Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Mark LeVine & the Axis of Empathy
On August 14, 2007, faculty from the University of Northern Colorado's Life of the Mind Program (an award-winning program offering a suite of engaging, interdisciplinary undergraduate courses) invited University of California-Irvine Middle East scholar and musician, Mark LeVine, to join us for a two-day retreat.
The discussions that ensued were fascinating and provocative and I've created a short video of relevant excerpts for my Empathy blog. Mark has coined the phrase "Axis of Empathy" to counter George Bush's well-known antipathic phrase, "Axis of Evil." I culled from our conversations with Mark four excerpts that define some of the dimensions of his Axis of Empathy: (1) culture jamming, (2) "militant empathy," (3) empathy and discomfort, and (4) empathy and hope.
Mark raises some key questions and issues. His ideas are politically charged and, of course, controversial, which is why I think it is important to post them on my blog. He indicts "the Right" and its strategy to create antipathy, a climate of fear, and isolation. Depending on your political orientation, you might find his arguments to be affirming or antagonistic (or both!). Regardless of your political orientation, I think it's likely you'll find truth in some of what he's saying. Comments are welcome!