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Happy cows are happy

For those of you trapped in frigid climes, here is a vision of spring to look forward to: Happy Cows [more inside]
posted by jammy on Feb 15, 2014 - 18 comments

conspiracy of kindness

A Japanese Holocaust rescuer, it is estimated that Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat who served as Vice-Consul for the Empire of Japan in Lithuania in WWII, facilitated the escape of more than 6,000 Jewish refugees to Japanese territory, risking his career and his family's lives. The profoundly moving story is now on YouTube: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Jan 4, 2014 - 9 comments

What is the best way to ease someone's pain and suffering?

Why is empathy different from sympathy? Because the truth is, rarely, can a response make something better. What makes something better is connection. [more inside]
posted by jammy on Dec 12, 2013 - 13 comments

"We just choose to be present."

In 1986, Sandra Clarke was working as a staff nurse at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene, OR when a dying man asked her to sit with him. She agreed but first needed to make her rounds and the man died alone in his room before she was able to return. Troubled, and feeling that she had failed a patient, she resolved to gather volunteers to stay with those who were alone and close to death. Ms. Clarke enlisted her entire hospital for a bedside vigil system to help ensure that patients would not be alone when they died. In 2001, Sacred Heart formalized the program as No One Dies Alone (NODA) and over the last decade, it has spread to hospitals across the US. "Susan Cox Is No Longer Here" offers us a glimpse into the NODA experience in Indianapolis. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 7, 2013 - 23 comments

A Wanker Whipping Up Fear

In May of 2010, Michael D. Higgins (now President of Ireland) had an exchange on an Irish radio station with Tea Party supporter Michael Graham, about the state of politics in the United States. [more inside]
posted by gman on Aug 26, 2012 - 40 comments

Doing God's Work Is Better Than Just Mouthing God's Word

The letter of the day at the Savage Love blog tells a story of cruel abandonment, and provokes an outpouring of love in response.
posted by Ipsifendus on May 18, 2012 - 48 comments

The Power of Compassion

The power of compassion.
posted by eggtooth on Oct 8, 2011 - 11 comments

Happy Easter, bunny!

Just in time for Easter, Simon's Cat meets a bunny.
posted by tomswift on Apr 23, 2011 - 28 comments

Mensch

"A desperate Arizona man faced with a horrible family tragedy is praising a Southwest Airlines pilot today for displaying an act of human kindness some say is rare in the airline industry: he delayed a takeoff so the man could reach the bedside of his dying 2-year old grandson." Via. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 14, 2011 - 84 comments

A Model for the Rest of Us

The AP reports that the drug policy in Portugal is paying off.
posted by gman on Dec 27, 2010 - 39 comments

Irreducible Human Dignity

Need a little political philosophy? Why not try this conversation on economics, the human person and democracy between conservative Catholic legal scholar Robert George and the always fascinating African-American studies professor and philosopher Cornel West? [more inside]
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Dec 15, 2010 - 8 comments

Hoy por ti, mañana por mí.

"Today you.... tomorrow me." Have you ever picked up a hitch-hiker? A redditor shares a moving story. [more inside]
posted by papafrita on Dec 14, 2010 - 71 comments

Human Stories From Prison

"Between the Bars is a weblog platform for prisoners, through which the 1% of America which is behind bars can tell their stories. Since prisoners are routinely denied access to the Internet, we enable them to blog by scanning letters. We aim to provide a positive outlet for creativity, a tool to assist in the maintenance of social safety nets, an opportunity to forge connections between prisoners and non-prisoners, and a means to promote non-criminal identities and personal expression. We hope to improve prisoner's lives, and help to reduce recidivism." [more inside]
posted by gman on Nov 6, 2010 - 22 comments

The Dalai Lama at Stanford

The Dalai Lama on changing minds only through compassion and respect. He spent several days at Stanford recently, and this session focuses on the neuroscience of compassion. Watch it in full here.
posted by philipy on Oct 21, 2010 - 56 comments

“I have a theory about the human mind. A brain is a lot like a computer. It will only take so many facts, and then it will go on overload and blow up.”

Compassion Fatigue. In addition to not being equipped to multitask or deal with information overload, we sometimes feel too much; sometimes by just watching the news. How to develop your empathic discernment.
posted by Brent Parker on Jun 8, 2010 - 22 comments

'It seemed like the right thing to do'

When Raymond Dunn, Jr. was born in 1975, he had a fractured skull, an undersized brain, and severe developmental disabilities due to a lack of oxygen. He was not expected to survive his first year. [more inside]
posted by toodleydoodley on Apr 19, 2010 - 63 comments

GivesMeHope: For Those "Exhausted by the Negativity of the Mainstream Media"

GivesMeHope (RSS), a site for those "completely exhausted by the negativity of the mainstream media." Modeled after their polar opposite, Fuck My Life, the site serves as a source for sometimes glurgy, but much more often touching, 350-character stories that can serve to remind that "the world is a fine place and worth fighting for." The Top 10, as voted by readers, are enough to melt hearts of stone. Oh, and The Office's Dwight thinks it's "awesome". [more inside]
posted by WCityMike on Sep 19, 2009 - 64 comments

Craniosynostosis in the Middle Pleistocene

Deformed skull of prehistoric child suggests that early humans cared for disabled children.
posted by homunculus on Apr 3, 2009 - 54 comments

Compassionate Canada.

Canada is a desired location for Guantanamo Bay detainees. The Canadian Council for Refugees has profiles (pdf) up for some of the people they are helping.
posted by gman on Feb 10, 2009 - 26 comments

Love Thy Neighbor: Why Have We Become So Suspicious Of Kindness?

Love Thy Neighbor: Why Have We Become So Suspicious Of Kindness? Most people, as they grow up now, secretly believe that kindness is a virtue of losers. But agreeing to talk about winners and losers is part and parcel of the phobic avoidance, the contemporary terror, of kindness. Because one of the things the enemies of kindness never ask themselves - and this is now an enemy within all of us - is why we feel it at all. Why are we ever, in any way, moved to be kind to other people, not to mention to ourselves? Why does kindness matter to us?
posted by jason's_planet on Jan 3, 2009 - 71 comments

Novels 'better at explaining world's problems than reports'

Novels are 'better at explaining world's problems than reports'. According to the study "The Fiction of Development: Literary Representation as a Source of Authoritative Knowledge" (HTML or PDF), people should read best-selling novels like The Kite Runner and The White Tiger rather than academic reports if they really want to understand global issues, such as poverty, migration and other issues. [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Nov 13, 2008 - 60 comments

The Feminine side of Buddhism

As in most religions, Buddhism's pantheon of deities and saints has been male dominated. The preeminent exception to this is Kuan Yin, the goddess of compassion, also called Guan Yin or Kannon. She is the female form of the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara, who underwent a gender shift after being popularized in China. She has inspired amazing forms of worship. [more inside]
posted by desjardins on Sep 12, 2008 - 15 comments

MettaFilter

"Attention regulation and monitoring in meditation" (PDF). A recent article in Trends in Cognitive Sciences on the neuroscience of meditation, focusing on how meditation alters and sharpens the brain's attention systems. The research is being done at the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior (previously), who have also recently published research on the "Regulation of the neural circuitry of emotion by compassion meditation" (PDF), which describes how meditation can cultivate compassion by physically affecting brain regions that play a role in empathy. They shared this research with the Dalai Lama at the recent Seeds of Compassion forum.
posted by homunculus on Apr 27, 2008 - 13 comments

how to talk to a friend with cancer

How to talk to a friend with cancer, Time interview. Author of the excellent, Help Me Live: 20 Things People With Cancer Want You to Know [now a free, readable online Google book], Lori Hope, also lectures on compassionate communication and blogs for the practical and supportive CarePages.com, "free, personal websites that connect family and friends during illness and injury. Top 10 Dos and Don'ts.
posted by nickyskye on Dec 16, 2007 - 34 comments

Cats and War

What Cats Know About War. A reporter adopts cats to reconnect with life amid unremitting death. [Via linkfilter.] [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Oct 14, 2007 - 30 comments

Many of World’s Poor Suffer in Pain

Drugs Banned, Many of World’s Poor Suffer in Pain "Millions of people die in pain because they cannot get morphine, which is legal for medical use in most nations." [Via TalkLeft.]
posted by homunculus on Sep 10, 2007 - 47 comments

Pain Management as a Human Right

Recognizing Pain Management as a Fundamental Human Right. These pieces from the journal of the International Anesthesia Research Society argue that under-treated chronic pain is becoming a public health crisis which must be addressed. But a warning to pain doctors in the U.S. who prescribe opioids in doses that seem high to narcotics agents and prosecutors: “Be afraid.” [Via Hit & Run and TalkLeft.]
posted by homunculus on Jul 8, 2007 - 69 comments

Darfur/Darfur Exhibit

"I couldn't face the prospect of my child growing up and asking me, years later, what I had done, and having to say: 'Nothing.'" Last spring Leslie Thomas, a Chicago-based architect, read a story detailing the fallout of hostilities between the Sudanese government and the rebels -- more than 200,000 dead, 2.5 million made homeless -- and decided to put together DARFUR/DARFUR: a traveling exhibit of digitally-projected changing images. The goal: to raise $1m with at least 24 venues in 24 months. The photographs have been taken in Darfur by photojournalists Lynsey Addario, Mark Brecke, Helene Caux, VII's Ron Haviv, Magnum Photos's Paolo Pellegrin, Ryan Spencer Reed, Michal Safdie, and former U.S. Marine Brian Steidle. On a sidenote, Pellegrin has just been awarded the W. Eugene Smith Grant.
posted by matteo on Nov 2, 2006 - 13 comments

For Boston's Catholic Archdiocese, kids in state care are better than kids "living in sin" with gay adoptive parents

'This is a difficult and sad day for Catholic Charities," says a representative of the church, who announced their decision to stop helping all foster children find homes rather than allow any of them be adopted by gay parents. After one hundred three years of service, Catholic Charities of Boston is exiting the adoption assistance arena because state anti-discrimination laws force them to allow same-sex couples to adopt children (despite the fact that the church considers this to be a sin).

While adoptions in progress will not be affected, on or about June 30, the group that proffers a "just and compassionate society rooted in the dignity of all people" will make chrystal clear who is included in that definition of "all." (Of the 720 children placed in homes through CCAB, 13 of them were placed with "same-sex families" [sic].)
posted by andreaazure on Mar 11, 2006 - 98 comments

The Mercy Seat. Mapping out a Multifaceted Iconography.

The Mercy Seat. Described in the book of Exodus, the throne of mercy has quite a variety of meanings. Some contemporary Christians are interested in "reconstructing" an image based on Egyptian and Phoenician culture. In Judaism, the kisei rachamim is part of the narrative of Yom Kippur, as God moves from the seat of justice to the seat of compassion. In medieval Europe, and especially in Germany, the Gnadenstuhl was a perfect representation of the trinity, combining the cruxification, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit (usually a bird), into one image of mournful compassion. Nick Cave used the idea of the mercy seat as the frame for a song about murder, sin, capital punishment, and atonement/redemption, which was later covered by Johnny Cash (mp3 clip). The chair of mercy is even visually alluded to Jodorowsky's Montana Sacra, aka Holy Mountain. (Which have been inspired in part by the Ascended Masters of Mount Shasta, but that's technically another story - the bizarro California cultists story.)
posted by jann on Mar 3, 2006 - 25 comments

Meditation and neuroplasticity

Meditation and neuroplasticity. A new study (PDF) describes the changes in the brains of Buddhist monks, using fMRI to scan their brains while they practice compassion meditation. The project was a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin and the Shechen Monastery in Nepal.
posted by homunculus on Nov 16, 2004 - 17 comments

Hubert Selby, Jr (1928-2004)

"Hubert Selby died often. But he always came back, smiling that beautiful smile of his, and those blue eyes of his... This time he will not be back. My saints have always come from hell, and now, with his passing, there are no more saints". Selby is the author of Last Exit to Brooklyn, (tried for obscenity in England and supported by, among many others, Samuel Beckett and Anthony Burgess), Requiem For a Dream, Song of the Silent Snow. He is being eulogized in the USA and UK, but also, massively (I've just watched a fantastic TV special) in France, where he is much more popular than in his native land (Selby's death was the cover story -- plus pages 2, 3 and 4 -- in the daily Libération today -- .pdf file): Dernière sortie vers la rédemption, L'extase de la dévastation. What makes all this kind of ironic -- in a very Selbyesque way -- is that Selby himself used to say, "I started to die 36 hours before I was born..." (more inside)
posted by matteo on Apr 28, 2004 - 16 comments

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