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this curious life
Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. - Dr. Seuss
Curated by Janet Devlin
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What’s a Dog For?: The Surprising History, Science, Philosophy, and Politics of Man’s Best Friend

What’s a Dog For?: The Surprising History, Science, Philosophy, and Politics of Man’s Best Friend | this curious life | Scoop.it

"If you resist too much the power of the big primary-color emotions that surround the dog, you're missing the experience." 

 

'.......... former New York magazine executive editor John Homans explores [this] in What’s a Dog For?: The Surprising History, Science, Philosophy, and Politics of Man’s Best Friend — a remarkable chronicle of the domestic dog’s journey across thousands of years and straight into our hearts, written with equal parts tenderness and scientific rigor.

 

In a chapter on reconciling the inevitable pain we invite into our lives when we commit to love a being biologically destined to die before we do and the boundless joy of choosing to love anyway, Homans cites John Updike’s heartbreaking poem “Another Dog’s Death” about the last days of one of his beloved animals:

 

'For days the good old bitch had been dying, her back
pinched down to the spine and arched to ease the pain,
her kidneys dry, her muzzle white. At last
I took a shovel into the woods and dug her grave

in preparation for the certain. She came along,
which I had not expected. Still, the children gone,
such expeditions were rare, and the dog,
spayed early, knew no nonhuman word for love.

She made her stiff legs trot and let her bent tail wag.
We found a spot we liked, where the pines met the field.
The sun warmed her fur as she dozed and I dug;
I carved her a safe place while she protected me.

I measured her length with the shovel’s long handle;
she perked in amusement, and sniffed the heaped-up earth.
Back down at the house, she seemed friskier,
but gagged, eating. We called the vet a few days later.

They were old friends. She held up a paw, and he
injected a violet fluid. She swooned on the lawn;
we watched her breathing quickly slow and cease.
In a wheelbarrow up to the hole, her warm fur shone.'

 

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The rich are different — and not in a good way, studies suggest

The rich are different — and not in a good way, studies suggest | this curious life | Scoop.it
Psychologist and social scientist Dacher Keltner says his research shows the rich really are different: Their life experience makes them less empathetic, less altruistic, and generally more selfish.

 

'“We have now done 12 separate studies measuring empathy in every way imaginable, social behavior in every way, and some work on compassion and it’s the same story,” he said. “Lower class people just show more empathy, more prosocial behavior, more compassion, no matter how you look at it.”

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