Empathy, not self-interest, is the core impulse of human nature, according to social analyst Jeremy Rifkin. And that realization may hold the key to successfully responding to the environmental and economic challenges that now confront humanity.

One key to recent scientific research relating to empathy is the discovery of  “mirror neurons,” a finding that originated, Rifkin relates, in a chance encounter during some unreleated experiments with monkeys in an Italian laboratory.

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