In a Divided World, We Need to Choose Empathy

Jamil Zaki: Over the years, my friend’s politics and my own had taken incompatible turns. On social media, I saw him growing reactionary; he saw me becoming a soft, “politically correct” academic. We sniped at each other online, then over text. After a while, I realized we’d forgotten our friendship, and I proposed that we talk to each other to try and bridge our differences. Why did this seem so hard for my friend and I? And why do so many of us feel that human connection has become increasingly out of reach? That’s what I address in my new book, The War for Kindness. For over a decade, I’ve documented the many ways that empathy helps individuals, relationships, and teams. I’ve also learned how fragile it can be. But there are ways to reignite empathy — and if more of us can do so, we’ll all be better off.

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