A radical experiment in empathy: Sam Richards at

Posted by: Tedstaff

By leading the Americans in his audience at TEDxPSU step by step through the thought process, sociologist Sam Richards sets an extraordinary challenge: can they understand — not approve of, but understand — the motivations of an Iraqi insurgent? And by extension, can anyone truly understand and empathize with another? (Recorded at TEDxPSU, October 2010 at Penn State University in University Park, PA. Duration: 18:07)

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Comments (3)

  • Halima Brewer commented on Apr 20 2011

    I do not think the comment was that THEY would percieve US as CHRISTIAN, but pointing out that WE see THEM as MUSLIM.

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  • Razvan Mitulescu commented on Apr 18 2011

    Powerfull “in-your-shoes” experiment.

    I’d say though, that mixing the reasons for which americans and other participant countries to eastern-orient wars is not a good thing. It leads to more confusion. There is no doubt that the war reasons, especially those in discussion, are not related to religion, but only to power, control, money, resources.

    The people from Iraq or Afganisthan wouldn’t relate the invasion to christianism, if they weren’t told so.
    It’s manipulation. More than that, you cannot call anyone with a Bible in his hand a Christian. This is a big confusion that western world generated since the Great Schism, almost 1000 years ago, when Catholic church split from the One Single Church and took a wrong path. The mistake lead to multiple division of thousands of christian confesions, which unfortunately created a bad image. Hence, that guy who burned the Q’uran cannot be called a Christian by all means. That’s why, in my oppinion is not fair to simply generalize and call all christian denominations “Christians”. I would always add their denomination, such a “catholic” or “protestant” or “adventist”, “baptist”. etc.

    And it’s ridiculos to say that american army is Christian, in a country where most of the public institutions are secularized.

    But other than that, yes, congratulations for giving a very sensitive look to those issues.