Gandhi’s greatest insight was recognizing early in the twentieth century that a new type of ethics was emerging in the world–an ethics grounded not in rules, but in empathy. It was a change that was necessary as human society grew increasingly complex. In the past, when people lived in homogeneous communities and rarely moved far from their birthplaces, rule-based ethnics had been adequate to govern human relations. But the world had become too fast-paced and interconnected for rule-based ethics. There were too many interactions in which rules were outdated and belief-systems clashed. The new circumstances demanded more ethically self-guiding: people had to be able to put themselves in the shoes of those around them. Those who could not navigate situations in which rules were changing or could not master the skills of empathetic understanding would find themselves unable to manage their behavior wisely and ethically.

From David Bornstein, How to Change the World, pp. 49-50