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Video conference with Washington held as part of Nasimi Festival in Baku

30 September 2018 [15:38] - TODAY.AZ


A video lecture titled "Empathic Civilization and Exchange Economy" by world-famous US economist Jeremy Rifkin was held at the Stone Chronicle Museum in Baku as part of the Nasimi Festival of Poetry, Arts, and Spirituality.

The festival, dedicated to the work of Imadaddin Nasimi (1369-1417), one of the brilliant poets and thinkers of the East, has been organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and supported by Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Culture. The festival is being held in Azerbaijan for the first time from September 27 till September 30.

A video conference with Washington was organized for holding the lecture. Rifkin is one of the most famous and influential economists of our time.

Rifkin said that humanity is on the threshold of the third industrial revolution, which will take place thanks to a new approach to the distribution of environmentally friendly electricity, 3D printers and the internet.

The scholar is confident that the evolving capacity for empathy thanks to the current technologies will allow at some point to relate ourselves to the entire human race and maybe to the biosphere in general. What is empathy? This is conscious empathy for the current emotional state of another person without losing the sensation of the external origin of this experience.

“For the last ten years, a lot of interesting things have happened in evolutionary biology, child psychology and other related fields,” he said. “These discoveries now allow rethinking our long-established views on human nature and the sense of our presence on Earth.”

"The issue is that we should realize the human race as one big family, expand our ideas about identification,” Rifkin said. “We do not lose our national identity or religious ties. We do not lose the closest blood ties.”

“But we are expanding our understanding of humanity,” he said. “We understand it as a whole big family of fellow tribesmen, fellow travelers on a big journey. We understand other kinds as part of our biological family, while the biosphere - as part of an evolutionary process. Here the connection with the creativity and philosophy of Nasimi, who called for spiritual unity for the salvation of mankind, is clearly observed. The real economy is photosynthesis.”

"We are human beings,” Rifkin said. “We are about seven billion at the moment, which is less than one percent of the biomass of this planet. At the same time, we use 24 percent of the photosynthetic processes of the Earth. We turned into monsters. In the next thirty years there should be nine billion instead of seven billion, it’s just irrational - either we have to leave or change."

“On this planet it is very difficult to survive - whether you are a human being or a fox, paving the route through unknown terrain,” he said. “As soon as a person realizes that life is fragile and ends in death and every moment is precious, it allows him to understand the value of other lives around him. And when we sympathize with other people and other creatures, it comes from what we know from our own experience and how difficult it is for them to fight for life. By our responsiveness we show our solidarity with them in this struggle.”

“We need to rethink the aspirations of humanity, our entire narrative,” Rifkin said. “If we are really Homo Empathicus, we need to let this nature reveal itself, despite the influence of our traditions in the field of education, business or management that contribute to the awakening of narcissism, materialism, aggression, craving for violence.”

“If we are ready for a global conversation, let’s rethink human nature, find a way to the possibility of global empathy to reorganize social institutions and prepare a decent ground on which a civilization of empathy could emerge,” he added.

The lecture ended with a Q/A session.

The festival is held under the slogans “Beyond the Limited Self”, reflecting the philosophical views of the poet, and “I am a Particle, I am the Sun” which are the poet’s lines. The program of the large-scale event covers various types of art and knowledge fields. During the festival, programs are being organized in various places in Baku, as well as in Shamakhi, the native city of the poet.


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