Empathy and Relational Creativity
Empathy, popularly described as “standing in another’s shoes,” is central to survival, society, interrelationship, and more, and not only for human beings. At one level, our “mirror neurons” build in this capacity. Darwin too, in his later evolutionary writings, unknown to some, spoke strongly of empathy (called sensitivity) along with group bonding, love, and collaborative activity. At best empathy can lead to compassionate action. Here too are intimacy and our strongest bonds. Empathy, mutuality, and relationship can also be highly creative and co-creative—as product and process—meeting criteria of originality and meaningfulness. Far from optional these help direct our earliest brain development and not only can enrich life but sustain it.