Compassion at the Crossroads

Robert Kennedy, on the night of Martin Luther King’s assassination:

“What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.”

I know posting this won’t matter much. A few people will watch the video below (thank you). Fewer will care. It’s not very anthropological, or analytical. I have little to add to it. Some, in the Jonathan Haidt school of thought, could take umbrage that citing RFK and MLK is just more evidence of the liberalism of academics.

It just feels like a time when social divisions continue to grow. Injecting a little bit of compassion into the blogosphere simply feels right.   

5 thoughts on “Compassion at the Crossroads

  1. Don’t be saying your posts don’t matter much! Your posts on compassion and humanity have frequently been a bright spot in my day, and I have used several of your scientific inquiries as teaching tools.

    As to the sign of increasing liberalism in academia–you’ve a point there. But also to be remembered is the increasing hatefulness of the Republican party…Liberals not fully to blame if their attempts to re-balance seem extreme as response to extremities in Republican rhetoric… And the increasing segregation of class, race & education level also not the fault of professors…

    • Thanks for the kind words about this site. I’ll keep some distance from the Republican/ Liberal issue, but I think all people – regardless of political persuasion – are a sort of balance of internal voices. For example, I actually like some of Haidt’s writings on the major moral traits across societies, that we try to balance things like fairness, preventing harm, deference to authority, purity, and loyalty to the group. Some of these are more important to us than others, but they’re all in the mix. Whichever ones we pick, I’d like to hope that compassion is in there somewhere.

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