Michael Sillion – The Beast With 2 Hearts

 Today we proudly presents our nineteenth guest blogger Michael Sillion and his blog post about empathy.

Michael Sillion@LordSillion [Michael Sillion] is a Futurist and Holistic Thinking Ninja. He is currently thinking about how we shall create a new vision for Mankind on Planet Earth. He would love to work in a Thinktank. He is a Gamer who resides in Varberg where he loves to dance and bike by the coast. He places great value in the power of Storytelling. Read his blog and interact with him on Twitter

The Beast With 2 Hearts [The Cruel and The Kind]

The Human Race is a beast with 2 hearts within us. One is the old reliable heart that has kept us alive for millions of years during duress and danger. There is nothing evil with this heart but it can be filled with fear, loss, anger and hate. It can unite a tribe to keep it fed and safe against all kinds of external threats.

There is also the other heart. One that learned that cooperation is also a way for survival. This heart can be filled with empathy, compassion, love, joy and curiosity. By helping each other and sharing skills and resources we can survive and thrive. Both in times of scarcity and times of plenty.


The two bears of the human spirit

An old story tells of a shaman who described himself as containing two bears, one a cruel, warlike and violent hunter, the other caring and compassionate. A young boy asks him which will win out, and the shaman replies: whichever one I feed. — Geoff Mulgan

Both these hearts are both part of us and what makes us human. We must constantly be aware of this. So that we know which heart we nourish and trains to be the stronger. Because we must train our empathic skills.

Level up your Empathy [It’s a Lifelong Exercise]

Recently there have been a number of interesting people all giving their perspective on how to make the ”right” heart beat faster in us. First out is Roman Krznaric who gave a very inspiring talk on how to train your Empathizing skills. Read more about in my blog Train Your Empathizing Skills. We must all train our Empathy for our whole life. It’s better to start young but it’s never to late. There are 6 steps you can follow to start your training.

1. Cultivate curiosity about strangers. Set yourself the challenge of having a conversation with one stranger every week. All it requires is courage.
2. Challenge prejudices and discover commonalities. Challenge your prejudices by searching for what you share with other people rather than what differs between you. Talk to the Elephant and find Common Ground.
3. Get into “extreme sport” of experimental empathy. Walk a mile in another man’s moccasins before you criticize him.
4. Listen hard and open up. Really listen to what others have to say. And make yourself Vulnerable. Remove your mask and be your true self.
5. Inspire mass action and social change. We must plant the seeds of Empathy in our children. And we must change the incentives we have when playing our global games of Power, Money and Status.
6. Develop an ambitious imagination. Become “Outrospective”. Start empathize with the “Enemy”.

Vulnerability and Empathy [Brené Brown gives us insight into how Empathy works]

Then we have the Brené Brown who throw her first TED talk about Vulnerability and became world-known over a night. She gives a very deep conversation at RSA: The Power of Vulnerability. She gives her insight why Vulnerability and Shame is at the heart of Empathy and Creativity. Because it is only when we feel that it’s ok to fail and bring shame to ourselves that we can open up to take a leap of faith. This is also in the heart of so much recent talk that we must learn to fail smarter in order to adapt to ever faster changes in our society. Here Eddie Obeng best shows us what Fast Failure means.

”Without Vulnerability or failure, there can’t be creativity or innovation.” — Brené Brown

Brené Brown and Jody Williams

Brené Brown and Jody Williams

The Blame Game [The Universe is out to get me]

We must also stop playing the Blame Game. To find out who’s fault something is. Because our human brain is very prone to apply agency to every event that is happening to us. It’s how the brain makes sense of the world. Every event must have a story and behind every action there someone’s intention. Being that of a person or just the will of the Universe in some shape or form.

And even if it really was someones fault it is seldom very constructive to play the blame game or seek justice. Our energy is much more well spent to fixing the problem and talking precaution from letting the event happen again. — Lord Sillion

”People who blame allot seldom have the tenacity and grit to hold people accountable because we have spent our last 15 seconds raging about something to figure out who’s fault something is.” — Brené Brown

We all need different things from empathy. And if we get it wrong we can always go back and make it over. There is now decision tree for an empathic response. But it never starts with ”At least …”

”Empathy is not scripted. It’s about being present with someone” — Brené Brown

There is also a difference between shame and guilt. The difference is saying ”You did something bad” and ”You are a bad person”. Here Empathy is the antidote to shame. We must developing a ”shame resilience”. We do this by developing a support network with some really close friends. We need to open up them as they need to open up to us. We must build trust towards each other.

Failure Fest and Museum [Celebrate Failure, Empathy and Lifelong Learning]

Roman Krznaric got the chance to sit down with Brené Brown to talk. One of the 5 things the talked about was a Empathy Museum. It is also mention in the Comments of Matthew Taylor’s blog about Brené’s RSA talk as a Failure Fest. Where we celebrate Mankind’s biggest failures and talks Empathy with each other. A place where can really open up and learn form each other’s mistakes.

Robot Empathy? [We feel for them but they feel nothing yet]

Ed 209 - Robocop

Ed 209 – Robocop

Then we have Jody Williams who gave her talk at the RSA: Anyone Can Change the World. She talks about the danger in creating drones and other killing robots. As they will lack empathy to know when NOT to follow orders in executing a killing. It’s a very dangerous path to walk down and one that she is working hard to stop. Because robots and drones don’t have empathy. And even remote-controlled drones with a human at the helm are to many steps removed from the the actual event. Stop this madness!

The opposite of this that we actually feel empathy for robots. This is way Robot nurses in Japan will work.

Understanding each other [How should we work together]

It is also great to have the 5 tips of Jonathan Haidt in mind on how we should build a better world together. Read more here: Why are we so Groupish. We now know that we are born to be groupish and cooperate. We must just use this knowledge to do better.

1. Understand Sacralization. We all hold something sacred that we defend irrationally.
2. Talk to the Elephant. If you want to change someones mind talk to the Elephant first.
3. Stop Demonization. We are all prone to fall victim to the myth of Pure Evil.
4. Groupishness must be Managed. Help each other to monitor our behavior.
5. The Earth Tribe? We will never be one tribe. But we can set up a Vision for mankind that we all can work together against. Many small Tribes pulling together towards a common goal.

Relationships and Kindness [Let’s Change the Game]



When we tell truths and lies to each other, we are doing it in a relation to each other. It’s the Big R in PERMA. We may think we can tell them apart. But the ”Truth” is we can only tell stories. Stories we think or don’t think are true. It is what the brain does best. It tells and keeps stories. It is those stories that keep us together. They define our tribe. They are our culture.

”Illusions aren’t worthless. They are at the heart of most relationships.” — Adelle DeWitt, Dollhouse

Culture is a set of permissions and expectations of us on how to act and behave in a group. The story about our tribe, told to keep the relationships between us together. All part of the social game we humans play. What I call ”The Great Masquerade”. We must change this game so winning and status are given by a new set of social rules. Because we cannot stop playing it as humans.

As we spread Empathy and Kindness into the new Networked Society we can only hope that it will have ripple effect to change world to the better. Here we must use our best Storytelling tools to envision a new future. Creating a Planet Earth we all can be proud of to call our Homeworld. Our Only Home.

//Michael Sillion

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