Video: Why We Are Soft-Wired to Care
“Empathy is grounded in the acknowledgement of death, a celebration of life and rooting for each other to flourish and be.”
This video by RSA animate (whose work inspired this video we recently made) features Jeremy Rifkin, political advisor and author, explaining what makes us homo empathicus. He says that we are soft wired for sociability, attachment, affection and companionship.
It has a lot to do with mirror neurons, which we’ve talked about before. Because of mirror neurons, when I see another human experiencing an emotion- anger, frustration or joy- the same neurons will light up in me as if I were feeling the very same thing. According to Rifkin, “We are soft wired to experience another’s plight as if we are experiencing it ourselves.”
This is why video is such a powerful medium for non-profits. Video allows supporters to connect to your work on a personal, emotional level. Our foremost drive as humans is to belong. Mirrored emotions are the foundation for empathy which allows us to expand our definition of the other. When your audience sees the expressions, hears the voices and senses the pain/strength/passion of those you exist for, they literally feel the same emotions as those on screen.
This is why when we create videos for non-profits, we try to feature the personal testimonies of those served by the organization. If you want people to care about what you do, you have to make them care about the people you exist for.