Though it was written in the 4th century B.C.E., Mengzi's philosophy, especially his democratic tendencies, his policy recommendations, and his humanistic outlook, can still be inspirational to the left today.
This book is about the process by which conflict is mistaken for, and thus escalated into, abuse. The author also talks about how shunning shuts people off from crucial knowledge, and how a mentality of supremacy and/or trauma drives this escalation + shunning behavior. She analyzes how this process plays out for an eclectic set of social issues ranging from abusive relationships to large-scale political conflict. I discuss the shared themes of Conflict Is Not Abuse, Why Does He Do That?, and Nonviolent Communication in order to give some insights into abuse, rationalizations of violence, coercion/control, and deescalation.
Dealing with criticism is hard. I give some tips drawn from my life experience for dealing with criticism gracefully without feeling bitter and resentful at the person dishing it out.
It's unfortunately very common for people to weaponize empathy -- to call for empathy in order to tell people seeking justice to be quieter. Due to this frequent occurrence, I think it is common for people to view practicing empathy as antithetical to achieving justice. In this essay, I argue that the act of truly practicing empathy is much different than what is prescribed by many people who call for empathy, and that truly practicing empathy dovetails with (rather than opposes) justice.
For people wondering about how to engage in difficult, high-stakes conversations about politics without losing their cool, deeply empathize with others, and maybe change someone's mind, I think this book, Nonviolent Communication, is a good place to start. This book explains an empathetic way of communicating (both speaking and listening) that make difficult conversations easier and more productive.