Take CONTROL of Your EMOTIONS and Understand the EVOLUTION of Your Brain w/ Psychologist Jamil Zaki

Last updated: Jun 1, 2023

The video is an interview with psychologist Jamil Zaki about the evolution of kindness and empathy, and how modern life has put up barriers to human connection that need to be fought in order to re-humanize ourselves.

The video features an interview with psychologist Jamil Zaki, who discusses the importance of kindness and empathy in human connection and collaboration. He explains that while Darwin initially believed that kindness and empathy were not useful from an evolutionary perspective, there is now ample evidence that working together and collaborating is a key ingredient in human success. Zaki also discusses the barriers to human connection in modern life, such as political polarization and technology, and emphasizes the importance of fighting against these trends in order to cultivate kindness and empathy.

  • The belief in win-lose situations leads to missed opportunities for common solutions.
  • Political polarization, technology, and stress are barriers to human connection.
  • Kindness is evolutionarily advantageous due to kin selection and reciprocity.
  • Humans are smart to coordinate and work together, not just to dominate each other.
  • Collaboration is necessary for success in competition and well-being.
  • Empathy and kindness are not always directly related, but locking them together can lead to more effective action.
  • Empathy can become pathologized in certain circumstances or amounts.
  • Modern life has put up barriers to human connection, which can lead to loneliness and decreased empathy.
  • Empathy and connection are vital for personal and societal well-being.

Take CONTROL of Your EMOTIONS and Understand the EVOLUTION of Your Brain w/ Psychologist Jamil Zaki - YouTube

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Introduction

  • The belief that every victory of yours is a defeat of mine leads to missed opportunities for finding win-win situations and common solutions.
  • Political polarization, technology, and stress are barriers to human connection in modern life.
  • The battle for kindness is about fighting these trends and re-humanizing ourselves.
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The Evolution of Kindness

  • Darwin was initially confused by the evolutionary roots of kindness.
  • According to natural selection, helping others did not seem to fit in.
  • However, animals working together can achieve things that no animal can alone.
  • Humanity is the champion of collaboration and working together.
  • The old belief that you can only look out for yourself to succeed has been debunked.
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The Malleability of Kindness and Empathy

  • Carol Dweck's work on mindset is easy to understand and echoes the malleability of kindness and empathy.
  • Kindness and empathy are qualities of life that are not easy to cultivate.
  • Modern life has put up barriers to human connection, but these barriers can be fought.
  • Re-humanizing ourselves involves recovering our sense of connection to other people.
  • Kindness and empathy are levers that can be pulled on to achieve this.
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Take CONTROL of Your EMOTIONS and Understand the EVOLUTION of Your Brain w/ Psychologist Jamil Zaki - YouTube

The Importance of Connection

  • Connection and togetherness are qualities that we are built and evolved for as a species.
  • However, modern life has put up barriers to human connection.
  • Political polarization, technology, and stress pull us apart instead of bringing us together.
  • Re-humanizing ourselves involves fighting these trends and recovering our sense of connection to other people.
  • Connection is a key ingredient in how we have succeeded as a species.
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Evolutionary Advantage of Kindness

  • Kindness is evolutionarily advantageous because of kin selection.
  • Helping people you are related to means your genes are doing well.
  • Reciprocity is another way kindness is advantageous.
  • Acting kindly towards others can lead to them returning the favor.
  • Developing a positive reputation can lead to being part of a community that trusts and helps one another.
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Human Evolution and Intelligence

  • There are different views on why humans are so smart.
  • The frontal lobe allows for planning for the future.
  • Language allows for communication of infinite thoughts and experiences.
  • The massive brain and communicative ability are used for coordination and working together.
  • The Machiavellian intelligence hypothesis suggests humans are smart to outsmart and dominate each other.
  • The cooperative or collaborative intelligence hypothesis suggests humans are smart to coordinate and work together.
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Competition and Collaboration

  • People don't just compete as individuals, but as groups.
  • Groups that are internally kind and collaborative are more likely to win in competition.
  • Collaboration is necessary for tasks like hunting a woolly mammoth or building a suspension bridge.
  • When groups can tightly work together, they are more successful in sports and business.
  • Empathy and cooperation are malleable and need to be focused on to optimize well-being and success.
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Optimizing Empathy and Cooperation

  • Empathy and cooperation need to be focused on to optimize well-being and success.
  • Understanding the evolutionary advantage of kindness can lead to more cooperation.
  • Developing a positive reputation can lead to being part of a community that trusts and helps one another.
  • Collaboration is necessary for success in competition.
  • Empathy and cooperation are malleable and need to be focused on to optimize well-being and success.
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The Evolution of Empathy

  • Humans coexisted with different types of highly intelligent apes, including Neanderthals.
  • Humans won out due to their ability to work together and cooperate effectively.
  • Cooperation allowed for the sharing of information and advancements in technology.
  • Empathy is a vital skill that allows us to accomplish our goals and have strong relationships.
  • Empathy is an umbrella term that describes emotional empathy, cognitive empathy, and compassion.
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The Relationship Between Empathy and Kindness

  • Kindness and empathy are not always directly related.
  • One can act kindly without feeling empathy, and vice versa.
  • Acting kindly without empathy or feeling empathy but being unable to act can be less healthy and helpful.
  • Locking empathy and kindness together can lead to a sense of personal connection and more effective action.
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The Pathologization of Empathy

  • Empathy can become pathologized in certain circumstances or amounts.
  • Empathy overload can lead to burnout and decreased effectiveness.
  • Empathy can also be used as a tool for manipulation or control.
  • It is important to find a balance and use empathy in a healthy and effective way.
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Fighting Barriers to Human Connection

  • Modern life has put up barriers to human connection, such as social media and individualism.
  • These barriers can lead to loneliness, depression, and decreased empathy.
  • It is important to fight these barriers and re-humanize ourselves through empathy and connection.
  • Empathy can be developed and strengthened like any other skill.
  • Empathy and connection are vital for personal and societal well-being.
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The Evolution of Empathy

  • Sympathy and empathy are different terms that have evolved over time.
  • Sympathy used to mean vicariously taking on other people's emotions, especially their suffering.
  • Empathy was coined in German by aesthetic philosophers to describe the way that you respond to a piece of art by almost feeling your way into the art.
  • Empathy has only been around as a word in the English language since 1909.
  • David Hume and Adam Smith would write about sympathy, which was the old version of empathy.
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The Meaning of Sympathy

  • Sympathy is a term that has wobbled around so much in our culture that it is not very meaningful.
  • There are two ways that sympathy has been used, and they are basically the opposite of each other.
  • The old version of sympathy was resonating with someone's experience, while the new version is quite the opposite of that.
  • Nowadays, when people use sympathy, they almost mean it as pity.
  • Sympathy is a compromise term that is not very useful.
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The Importance of Empathy

  • Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.
  • Empathy is different from sympathy because it involves understanding and sharing the feelings of others, rather than just feeling sorry for them.
  • Empathy is important because it helps us connect with others and build relationships.
  • Empathy can inspire positive behavior and help us become better people.
  • Empathy is what the speaker wanted from his wife when he was going through a difficult time.
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The Role of Emotions in Caretaking

  • The speaker shares a personal story about his daughter's birth and the trauma around it.
  • The speaker was worried that the caretakers in the ICU would ultimately succumb to the overwhelming emotions that are present and that it could become pathologized.
  • The speaker emphasizes the importance of caretakers being able to manage their emotions in order to provide effective care.
  • The speaker suggests that caretakers need to be able to empathize with their patients while also maintaining a professional distance.
  • The speaker believes that empathy and emotional regulation are both important skills for caretakers to have.
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Understanding Empathy

  • Precise language is important to experience empathy more precisely.
  • Empathy has different pieces, and some pieces may be useful in one moment but not in another.
  • There are three pieces of empathy: emotional empathy, compassion, and cognitive empathy.
  • Emotional empathy is the type of empathy that wears us out most quickly and is associated with burnout.
  • Compassion is feeling for other people without necessarily feeling as they do in the moment.
  • Cognitive empathy is understanding and engaging with other people's emotions without necessarily feeling them.
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