Survival of the Kindest: Toward a Compassionate Society

In Darwin's first book about humans, he argued for "the greater strength of the social or maternal instincts than that of any other instinct or motive." His reasoning was disarmingly intuitive: in our hominid predecessors, communities of more sympathetic individuals were more successful in raising healthier offspring to the age of viability and reproduction -- the sine qua non of evolution. One year later, Darwin showed how our moral sentiments are expressed in mammalian patterns of behavior. To be a mammal is to suffer. To be a mammal is to feel the strongest of Darwin's instincts -- sympathy. Join Dacher Keltner who will detail the evolution and neurophysiology of compassion and kindness, and share his and other researchers’ work that proved two of Darwin’s hypotheses true: sympathy is indeed wired into our brains and bodies; and it spreads from one person to another through touch.

 

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