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Saturday Session, Online – Monday 22 June


The Saturday Sessions provide our alumni a way to extend their professional development and ‘top-up’ their Cranlana experience.  The Saturday Sessions discuss different topical issues and explore ethical themes such as power, fairness, justice, trust and short- vs long-term thinking. Using the Cranlana method, these truly fascinating conversations about the things that matter are based on a selection of provided readings and are guided by our expert Moderators. These intimate sessions of philosophical and ethical discussion  will refuel your sense of moral courage, re-connect you to your critical reasoning capabilities and provide a forum to re-engage with the extraordinary Cranlana alumni.

While each of us is struggling to make sense of the pandemic for our life and our work, and to understand its implications for the future of Australia and the world, we can’t bring you together physically, However wherever you’re located you can join us for virtual Saturday Sessions; a coming together to assist one another to find a moral anchor in these difficult and confusing times.  Registered
participants will be emailed links to pre-readings, and a Zoom link in the week prior to the Session.

The topic for this Session is:

Are empathy and compassion overrated?

Empathy is usually defined as the capacity to share or understand the feelings of others. The linked term, compassion describes the feelings that arise when we witness another’s suffering. The two words have different etymologies — empathy, comes from the Greek, compassion from the Latin — but both describe emotional states that are assumed to be a necessary precursor to rendering assistance to another person or group. If we don’t sense someone’s pain, then why rush to help them when they fall? If we cannot imagine the pang of hunger, then why donate to famine relief? We generally regard empathy and compassion as positive human traits that are fostered through art, especially story-telling arts like literature, drama and film.

In this Saturday Session we’ll debate a provocative alternative view — that compassion and empathy are fickle indulgences and that the story-telling arts are just a distraction. Rather than spurs to action they serve as emotional palliatives, enabling us to feel good about ourselves, without having to do anything substantial to address the inequities that surround us. 

Exclusive to alumni


22 Jun 2020