The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis

by William E. Halal


Jeremy Rifkin has been delighting audiences for years with a series of fine books on major issues of the day, and this latest book of his is outstanding in many ways. It is erudite yet easy to read, and it addresses big problems, such as global warming, energy, and climate change. Rifkin’s theme is the rise of empathy in a world struggling to avoid the chaos of runaway entropy, one of his favorite concepts. The scope of the book is vast, charting the evolution of human consciousness from the rise of “mythological consciousness” in primitive tribal societies, to “theological” or “faith-based consciousness” in the agrarian Dark Ages, and “ideological consciousness” introduced by the Age of Reason. Rifkin argues that “The evidence shows that we are witnessing the greatest surge in empathic extension in all of human history.” (p.452).(continue…)

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