December 12, 2009
It's not such a dog-eat-dog after all. It turns out we may be wired to be kind.
As you may have heard, Sharon Salzberg is leading our first Tricycle Online Retreat, a three-week teaching on metta, or loving-kindness, practice. In the teacher-led discussion, one retreatant points us to a University of California, Berkeley, study on sympathy and compassion. The Science Daily reports:
In contrast to "every man for himself" interpretations of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, Dacher Keltner, a UC Berkeley psychologist and author of "Born to be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life," and his fellow social scientists are building the case that humans are successful as a species precisely because of our nurturing, altruistic and compassionate traits.
They call it "survival of the kindest."
In ordinary circumstances, one study claims, the human default is to "err on the side of kindness." You can read the rest here.