A need for transformation
When we look at the state of affairs we realize that the world could fare better.
Even though we've made much technological progress and grown economically, our archaic social structures persist, such as the tendency to identify ourselves with categories such as the color of our skin or status.
These social paradigms are behind such pervasive problems as bias, violence and even bullying, which seem unstopable regardless of language and place.
We have not yet connected the dots that link all social problems. These could stem from our evolutionary baggage, even though we no longer need to behave based on the law of the fittest.
We sometimes refer to this as the human condition, but to be conditioned means that we cannot change, but we can!
Our circumstances can change from within the individual, by gaining mobility of thought and widening our point of view to include the perspective of others.
So we can build humanistic cities based on citizens and consumers that think freely and therefore understand, beyond reward and punishment, egoism and fear.
A new kind of empathy generated by thought
If we all aim for the middle ground in any transaction, everybody wins.
Cognitive empathy as the ability to reflect another's emotions is a good start, but it's not enough. In fact, we need to transcend this reflex since it leads to retaliation spirals.
Emotional empathy is possible when we relate to others based on our affections, yet this type of empathy is limited by our relationships so it is merely personal.
What if we could feel a type of empathy for those who we do not know personally, or who we can't even see, beyond the scope of perception and personal relationships?
This new kind of empathy is possible through understanding. We can think empathy, not only about it but as a way to make it happen, by thought.
Thought-generated empathy is not based solely on emotions as reference, allowing us to reflect on a human self and thus change the way we perceive others and ourselves, realizing our humanity.
Thought can humanize us
Breaking paradigms through free thought.
We think that we think all the time, but do we really?
To think paradigmatically is to think already knowing the answers and not allowing ourselves to ask the really challenging questions. To think critically is a good thing, but it is usually geared at resolving specific problems, so it has a purpose.
But to think freely is to think without bias, and also to allow ourselves the time to think in that way. We rarely think freely beacuse it is not encouraged by the way society works. Who has the time?
Free thought is not taught in schools, but it can be provoked through experience. Once we engage in free thought, we realize possible scenarios that can be very positive .
Understanding can generate a better future such as a future built on altruism because we understand and value each other's needs. Free thought is already an altruistic behavior since it displaces our self by minding others.
Free thought sparkles a virtuous cycle, no matter where it begins.
Although it does not begin in the same place for everyone, free thought leads to similar mind processes, like brooks that feed into rivers, which pour into the sea.
Valuing the other's needs in the same way we value ours.
True altruism is based on a feeling of thought-generated empathy and it is not necessarily expressed economically, but rather through all our actions. It emerges as an individual decision, product of an intention.
A true altruist is not just someone that gives things away but that understands the well-being of other's as well as the environment, with out loosing sight of her/his own.All agents of the economy can be true altruists:
Altruist citizens thrive for self awareness from which to understand and improve the world.
Altruist brands value their customer's, employee's and ecosystem´s well-being in the same way that they value profit.
Altruist cities foster awareness and altruism. These are transparent, inclusive and facilitate citizen action towards the community's needs.
From the collective’s perspective, all individuals are valued equally, based on our potential and not our circumstances. So one individual’s well-being is as important as the other's, no matter the personality or social position.
It is when the individual realizes this feeling of interchangeability that the altruistic act can take place, as we realize our collectivity and individuality we acknowledge our humanity.
True altruism takes a leap of faith, of faith in yourself, to do what you know is the right thing. The initiative will reach its goal when we live in a world where the word altruism is not necessary any more, so it does not mean anything because being altruistic is just the way we all are.