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Day 30/07/2014

The Empathic Potential of Storytelling – Creating Spaces to Exchange Stories with Strangers & Cultivate Empathy…*

The Empathic Potential of Storytelling - Creating Spaces to Exchange Stories with Strangers & Cultivate Empathy...*  | rethinked.org

“I think we need to think about bringing empathy into our every day lives in a very sort of habitual way. Socrates said that the way we live a wise and good life was to know thyself. And we’ve generally thought of that as being about being self-reflective, looking in at ourselves. It’s been about introspection. But I think, in the 21st century, we need to recognize that to know thyself is something that can also be achieved by stepping outside yourself, by discovering other people’s lives. And I think empathy is the way to revolutionize our own philosophies of life, to become more outrospective and to create the revolution of human relationships that I think we so desperately need.” – Roman Krznaric

Tune in to any news outlet today and the urgency of Krznaric’s message about our need to bring empathy into our every day lives and revolutionize human relationships should be quite clear. We need to create, nurture and seek out spaces where we may step outside ourselves and discover the lives of other people. We need platforms that allow us to appraise the “Other,” not as a collection of labels, stereotypes and prejudices, but as fellow dreamers and worriers–as human beings, full of hopes and fears, longings and potential. We need tools and spaces to recognize ourselves in strangers. Here are three such spaces, each exploring, in its own way, the power of storytelling to nurture empathy.


20 Day Stranger  }

20 Day Stranger is an iPhone app that reveals intimate, shared connections between two anonymous individuals. It’s a mobile experience that exchanges one person’s experience of the world with another’s, while preserving anonymity on both sides.

For 20 days, you and a stranger will experience the world in your own way, together. You’ll never know who it is or exactly where they are, but we hope it will reveal enough about someone to build your imagination of their life… and more broadly, the imagination of strangers everywhere.

20 Day Stranger from Playful Systems on Vimeo.


Judged.co }

It started when Catherine Hoke, founder of Defy Ventures, asked: “What if you were only known for the worst thing you’ve ever done in your life?” The 1,500 attendees of Brooklyn Beta, a popular tech conference, fell silent with the question. How do ex-convicts get past their troubled beginnings? The stigma of conviction? The judgment of others? Can former criminals really change their hustle? Is it possible for people to make a 180-degree turn, change their habits, and start over? Defy is finding the answers by helping ex-convicts start their own businesses, and giving them a chance to change their path and repave their future. So, what does that have to do with us? We’re not criminals. We’ve led privileged lives and make a living as creatives. But Catherine’s mission struck a chord with us. So we decided to get involved. To talk to Defy Ventures graduates and hear their stories. To use our talents to make sure as many people as possible are inspired by what organizations like Defy are doing. And, maybe most importantly, to add depth and meaning to an often commercial or superficial virtual world. Over the months that passed, the stories kept resonating in our heads. Defy graduates didn’t have the opportunities we did. But they now have the power to impact the lives of the next generation. By bringing these positive role models into the spotlight, we have the chance to contribute to something real. Something good. Something that goes far beyond appearance, all the way to inspiration. Listen to these stories. We think they’ll inspire you too.



Narrative 4 is a global organization headed up by some of the world’s most renowned and influential authors, artists and community leaders who have come together to promote empathy through the exchange of stories. In an effort to break down barriers and shatter stereotypes, N4 encourages people to walk in each other’s shoes and prove that not only does every story matter, every life matters.

Narrative4 from Narrative 4 on Vimeo.


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