The Brain and Compassion

As we do with many of the habits and dispositions, today we explore the brain’s role in compassion. Are our brains wired for compassion? To answer this, take a look at the role our reptilian brain plays in compassion.

Listen to this conversation on the Ted Radio Hour between host, Guy Raz and science writer Robert Wright: Are We Wired to Be Compassionate? When asked if it’s easy to be compassionate all the time, Wright answers “No, it’s hard because we’re designed to think we’re being good when we’re not. We are designed to convince ourselves that our very selective deployment of compassion is thoroughly justified. The good news is that we have compassion. We believe that it should definitely be channeled toward deserving people, but then the bad news is we define deserving people in a self-serving way, at least by nature.”

As you listen to this conversation, think about your views on compassion. What is at the root of your actions?