I have looked squarely at the most pressing problems confronting humanity — global climate change, mass extinctions, resource depletion, increasing toxicity of our soils, over population, and more — and still I am hopeful. How can this be?
The answer is that human beings are incredibly resilient creatures. We are capable of love and beauty unparalleled in the animal kingdom. And we are wired for empathy.
While studying cognitive science, the cross-cutting field of research dedicated to understanding the human mind, I learned something that has inspired me greatly. The human brain has within it a set of circuits called mirror neurons that enable us to simulate and re-enact the experiences of others. I can watch someone eat chocolate and feel stirrings of desire for the subtle combination of bitter and sweet. And I can also look upon the hungry and feel a grumble in my belly. This foundational discovery was made by neuroscientists in Italy in the 1990’s. And it offers the possibility for salvation in the midst of crisis. Continue reading “Will Compassion Save Humanity?” »