has been misappropriated. Even worse, our memory, our awareness of this land of abundance that once had belonged to all has been taken too. Now laws ensure that the treasures don’t need to be shared anymore at all.

Children are dependent on the care received from their parents and other adults in the culture they are born into. For them, inter-psychological learning, the influence of other people is unavoidable. Their survival depends on following their caregivers. Such dependencies should not exist anymore later on in life though. An adult person can re-build her or his identity intra-psychologically.

It is of intra-past intelligence when you realize the possibility, even the necessity of your socio-cultural independence. Intra-past awareness allows you to free yourself from backward-related definitions of your person by others.

It is an awareness-unintelligent trap to let one being defined by others opinions and beliefs.

When I moved abroad and ended up being on myself in a completely different culture, there was nobody and nothing anymore that would have supported and validated my identity at that time. For my new environment far away from my former social networks, jobs, and possessions that had defined me to a significant extent for a long time too, I then was left to be just an unknown foreigner. Therefore, I could not and did not have to live up to any story anymore. What an opportunity. I’ve realized how foolish it had been to build one’s personality too much on the unstable ground of externals. Meanwhile, having left most of the external things and values behind, there has remained one true identity-giving source: The inner self. I’ve found my true self when mentalizing back to before I had grown into an adult body, before I was associated with a certain social status, and before I started to hold on to a variety of achievements and acquisitions. Now literally as an alien in a foreign country, I became aware of what was left, what will always be left, and I mentally returned to the core of whom I am: The consciousness that is all and my origin of life.

For all my life I was looking for happiness. Now I found meaning. And when I accepted meaning, happiness became meaningless. That’s when I started to really enjoy life again.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said more than a hundred years ago that history should be banned from school. I agree in the sense that the common issue of glorifying the past and using it to legitimate and reinforce established power structures, for example in politics, is hindering real improvement.

The world needs new solutions to old problems.

A spirit-based awareness to overcome ego-based identification is needed. Rather than closing down for victories, humanity needs to open up for progress.

Just because things are our culture, they are not necessarily good. Good is what increases awareness.

By definition, culture is a set of widely unconscious norms and beliefs, artifacts, and institutions of only a particular group of people that have developed over generations. It fosters in-group bias that tends to over-favoring the own culture and negatively stereotyping cultures other than the own one. In a way, promoting in-group adhesion is following the economic principle of making things scarce. In that sense, the source of affection, praise, friendship, and love is made reserved to the own group and therefore is increasing the group’s perceived value. However, differing viewpoints and new solutions often come only from a cross-cultural, broader and more diverse perspective that is free of group interests. Of course, not everyone can have a cross-cultural background, nor is it affordable or practical for most people to leave their environment, to travel extensively, or to live in another destination for sustained periods of time. Nevertheless,

Everybody can develop an intra-past awareness that is sufficiently culture-free and independent to heal from limiting and hateful beliefs

and to give access to what is real: Pure energy and love that has the executive intelligence to change everybody and everything.

So far:

Chapter 1 – Life’s introduction of Awareness Intelligence

Chapter 2 – The awarenessland of Awaria

Chapter 3 – Your life that is humantime

Chapter 4 – Consciousness, awareness, and social intelligence

Chapter 5 – Broadening the social scope

Chapter 6 – Increasing the attention span

Chapter 7 – Distraction of the mass

Chapter 8 – Missing systematics and links in science

Chapter 9 – Spiritual consumerism and mystification of spiritualism

Chapter 10 – Expanding the here and now

Chapter 11 – Individual revolution, human evolution

Chapter 12 – Mental coordinate system

Chapter 13 – Ignorance is not bliss

Chapter 14 – Awareness Intelligence is learnable

Chapter 15 – The difference between Awareness Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence

Chapter 16 – Technology and the distributed intelligence of the mind

Chapter 17 – The choice to be part of something bigger

Chapter 18/19 – The structure and dimensions of life: The socio-temporal matrix (three tenets of Awareness Intelligence)

Coming next:

Chapter 21 – The Inter-present

The difference between Awareness Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence

Chapter 15 – The difference between Awareness Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is an individual’s ability to monitor her or his feelings and those of others and therefore is an essential interpersonal competency. Beliefs and feelings are closely intertwined. Feelings are an important indicator of how a situation measures up against our socially and culturally shaped beliefs. Hence, feelings might have not much to do with our genuine human nature.

Feelings and more intense short-term emotions alike can seem overwhelming and be an all-consuming psychological state. There is always though, in minimum, some room for reasoning left.

To grasp the true nature of life, rational thinking helps to explore and direct one’s emotions. Emotions and attitudes are never the beginning; they are the result of thought, albeit not always rationally controlled thought. If you stick to your believe-based emotions, new ways of thinking might be hindered.

If you can deliberately change the way you think, if you can widen and sharpen your awareness at the same time, then you can create different emotions and if chosen wisely, feel better.

High levels of so-called emotional intelligence generally correlate with high levels of performance and success. However, there is the risk of over-relying on emotions with adverse effects on one’s mental states. Emotional understanding and the ability to manage emotions is not in itself a “good” or “bad” quality. One can perceive another person empathically and still not be aware of what that means for oneself and the broader context; therefore, neither empathy nor emotional intelligence do necessarily involve the development of compassion and the desire to help. On the other side, hypersensitivity to other’s emotions can be burdensome, contagious, and incapacitating supportive responses. If one is overwhelmed by others pain to the extent of getting sick oneself, nobody is helped. Rather than to merely intensify empathy,

It is more awareness-intelligent not to exaggerate but to broaden the responsiveness to other’s need for care.

Your beliefs and the way you feel about them come from your social upbringing, your education, your enculturation. If you were born somewhere else or at a different time, your language, religion, your beliefs about appropriate symbols, customs, and rules would be expected similar to anybody else in the same cultural milieu of that ages, but also entirely different from somebody in another temporal culture. No culture is a more or less legitimate way of living, but none of them represents an absolute truth either. There is, however, a fundamental lawfulness to human life. We need to choose how we put ourselves, others, and all humanity into relation to each other from the perspective of our life as well as from the standpoint of other generations and all human evolution. Without such a complete socio-temporal relationship, people across different realities of societies, cultures, and eras are continuing to insist on which would be the most likely illusion of their places and times.

Fortunately, we can choose to understand where we set the boundaries for exclusion, and how much back into the past and forth into the future we care.

It is this reference-system of humantime that would better guide our thought processes than a relatively random set of contemporary socio-cultural believes and sensitivities.

You are neither your emotions nor your feelings or thoughts as long as they are the mere aftereffect of somewhat limited awareness.

You are your watching mind of human relations in time. You are the entire and perennial conscious source intelligence you are coming from.

Use this gift to intelligently self-generate your thoughts in concord with all life. Awareness-intelligent thought is based on compassionate care that feels more deeply satisfying, moving, and human, while not being confusing or overwhelming after all.

So far:

Chapter 1 – Life’s introduction of Awareness Intelligence

Chapter 2 – The awarenessland of Awaria

Chapter 3 – Your life that is humantime

Chapter 4 – Consciousness, awareness, and social intelligence

Chapter 5 – Broadening the social scope

Chapter 6 – Increasing the attention span

Chapter 7 – Distraction of the mass

Chapter 8 – Missing systematics and links in science

Chapter 9 – Spiritual consumerism and mystification of spiritualism

Chapter 10 – Expanding the here and now

Chapter 11 – Individual revolution, human evolution

Chapter 12 – Mental coordinate system

Chapter 13 – Ignorance is not bliss

Chapter 14 – Awareness Intelligence is learnable

Coming next:

Chapter 16 – Technology and the distributed intelligence of the mind

Developing (Cultural) Empathy

Empathic concernEmpathic concern goes beyond simply understanding others and sharing their feelings; it actually moves us to take action, to help however we can (https://www.inc.com)

Positive Empathy (and the avoidance of antipathy) can be taught! •The main roadblock to be removed is the distraction from paying attention. Motivate yourself to be more empathetic by knowing how important empathy is to personal (private and career) and collective well-being!

Emotional hypersensitivity •Emotional hypersensitivity does even sense covered negative emotions (Rozell, E., & Scroggins, W., 2010); Overdoses of negative feelings and pain of others may be a burden for anybody exposed to it (Young, E., 2016)

Misuse of empathyEmpathy can be for the good or the bad, e.g., not only for help, but for manipulation, bullying, and exert cruelty where it harms others most (Fairbairn, 2017)

Emotional contagion •Empathy for the physical and psychological suffering of others, can spread across a team. This is a relevant phenomenon for work places to address as it can cause depression and sickness. Some organizations, therefore, introduce stress-free zones (Young, E., 2016).

Social amplification of risk •Media plays a crucial role in reminding people of threats, coalition challenges, and feelings of uncertainty, which results in increases of the proclivity for prejudices against out-group members.

Empathic imagination •Imaginative empathy is one of the great gifts that humans have and it means that we can live more than one life. We can picture what it would be like from another perspective. – Dan Chaon

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Developing Cultural Empathy: Perspective Taking

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This article reflects on example biases that could impact one’s intercultural behavior and decision making and how the role of the media is shaping ideas about cultures. Finally, specifics of the European culture are analyzed as relevant for global talent management issues.

Culture is an unconsciously learned way of thinking and living of a particular group of people that reinforces that worldview through its in-group similarity [1]. To change ‘cultural DNA’ requires time, although the term refers to a psychological instinct built through the adaption of societal norms rather than through a genetic constitution. Different environmental challenges brought up intellectual orientations, which cannot be judged; they are just different. While empathy is considered to allow understanding between people, the bridges built between some may be the boundaries for others. This risks to cement in- and out-group hierarchies [2]. Besides empathy, enhanced critical thinking abilities are necessary to unveil moral subjectivity and contribute to increased cross-cultural understanding [3].

Humans everywhere have the same desires, fears, and motivations [4]. Cultural differences shouldn’t be judged but seen rather relative [5] and therefore not to be blamed [1]. Judgments can unavoidably happen from unconscious biases triggering stereotypical exaggeration, or simplification out of context that result in prejudices. These are not immutable though in the sense that between bias and action critical thinking was not possible [6]. People have a psychological tendency to accredit more humanness to oneself than to others [7] The level of empathy is predictive of the strength of this in-/out-group bias [8]. Research found that more collectivist cultures show stronger empathy for in-group members [9]. If in an individualist culture, an individualistic mindset is activated though, all but the self may be considered as out-group members [10]. Contact with other cultures is the best means to anticipate such bias [11] and relationships with outgroups potentially reduces prejudice [12].

Be it for peace between countries or the functioning of multi-national organizations, intergroup empathy has become an increasingly important global challenge [4]. How balanced the media selects and presents its news is playing a vital role in shaping the cross-cultural understanding of individual, group, and societal identities. Media literacy, therefore, is a key strategy to develop cultural perspective-taking [13].

Despite Europe’s diverse composition of nations, the continent’s genetic base is much less variable than that of many other global regions. Europe is (to stay with the example) characterized by high in-group equality, which, on the other hand, may also degenerate into out-group domination. European leaders tend to be inclusive [4]. Indeed, German SME’s, for example, include all or most of the employees in Talent Management practices, which is in contrast to typical multinational enterprises [14]. Egalitarian attitudes within Europe cause leaders to backup leadership processes with bureaucratic rules that come with a loss in speed compared to other cultures. The European focus on individual rights, creativity and innovation, professional relationships, and the use of evidence-based data (in comparison to more intuitive thinking) might be an asset for fostering objectivity in global talent management practices [4]. This is important for talent-based economies as found in Western Europe [15] to remain competitive in the sourcing of global talent [16].

References

[1] Williams, T. R. (2013). Examine Your LENS: A Tool for Interpreting Cultural Differences. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal Of Study Abroad, 22148-165.

[2] Hollan, D. (2012). Author reply: The definition and morality of empathy. Emotion Review, 4(1), 83. doi:10.1177/1754073911421396

[3] Murray, J. W. (2015). Critical Thinking Activities and the Enhancement of Ethical Awareness: An Application of a “Rhetoric of Disruption” to the Undergraduate General Education Classroom. Open Review Of Educational Research, 2(1), 240-258.

[4] Bains, G. (2015). Cultural DNA: The psychology of globalization. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

[5] Gareis, E. (2005). Relativism versus Universalism: Developing a Personal Philosophy. Communication Teacher, 19(2), 39-43.

[6] Harris, W. T. (2010). Ending racism starts with accepting bias: bias is inevitable, racism is not. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/ blog/colorstruck/201005/ending-racism-starts-accepting-bias

[7] Park, J., Haslam, N., Kashima, Y., & Norasakkunkit, V. (2016). Empathy, culture and self-humanising: Empathising reduces the attribution of greater humanness to the self more in Japan than Australia. International Journal Of Psychology, 51(4), 301-306.

[8] Krumhuber, E. G., Swiderska, A., Tsankova, E., Kamble, S. V., & Kappas, A. (2015). Real or Artificial? Intergroup Biases in Mind Perception in a Cross-Cultural Perspective. Plos One, 10(9), e0137840. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0137840

[9] Chenbo, W., Bing, W., Yi, L., Xinhuai, W., & Shihui, H. (2015). Challenging emotional prejudice by changing self-concept: priming independent self-construal reduces racial in-group bias in neural responses to other. Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience, 10(9), 1195-1201. doi:10.1093/scan/nsv005

[10] Jiang, C., Hou, Y., Han, S., & Varnum, M. W. (2014). Distinct effects of self-construal priming on empathic neural responses in Chinese and Westerners. Social Neuroscience, 9(2), 130-138.

[11] Dopierała, A., Jankowiak-Siuda, K., & Boski, P. (2017). Empathy gap – what do we know about empathizing with others′ pain?. Polish Psychological Bulletin, Vol 48, Iss 1, Pp 111-117 (2017), (1), 111. doi:10.1515/ppb-2017-0014

[12] Inzlicht, M., Gutsell, J. N., & Legault, L. (2012). Mimicry reduces racial prejudice. Journal Of Experimental Social Psychology, 48(1), 361-365. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2011.06.007

[13] Cole-Adams, J. (2013). Developing Intercultural Understanding with Difference Differently. Ethos, 21(1), 25-28.

[14] Festing, M., Schaefer, L., & Scullion, H. (2013). Talent management in medium-sized German companies: an explorative study and agenda for future research. International Journal Of Human Resource Management, 24(9), 1872-1893.

[15] Oshri, I., & Ravishankar, M. (2014). On the attractiveness of the UK for outsourcing services. Strategic Outsourcing: An International Journal, (1), 18. doi:10.1108/SO-11-2013-0022

[16] Anil, K. (2006). STRATEGIES FOR GLOBAL R&D. Research Technology Management, (2), 48.

Egocentrism: Who can take whose empathic perspective?

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Egocentrism occurs as part of preschoolers’ development in the so-called pre-operational stage and means the inability of a child to differentiate between its own and other people’s thoughts [1]. In other words, children would not realize the suffering of others as such at all [2]. This poses a quite depressive outlook and may not correspond to own experience and observations. Aren’t there more empathy-promising possibilities than such a radical and moral-disabling egocentrism? Is there potential for interventions? And what does animal research tell us?

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