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The Power of Outrospection

It’s time for the age of introspection to come to a close, according to philosopher and author Roman Krznaric. In this beautifully animated speech, “The Power of Outrospection,” Krizaric challenges the utility of any kind of soul searching that consists of reading self help books. Rather, he argues, the most worthwhile experiences come from engaging with the world around us.

If Krznaric’s arguments do not convince you to leave the television set, illustrations by artist Andrew Park will certainly do the trick. Trekkies will enjoy a short segment where Park likens the outrospective explorer to Star Trek character Spock. Park’s drawings of teleporting to new worlds and poking alien creatures illustrate Krznaric’s point to a “t”, not to mention make his arguments especially enticing.

To learn about the world is to cultivate an empathetic understanding. Empathy is the fundamental reason Krznaric believes it so important we begin to explore outside of ourselves in the first place.To Krznaric, empathy is an art form and an impressive feat of the imagination. Empathy can grasp our hearts across continents or even decades. Without an empathetic imagination, it would be impossible to consider the labor conditions of the individual who made the t-shirt you are wearing. It would be equally impossible to imagine the effects our Co2 emissions will have on future generations.  Empathy, Krznaric sums up, not only allows us to better understand ourselves, but also inspires us to change the world we live in for the better.

The Power of Outrospection was released by a British charity organization, The Royal Society for the encouragement of the arts (RSA), in December 2012. The RSA has released fourteen animated shorts on topics ranging from the secrets of time to the truth about dishonesty. Their entire body of work is available online at http://www.thersa.org/events/rsaanimate.

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