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Radical Compassion
News that feeds your aspirations and inspirations
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Help Others.org: The Veteran Who Just Wanted To Be Seen -- A Kindness Story

Help Others.org: The Veteran Who Just Wanted To Be Seen -- A Kindness Story | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
This happened about four or five years ago. I had been involved in "Non Violent Communication" for a couple of years. I was struggling as I still do with finding a natural and seamless way of connecting with people through compassion and empathy in everyday encounters; trying not to assume I know what someone needs but being willing to ask.

-Marc

 

Walking through the lobby of an office building in San Francisco I could hear a man screaming and shouting obscenities. He was so loud his voice penetrated the sounds of mid-day traffic and the double glass doors leading to the street.

 

Heading through those doors I saw a double amputee hunched over on one of those little rolling platforms auto mechanics sometimes use to scoot under cars. He was gesturing erratically at pedestrians as they approached and yelling profanities as they veered as far away from him as they could get while still staying on the sidewalk.

 

“I fought in Nam!" he yelled. "I lost my legs In Nam! Why can’t you help me?”

 

Trying to avoid him I hugged the building and tried to melt into the crowd, hoping he wouldn’t notice me. I don’t know if his volume actually rose or it was just my imagination but his words surrounded me. With every step they seemed louder.

 

"I lost my legs In Nam! Why can’t you help me?” he roared (with added expletives!)

 

Two more steps and I’d be at the corner and out of range. Then something shifted in me and, to my surprise. instead of making my escape I stopped, turned and walked back towards him. Crouching down I put a few bucks in his cup and asked him if he just wanted someone to stop and listen to him.

 

"Don’t you think I at least deserve that?" he shouted. "I went to Nam!" There was a pause as he caught his breath. "I was a kid. I came home with no legs! And they won’t even look me in the eye!" He paused again as he struggled to get the words out. "... I did it for them ..."

 

Looking into his gnarled, dirt-stained, unshaven face I guessed he was just a few years younger than me. I imagined our shared experiences as black youngsters growing up in the fifties and sixties. Had he, like me, shivered with fear when Emmet Till was killed in Mississippi? Was he also anxious when Ruby Bridges was escorted into that schoolhouse in New Orleans. Had he cried when John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy were assassinated?

 

I was also aware of our differences highlighted by his ragged clothes and his paper cup for spare change.

 

I asked if he just wanted to be seen and heard after all he had come through. His voice dropped and he nodded and whispered, “Yes ... yes."

With a calm steady gaze he looked me in the eyes as tears spilled over his wizened cheeks. He clasped my hands in his.

 

Spare change would help but simply being seen and heard can be what some of us long for most of all.
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» The Way of the Peaceful Parent :Leo Babuata

There is no such thing as stress-free parenting.
A reader requested that I share my thoughts on stress-free parenting, as the father of six kids. And while I have learned a lot about being a dad, and finding joy in parenthood, I also know that stress-free parenting is a myth.


Parents will always have stress: we not only have to deal with tantrums and scraped knees and refusing to eat anything you cook, but we worry about potential accidents, whether we are ruining our kids, whether our children will find happiness as adults and be able to provide for themselves and find love.


That said, I’ve learned that we can find peace...

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Seth's Blog: Conflicted

Everything we do that's important is the result of conflict. Not a conflict between us and the world--a conflict between us and ourselves...

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Seth's Blog: Stick to what you (don't) know

One of the dumbest forms of criticism is to shout down an expert in one field who speaks up about something else. The actor with a political point of view, or the physicist who talks about philosophy.

 

The theory is that people should stick to what they know and quietly sit by in all other situations.

 

Of course, at one point, we all knew nothing. The only way you ever know anything, in fact, is to speak up about it. Outline your argument, support it, listen, revise.

 

The byproduct of speaking up about what you don't know is that you soon know more. And maybe, just maybe, the experts learn something from you and your process.

 

No one knows more about the way you think than you do. Applying that approach, combining your experience, taking a risk--this is what we need from you.

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A positive life: Forgiving others takes effort, responsibility

A positive life: Forgiving others takes effort, responsibility | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Recently I've been grappling with the loftiness of forgiveness.

 

Alexander Pope famously remarked, "To err is human; to forgive, divine."

 

I'm a long way from divinity, and sometimes it's a stretch for me to forgive. I find I must first release my grievance repeatedly. Forgiveness is more a process than an act. We do not simply decide to exonerate others. Clemency requires more heart than head and a few other ingredients.

 

Being human, we all cause pain as well as have it inflicted upon us. We're not always aware that we've transgressed and not always gracious when informed of it. There is a need for personal responsibility here. However, our response to unjust injury is critically important because our evolutionary history favors reprisal...

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Abundance: A Reminder of the Need to Focus on Our Surpluses and Not Just Our Shortages

Abundance: A Reminder of the Need to Focus on Our Surpluses and Not Just Our Shortages | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
As we move further into the presidential campaign, we're going to hear a lot about the ways we're lacking and where we fall short. And though the conversation has rightly and finally shifted to the need to grow the economy, much of it is still dominated by hysterical and destructive demands to impose deficit-cutting austerity even before the economy gets back on its feet (which would only increase, not cut, the deficit).

 

Of course, it's only right that we should focus on where we're coming up short. Those of us in the media focus too much on autopsies and not enough on biopsies of our problems. So, yes, let's talk about our shortages -- of jobs and revenue and good ideas coming from our leaders. But let's start talking much more about our surpluses.

 

With unemployment still over 8 percent, we currently have more ingenuity, energy, spirit, and expertise than we have jobs -- and definitely more time on our hands. And the story of how this abundance is being put to use, of what is working and how we can scale it, has been part of HuffPost's mission from the very beginning -- and was the guiding principle behind the recent launch of our Good News section.

 

That's why I was so drawn to a new book by Peter Diamandis, who has been a friend for many years and is the CEO and chairman of the X Prize Foundation (of which I am a board member). Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think, co-written by Steven Kotler, arrives in a world facing multiple crises and awash in pessimism. And it offers three things in short supply: solutions, perspective and, just as important, optimism.

 

Arguing, as Diamandis and Kotler do, that the world is getting steadily, demonstrably better carries multiple hazards: of tone-deafness; of giving short shrift to suffering, corruption, and the parts of the world -- including many parts of America -- that are in steady, demonstrable decline.

 

But Abundance is not a work of Pollyannaism. The portraits of brilliant and empathetic minds at work improving the human condition are not an excuse to ignore the many areas in which our leaders and institutions are failing us. Rather, they are a reminder of the possibility of doing good by tapping into our collective intelligence and wisdom -- and into game-changing advances in technology. As Diamandis and Kotler point out, a Maasai tribesman living in Kenya today with a cellphone has better mobile communications than President Reagan had 25 years ago. And if it's a smartphone with an Internet connection, the tribesman has instant access to more knowledge and information than President Clinton had just 15 years ago.

 

Abundance delves into the ways innovators and entrepreneurs have seized on the advances in computing, robotics, artificial intelligence and medicine, collectively solving problems like never before. It puts special emphasis on the wave of Do It Yourself innovators who "can now tackle problems that were once the sole purview of big governments and large corporations" -- citing many examples, including Burt Rutan, an aerospace engineer who became frustrated by the state of government-run space exploration (one of Diamandis' passions) and built SpaceShipOne, a human-carrying spaceplane built by a team of thirty engineers that outperformed the government's model, at a lower cost. Then there are the more than 100 teams who have signed up to take on the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE challenge to build a hand-held, consumer-friendly device combining artificial intelligence, digital imaging, and cloud computing to bring to life the mythical "medical tricorder" from Star Trek that will ultimately allow users to diagnose themselves better than a doctor can.

 

The book also spotlights the ways the walls have come down in terms of how we connect. Social entrepreneurs have created sites like DonorsChoose.org, Crowdrise, Kiva, and Enterprise Community Partners. Diamandis and Kotler highlight groups that exemplify the DIY principle -- especially those operating in spheres that were formerly the sole province of government. These groups are expanding our understanding of the ways we can innovate, improve, and help each other.

 

In education, there's Sal Khan, a one-time hedge fund analyst who founded the Khan Academy, featuring a series of digital video lessons for students of all ages, on subjects ranging from history to math to molecular biology. According to the book, as of last summer, the Khan Academy was getting more than 2 million visitors a month and building up its library at the rate of three new videos a day. Abundance charts the rise of Khan's idea from a series of videos shared online with his cousins to "an underground Internet sensation" to a full-fledged education movement; after hearing Khan's TED talk last year, Bill Gates told attendees that they "just got a glimpse of the future of education."

 

"Technophilanthropists" -- as the authors label a collection of tech entrepreneurs who made their money before the age of 40 and are now turning their attention and their considerable resources to solving the world's biggest problems -- are another group the book identifies as essential in building a future of abundance. As examples they point to Gates' crusade against malaria, and Jeff Skoll's work fighting pandemics and nuclear proliferation. Because many of these Technophilanthropists made their money reinventing entire industries, when they turn their attention to philanthropy they are, by their very nature, bold and global.

 

And then there are the world's poorest people, the "Rising Billion" whose limited circumstances have historically locked them out of the conversation. But no more. "The net is allowing us to turn ourselves into a giant, collective meta-intelligence," the authors write. "And this meta-intelligence continues to grow as more and more people come online. Think about this for a moment: by 2020, nearly 3 billion people will be added to the Internet's community." It's like sitting at a table with a group of people, and having another group of people -- bringing different insights and perspectives -- pull up chairs and join the conversation. But what Diamandis and Kotler are talking about delivers this on a global scale...

 

 

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Cornell Chronicle: Book says we compute happiness

Cornell Chronicle: Book says we compute happiness | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
In 'The Happiness of Pursuit,' psychology professor Shimon Edelman offers an explanation of how we process our world and the 'elbow room' in which we can chase happiness.
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Jamaica’s Judiciary embraces restorative justice — CJ | Share News

Chief Justice Zaila McCalla said the judiciary fully embraces the move by government to introduce restorative justice principles within the justice system.

 

The Ministry of Justice is looking to apply the concept to the local court system and is currently carrying out a pilot program in four communities: Tower Hill, St. Andrew; Spanish Town, St. Catherine; May Pen, Clarendon and Granville, St. James. As a pivotal part of the activities marking the just-concluded Restorative Justice Week, four restorative justice centres have been opened in these pilot areas.

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Mirror Neurons Help Explain Why Baseball Hitting Is Contagious | Axon Potential

Mirror Neurons Help Explain Why Baseball Hitting Is Contagious | Axon Potential | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

One of baseball’s well worn axioms is that “hitting is contagious.” Once a few batters get on base, those hitting behind them rally at the plate. In fact, MLB batting averages are roughly 50%–70% higher for a batter following hits by the previous two batters as compared to outs made by the previous two batters. While baseball theorists have explanations for this such as rattled pitchers or motivated hitters, recent cognitive science research points to a unique learning system in our brains known as mirror neurons.

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Uh-oh...A School Where Kids Can Play All Day? | Psychology Today

Uh-oh...A School Where Kids Can Play All Day? | Psychology Today | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
It's every modern parent's worst nightmare—a school where kids can play all day. But no one takes the easy way out, and graduates seem to have a head start on the information age. Welcome to Sudbury Valley.
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The solution to the latest bullying headlines? Forget legislation: It's time to Start Empathy.

The solution to the latest bullying headlines? Forget legislation: It's time to Start Empathy. | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Earlier this week, reports surfaced about an 11-year-old boy with autism, who was beaten up by a fellow student while waiting at the bus stop.

 

The event was filmed on a student’s cell phone, as his peers egged on his attacker, and subsequently uploaded to Facebook.

 

It later emerged that Kaleb Kula, the victim of the assault, had endured similar taunts beginning in the 1st grade, and his parents had repeatedly contacted the administration expressing their concern.

 

On the surface, the school had followed procedure, obeying the letter of the law. Maryland’s Cecil County Public School District upholds a strict anti-bullying policy, and maintains an online form where parents, peers, teachers, and other witnesses are encouraged to report incidents of bullying.

The form is in keeping with the Safe Schools Reporting Act of 2005, and a host of awareness-raising measures since, ranging from Bullying Awareness Week to enhanced legislation to high-profile media coverage. The result has led to adramatic increase in the number of incidents reported throughout the state, reaching 3,800 incidents in 2009-2010: nearly double that from the previous year.

 

Yet as Kaleb’s story shows, reporting incidents and dolling out reprimands only goes so far. Charging the student who attacked Kaleb with second-degree assault and laying blame on the district—which has called together parents to discuss bullying in wake of the incident—will not fix the problem. What’s needed is a concerted effort to address the issue at its root: equipping students with the ability to stand up when they see peers being mistreated and to avoid conflict in the first place...

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Spanking kids can cause long-term harm: Canada study | Sympatico.ca News

Spanking kids can cause long-term harm: Canada study | Sympatico.ca News | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
TORONTO (Reuters) - Spanking children can cause long-term developmental damage and may even lower a child's IQ, according to a new Canadian analysis that seeks to shift the ethical debate over corporal punishment into the medical sphere.
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Gift Economy

Gift Economy | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
What's the gift economy? In simple terms it's about giving stuff away for free without expecting anything back. Hold on, isn't everything supposed to be monetized?
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KarmaTube: Kindness Boomerang

KarmaTube: Kindness Boomerang | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

What goes around comes around. This charming short film depicts the ripple-effect of kind acts -- the way in which receiving an unexpected moment of generosity from a stranger can cause us to become more aware of the needs of those around us and...

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Love Strong

Love Strong | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Tom Coughlin, coach of the 2012 XVLI Super Bowl champion New York Giants will go down in history for empowering his long shot team, not with a "come-on" fist-pump but with an expression of effusive love during his Super Bowl-eve huddle.
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Principles of Conflict Transformation | TransConflict | Transform, Transcend, Translate

Principles of Conflict Transformation | TransConflict | Transform, Transcend, Translate | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

TransConflict has developed the following set of Principles which we hope will contribute to the conceptual debate about conflict transformation, whilst helping to guide individuals and organizations alike in the field of conflict transformation...

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Positive Psychology News Daily » The Positive Psychology Oscars of 2011: Character Strengths and Best Picture

Positive Psychology News Daily » The Positive Psychology Oscars of 2011: Character Strengths and Best Picture | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

This is the third year that Ryan Niemiec has prepared us for the Oscar award evening by nominating movies for positive psychology awards.

As co-author of Positive Psychology at the Movies and scientist at the VIA Institute, Ryan is perfectly placed to suggest the positive psychology awards for the movies of 2011.

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Yes!: 10 Things Science Says Will Make You Happy

Yes!: 10 Things Science Says Will Make You Happy | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Scientists can tell us how to be happy. Really. Here are 10 ways, with the research to prove it.
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NYT: Exuberance for Novelty Has Benefits

NYT: Exuberance for Novelty Has Benefits | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Novelty-seeking, a personality trait long associated with trouble, turns out to be one of the crucial predictors of emotional and physical well-being.
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Kindness Scientist

This profile on UC Berkeley Professor Dacher Keltner highlights his breakthrough research on the science of kindness and compassion. (Scientist proves that compassion is the workplace is beneficial to our well being.

Via Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Ph.D.
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» How Fun Is Your Workplace? Your Home? - World of Psychology

» How Fun Is Your Workplace? Your Home? - World of Psychology | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

In The Levity Effect: Why it Pays to Lighten Up, Adrian Gostick and Scott Christopher make an interesting argument that “levity” is an extremely effective tool for helping people to work better. An atmosphere of light-heartedness, it turns out, helps people pay attention, eases tensions, and enhances a feeling of connection.

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This Will Make You Smarter: 151 Big Thinkers Each Pick a Concept to Enhance Your Cognitive Toolkit

This Will Make You Smarter: 151 Big Thinkers Each Pick a Concept to Enhance Your Cognitive Toolkit | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

Every year for more than a decade, intellectual impresario and Edge editor John Brockman has been asking the era’s greatest thinkers a single annual question, designed to illuminate some important aspect of how we understand the world. In 2010, he asked how the Internet is changing the way we think. In 2011, with the help of psycholinguist Steven Pinker and legendary psychologist Daniel Kahneman, he posed an even grander question: “What scientific concept will improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit?” The answers, featuring a wealth of influential scientists, authors, and thought-architects, are released today in This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking — a formidable anthology of short essays by 151 of our time’s biggest thinkers on subjects as diverse as the power of networks, cognitive humility, the paradoxes of daydreaming, information flow, collective intelligence, and a dizzying, mind-expanding range in between. Together, they construct a powerful toolkit of meta-cognition — a new way to think about thinking itself.

 

As infinitely fascinating and stimulating as This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking is, its true gift — Brockman’s true gift — is in acting as a potent rupture in the filter bubble of our curiosity, cross-pollinating ideas across a multitude of disciplines to broaden our intellectual comfort zones and, in the process, spark a deeper, richer, more dimensional understanding not only of science, but of life itself.

 

The text of the answers is also available online in its entirety.

 

http://edge.org/annual-question/what-scientific-concept-would-improve-everybodys-cognitive-toolkit

 

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Aren Cohen: Hugs Matter

Aren Cohen: Hugs Matter | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

One of my favorite YouTube videos is called “Free Hugs.” The clip was filmed in Australia, where one day a young man, then a group of people decided to stand in a mall and offer free hugs. The video is amazing. People’s responses, including the police trying to shut them down, are quite profound and moving.
Each time I see it, it brings tears to my eyes.

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DailyGood: Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy": A Neuropsychology Reading, by Maria Popova

DailyGood: Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy": A Neuropsychology Reading, by Maria Popova | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

Unpacking the lyrics of the iconic happiness anthem to find surprising science-tested insights on well-being.


In 1988, Bobby McFerrin wrote one of the most beloved anthems to happiness of all time. On September 24 that year, “Don’t Worry Be Happy” became the first a cappella song to reach #1 on the Billboard Top 100 Chart. But more than a mere feel-good tune, the iconic song is brimming with neuroscience and psychology insights on happiness that McFerrin — whose fascinating musings on music and the brain you might recall from World Science Festival’s Notes & Neurons — embedded in its lyrics, whether consciously or not.

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