"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Another Must-Read: Compassion (Update)

From Tom Sullivan at Hullabaloo. It's largely a scathing indictment of right-wing "morality" and how we lost our bearings, but this summation strikes me as apt:

What strikes me is how this research echoes something paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey said about Turkana Boy in speculating about the development of compassion in early Man:

Bipedalism carried an enormous price, where compassion was what you paid your ticket with. You simply can't abandon somebody who's incapacitated because the rest will abandon you next time it comes to be your turn.

There but for the grace of God. Compassion has an evolutionary advantage, Leakey suggests. Perhaps it is what helped us rise above the law of the jungle.

This goes back to my conviction that our morality -- the real thing, not the Bronze Age tribal taboos -- is hard-wired, or close to it: we're social animals, which implies that our primary moral imperative is to work for the benefit of the group, which necessarily (in most cases) works to our own good.

The American right seems to have dispensed with that idea.

Update: In support of that last statement, read this and this.

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