The Blessings of Atheism: The Absence of an Afterlife Lends a Greater, Not a Lesser, Moral Importance to Our Actions on Earth.
Believing this to be my only life is what makes me try to live it to the fullest. Believing that my fellow humans only have one shot at living happy and fulfilled lives is what motivates my efforts to improve the human condition (of course this is not to say that religious people aren’t capable of doing good things either - I just tire of the assumption that secular people must be nihilistic or even immoral).
An NYPD officer buys a homeless man shoes.
A client at work just gave me a $20 tip for being a “sweetheart.” While I genuinely feel that kindness is its own best reward, I’ll happily accept any other perks it brings (especially in these trying times). The funny thing is, I didn’t even think I did anything remotely deserving of that much money. It was very shocking. It’s remarkable how much impact an act of kindness could have on a purpose. I suppose with the way customer service is getting, people really enjoy the human touch.
15 Photos Of Libyans Apologising To Americans
A peaceful demonstration from Benghazi, the Libyan city where a U.S. ambassador was killed in a consulate attack Tuesday. “Chris Stevens was a friend to all Libyans.”
It’s actually pretty sad that people who follow Islam feel the need to prove that being Muslim doesn’t mean they’re anti-American or hate anyone who doesn’t follow Islam. I honestly am glad my humanities class covered most of the commonly known religions.
The results were striking: the simple act of tapping one’s hands in synchrony with another caused our participants to report feeling more similar to their partners and to have greater compassion for their plight: it increased the number of people who helped their partner by 31 percent and increased the average time spent helping from one minute to more than seven.
What these results suggest is that the compassion we feel for others is not solely a function of what befalls them: if our minds draw an association between a victim and ourselves — even a relatively trivial one — the compassion we feel for his or her suffering is amplified greatly.
What does this mean for cultivating compassion in society? It means that effortful adherence to religious or philosophical dictums (often requiring meditation, prayer or moral education), though clearly valuable and capable of producing results, is not the only way to go. There is nothing special about tapping in synchrony; any such commonality will do. Increased compassion for one’s neighbor, for instance, can come from something as easy as encouraging yourself to think of him as (say) a fan of the same local restaurant instead of as a member of a different ethnicity.
Simply learning to mentally recategorize one another in terms of commonalities would generate greater empathy among all of us — and foster social harmony in a fairly effortless way.
It doesn’t take much to connect to another human being, and even these trivial commonalities are enough to instill altruism and harmony. Fascinating.
Gordon Allport, The Nature of Prejudice, 1958 (via theprebby)
Neither good or evil emerge entirely in a vacuum. How respond to it, or how we shape it as a society, matters just as much. We are the products of both nature and nurture.
Here’s a story for Springsteen’s next ballad: A roofer in New Jersey took a dangerous dive into a vat of acid to save a coworker who had just fallen through a roof into the tank 40 feet below.
Immediately after the first guy tumbled through the top of the Swepco Tube plant, his hero buddy jumped to follow him into the container, where a solution comprised of 40 to 70 percent nitric acid awaited him. He stood waist-high in the liquid as he and three other men pulled their peer to safety. The victim was completely submerged in acid. He’s suffered burns from head to toe; his state is unknown, but other employees said they don’t think it’s enough to kill him. His savior also sustained burns from the waist down, and is in serious condition. Neither man has been identified, and OSHA is investigating.
Interestingly enough, the steam and mist from the vat of acid was the reason the roof needed to be repaired in the first place.
I wonder if I would’ve done the same, given my fear of death. I care deeply about people. But what would happen if that concern were to come at the cost of my life?
God was finally going to believe
in a man both good and strong,
but good and strong
are still two different men.
Wisława Szymborska, “Our Century’s Decline”