This week on Facebook: Last week I posted and wrote about altruism. The connection with Christmas-time was not altruistic but rather borne out of vaguely remembered and selective memories of Christmasses past, especially those that had an emotional connection.
In the SOED compassion uses the word pity, while altruism refers to unselfish acts, which doesn’t help very much other than musing over wether or not an altruistic act can be achieved without compassion. Martin Luther King said that, Pity is feeling sorry for someone; empathy is feeling sorry with someone. Someone deserving of pity may engender feelings of compassion, but maybe it is empathy that leads to unselfish acts of altruism. If Christmas heralds a time when, for whatever reason, feelings of compassion and acts of altruism increase then perhaps — be it pity or empathy — they represent innate acts of humanity.
Monday — The Kindness Cure: Since acting compassionately usually means putting others’ needs ahead of your own, prompting yourself to act with kindness often requires not only vigilance but a bit of willpower.
Tuesday — The Power of Compassion: I shared this story with Fred Sharpe, a humpback whale researcher with the Alaska Whale Foundation, and he described the remarkable capacity humpback whales have to do just what those drunks could not—hone their aggression.
Wednesday — How Wealth Reduces Compassion: In order to figure out whether selfishness leads to wealth (rather than vice versa), Piff and his colleagues ran a study where they manipulated people’s class feelings.
Thursday — Becoming Compassionately Numb: Are people today — are societies — really becoming somehow more callous? The answer is no, of course not — at least not in any fundamental sense. But compassion is a limited resource, a system rooted in cognitive networks that tire and need refueling. And it’s not always rational.
Friday — What Is Compassion? Compassion literally means “to suffer together.” Among emotion researchers, it is defined as the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering.
Other People’s Money (Posted by Peter on January 25, 2012): While we may display genuine and heartfelt compassion for those in need of it, ultimately we all have a compassion fatigue point at which our self interest — be it physical or spiritual — ultimately triumphs.
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