Our Capacity for Empathy

Richard Flanagan discussing his most recent novel, The Unknown Terrorist, on KCRW’s Bookworm:

"I don’t know why this is but over the last several years we’ve lost our capacity for empathy, except if it’s presented in the most histrionic and manipulative way through the media. We seem to have become strangely callous to the horror around us. And I did want to create a character who the reader would feel was sort of an every-woman-every-man sort of character who would lead the reader to think what would it feel like if it was me they came for next? Because increasingly, the currency of the day seems to be lies. And the lies are always directed against the weakest and the most powerless. And the lies seem to serve--at the end of the day--power and money. And yet we have slept walked through all this."