Compassion is a universal virtue, but is it innate or taught? Have we lost touch with it? Can we be better at it? In this hour, TED speakers explore compassion, its roots, its meaning and its future.
Sally Kohn: Is It Enough To Be Politically Correct? Krista Tippett: Has The Word 'Compassion' Lost Its Meaning? Robert Wright: Are We Wired To Be Compassionate? Karen Armstrong: How Can We Make The World More Compassionate Daniel Goleman: Why Aren't We More Compassionate
Michelangelo was a religious man, but he was also a scientist. He must have been very conflicted about painting a brain and brainstem in God's head and neck, especially in the Sistine Chapel. After all, he was commissioned by the Church, which did not take too kindly to literal images on its murals.
Wherever you are reading this, take a moment now and notice your body: Are your legs crossed? Is your posture straight or are you slouching? Are you slightly warm or cold? Now notice your surroundings: Is your body in a serene or noxious environment? Is it being transported in a moving vehicle, rocking slightly from side to side? If you could precisely answer any of those questions, congratulations, you are conscious. How consciousness arises from, as the great neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran mused, "a three-pound mass of jelly that you can hold in your palm" is one of science's deepest enigmas.
What’s your favourite song? Everyone has one. Or maybe, if you’re like me, you have about twenty. Those particular songs, our desert island discs, are powerful. They connect with us at a deep level and can arouse a variety of emotions: nostalgia, empowerment, wistfulness, sadness, ecstasy, maybe even a combination of these. But the potential of music – and particularly our favourite music, goes further than this. The forthcoming documentary ‘Alive Inside’, currently doing the rounds of the film festivals, powerfully illustrates the emancipatory potential of music which has largely gone unnoticed until now. For older people suffering the confusion and loneliness of dementia, music can bring them out of their isolation and help them re-engage with the outside world.
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