The Universal Solvent for Evil

Jim Loehr

Simon Baron Cohen: empathy is the universal solvent for evil.

In 2011, Simon Baron-Cohen, professor of developmental psychopathology at the University of Cambridge, published The Science of Evil, which argued that evil is the consequence of blocked empathy and compassion.

Without empathy, Baron-Cohen contended, we can turn people into objects, and all that's left is "I." He defined empathy as the ability to identify what someone else is thinking or feeling and to respond appropriately.

For Baron-Cohen, empathy is the most valuable moral resource in the world. It represents a universal solvent for evil.

Neuroscientists have discerned at least 10 regions of the brain are involved in what Baron-Cohen calls "the empathy circuit.” One of these is the orbitofrontal cortex. This is a prefrontal cortex region in the frontal lobes of the brain which is involved in the cognitive process of decision-making. The orbitofrontal cortex helps link our rational and emotional brains. Empathy is both a cognitive understanding and an emotional response.

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Jim Loehr is a legendary pioneer in the field of human performance. An elite tennis player himself who still competes nationally in USTA events, Jim created the field of Mental Toughness training with his revolutionary study of elite pro players. He has been one of the most influential voices in tennis and tennis coaching for over 30 years, and is the author of multiple best selling books. He has expanded his influence far beyond sports with the creation of the Human Performance Institute where he and his staff have worked with hundreds of leaders in business, law enforcement, and military special forces. For the last decade he has also directed an academy for junior players helping young people learn what winning in life really means.

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