Sir Peter's thought-provoking lecture examined the barriers to our ability to empathise with others, and the resulting impact on everything from the delivery of education and healthcare to creating an effective criminal justice system. 

He said that whilst today's digital technology has enabled people to connect better with each other than ever before, this hasn't resulted in corresponding increase in empathy, as our networks become increasingly remote.

In order to help heal the current divides in the UK, we need to consider how we can strengthen our communities by seeking to see the world through the eyes of others.

Listen to the lecture here.

Sir Peter Bazalgette, former head of the Arts Council and the man credited with inventing reality TV, published The Empathy Instinct: How to Create a More Civil Society as a timely manifesto for those who reject our “selfie” culture. His thesis is simple: in our hyper-connected society, we shall come up against “the other” time and again. Unless we can put ourselves in other people's shoes, we shall feel disconnected from, or threatened by others. How can we learn to make that leap of the emotional imagination? 

Road to Character lecture series

The Legatum Institute's Road to Character series is part of our Cultural Transformation programme and was launched by David Brooks, the best-selling author and New York Times columnist, last month. We invite high-profile speakers to discuss the character trait they most value, and its role in their own, and in the nation's, life.

Upcoming speakers:

  • Helena Morrissey - the concept of service in public life
  • General Lord Guthrie -  is self-discipline in decline?
  • Dambisa Moyo - why courage is such a respected - and rare - quality