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Chuck Pezeshki

Here are my background questions.  I'm so psyched an artist took notes at the first IETA meeting, and want to go back and give all of it some serious thought.  I just glanced at it, but I'm a huge believer in graphics as a way to reach Authoritarians!  For real sentience-development reasons. OK, here goes!

1. What is your name, background and interest with training empathy?

My name is Chuck Pezeshki.  I am a professor of design at Washington State University in the School of MME, and run a large design clinic.  I was educated in nonlinear theory, and was one of the first people to place chaotic motion and fractals in larger contexts.  Currently, I am writing a book, which is blogged out and almost complete, on how networks of sentient actors form knowledge and meaning.  It is a Theory of Everything, and the core element in it is empathy.  Empathy is many things, but the core function is how it creates information coherence between actors in social structures.  It is the core evolutionary force in the human spirit.  The book is at


2.  What are your ideas for forming an International Empathy Trainers Association?

If we are to save the world, then humans must connect across distances, individual experiences, and cultures to form synergistic networks.  When humans do this, solutions for large, 'wicked' problems become naturally emergent -- meaning that someone doesn't order up a single solution for a complex problem like global warming.  It naturally rises from the interaction.  But in order for this to occur, we need more people who have focused on developing their ability to connect, so they can form those larger networked collective intelligences that promote information exchange, as well as the other goodies (compassion, insight and such.)  A group dedicated to sharing insights, best practices, and context for empathetic development could be an enormous force for positive social change, both in its advocacy, as well as the students affected.


3.  What sort of support do you need from IETA?

Right now, I'm working on getting my book finished and published.  It would be great if members would check out some of the entries and help me make them more readable.  I'm an empathetic dude, but I also recognize that as a systems theorist, some of my stuff might be a bit inaccessible.  My theory also predicts that people who are not empathetic are going to have a very difficult time understanding what I write.  Sharing insights on developing what I call 'empathetic ladders' -- tools for helping those with lower developed empathy understand key empathy messages, and become more empathetic -- would be a great help.


4. How would you like to contribute of building the Association?

I'd be happy to attend meetings.  I also have familiarity with some tools that might help build resources.

5.  What questions do you have for others on the list?

One of the biggest problems with being empathetic as an academic is the isolation.  Academia is a very non-empathetic environment.  

How do you deal with low empathy people and keep your spirits up?


Meeting 2016-07-06

Name: Chuck Pezeshki

Introduction: I’m a professor of mechanical engineering, specializing in design, and a systems theorist with a background in nonlinear physics and chaos theory.  I’m currently writing a book on how sentient networks create knowledge and understanding.  The answer?  Empathy.  A good hunk of the book is blogged out at:

What does an ideal IETA look like to you?  

The ideal IETA for me is a ‘big tent’ approach that lets individuals working in the field plug in their understandings on the scales that they work on.  For some, that would be NVC, and individual approaches to establishing deeper connections with other human beings.  For myself, it would involve framing many of the approaches into pedagogical ensembles so that we can spread empathic behavior through our society and world.  For others, it may involve developing empathetic modes of connecting larger constituencies so that those constituencies could bring transformative change to the large, ‘wicked’ problems facing our planet, like global warming.

2. Interviewee Name: Gray

Your Name:  Chuck Pezeshki

Insight/Story:   Gray is a teacher, moving from an empathic teaching community to a more traditional teaching/admin. community

Feeling:   Gray feels isolated in her professional community because of a lack of shared values with creating a community with the students as well as the faculty.  She feels pretty profound in-group/out-group dynamics associated with her teaching community, and feels like she is in the out-group.
Met Need:  Gray has the ability to form profound relationships with lots of different people, including professionals in the field with experiential education.  She has the ability to understand the student mindset through perceptive and non-judgmental assessment.
Unmet Need: Larger connection with a professional support community.  Modalities for introducing change/acceptance dynamics inside her professional community.  Communication strategies for effectiveness of new pedagogical methods based on empathy.

Feedback:  Gray is a classic example of an audience that could be supported by IETA.  She is young, empathic herself, so is receptive to coaching.  She suffers from some level of ego deflation from being in non-empathic networks and needs support.

Gray agrees with feedback.  

HMW:   How might we… Continue process of support and development.  Shared stories of change in hierarchical organizations.  Learning how to ‘bud out’ empathic communities inside of Authoritarian/Legalistic non-empathic systems.