Dr. James Doty, a Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery at Stanford University and Director of The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education found in his research that compassion directly affects a person’s well being.
It has been stated many times that survival is of the fittest, but when one reads Darwin closely this is not the case. Rather, the more accurate statement, coined by Dacher Keltner, Ph.D. and other leading social scientists, is ‘the survival of the kindest.’ Paul Ekman, Ph.D., a leading expert on emotion describes an ever expanding body of scientific evidence that being compassionate affords significant benefit to oneself and society in his recent article in JAMA. In addition to evidence that survival may be enhanced by caring for others, there are now findings suggesting that the statement made by the Dalai Lama, ‘if one wishes to make others happy be compassionate, if one wishes to be happy be compassionate,’ in fact, has great validity.
Compassion Increases Happiness & Immunity & Decreases Stress
But happiness alone is not the only benefit of being compassionate. In a number of studies using a variety of psychological and biological measures and neuroimaging techniques, compassion not only stimulates one’s pleasure (reward) centers but also leads to a decrease in biological markers of stress and an increase in indices of adaptive immune function.
Compassion Improves Survival Of The Species, Leads To Happiness & Improved Health
So what’s not to like about being compassionate? It improves survival of the species, leads to happiness and results in improved health. The reality is that while science and technology have the potential to offer incredible benefit, it is the simple interventions known to us for thousands of years that can have a profound effect on the lives of individuals and society.
Compassion, Not Science, Will Be The Influence That Will Lead Humanity To The Peak Of Its Potential
Science and technology have the ability to have a profound influence on the human landscape. But that influence can lead us to the deepest valleys of suffering, or can lead us to those peaks of our greatest potential. It is my belief that compassion is going to be the instrument that allows us to see the latter, and not the former. It is the key that will unlock that which separates us. It is the key that will address the issues, which we all think of as isolated issues, such as global warming, war, conflict, poverty. Fundamentally, these are not entities that are external to ourselves; these are problems of the human heart.
All Crises – Personal, Social, Global, Ecological – Are Problems Of The Human Heart
The chain of causation that has resulted in ecologic catastrophe, global warming, poverty, war, these are not external events, external to ourselves. I submit to you that they are problems of the human heart. While science and technology offer great hope for many things, until this technology is focused on afflictions of the heart, I do not believe that there is hope for our species.