Frans de Waal "The Age Of Empathy"

"Nature's lessons for a kinder society"


copyright 2009


Tsitaadid, mis otsustasin kirja panna:


Whatever we now think of the ethics of Harlow's research, he proved beyond any doubt that deprivation of body contact is not something that suits mammals. With time, this kind of research changed the tide and helped improve the fate of human orphans. lk 13


Bonding is essential to our species, and it is what makes us happiest. lk 13


Rather than money, success or fame, time spent with friends and family is what does people the most good. lk 14


I rate humans among the most agressive of primates but also believe that we're masters at connecting and that social ties constrain competition. In other words, we are by no means obligatorily aggressive. It's all a matter of balance. Pure, unconditional trust and cooperation are naive and detrimental, whereas unconstrained greed can only lead to the sort of dog-eat-dog world that Skilling advocated at Enron until it collapsed under its own mean-spirited weight. lk 45


Remarkably, children with autism are immune to the yawns of others, thus highlighting the social disconnect that defines their conditon. lk 52


People who are perfectly attached and sensitive in one context may act like monsters on another. lk 81


Empathy is the process by which we gather information about someone else. Sympathy, in contrast, reflects concern about the other and a desire to improve the other's situation. lk 88


People who fail to look beyond their own preferences ignore millions of years of evolution that have pushed our species to ever better perspective-taking. lk 109


Our species is definitely the planet's greatest narcissist. lk 139


Every monkey lives in its own little bubble. lk 143 (Siin on mõeldud seda, et sabaga ahv ehk pärdik (monkey) ei oma empaatiavõimet nagu omab inimahv (ape). Mul tekkis kohe assotsiatsioon, et mõni inimene on justkui pärdikuks degradeerunud.)


We genuinely care about others, wanting to see them happy and healthy regardless of what immediate good this may do for us. We evolved to be this way because, on average and in the long run, it served our ancestors. lk 184


On the one hand I felt that the United States was less fair than what I was used to, but on the other hand it was more fair. I saw people living in the kind of poverty that I knew only from the third world. How could the richest nation in the world permit this? It became worse for me when I discovered that poor kids go to poor schools and rich kids to rich schools. /---/ This contrasts with my own experience, in which all children shared the same school regardless of their background. /---/ Europe is a more livable place. It lacks the giant, nearly illiterate underclass of the United States, which lives on food stamps and relies on hospital emergency rooms for its health care. But Europe also has less of an incentive stucture, resulting in a lower motivation for the unemployed to get jobs or for people to start a business. /---/ U.S. life expectancy now ranks below that of at least forty other nations. lk 196-197


Of the ideals of the French Revolution - liberty, equality, and fraternity - Americans will keep emphasizing the first and Europeans the second, but only the third speaks of inclusion, trust, and community. Morally speaking, fraternity is probably the noblest of the three and impossible to achieve without attention to both others. lk 198


Nations think they are superior to their neighbors, and religions think they own the truth. lk 204


The lives of strangers are often considered worthless. Asked why he never talked about the number of civilians killed in the Iraq War, U.S. defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld answered: "Well, we don't do body counts on other people." Empathy for "other people" is the one commodity the world is lacking more than oil. lk 204


They saw themselves as created in God's image and as the only intelligent life on earth. Even today, we're so convinced of this that we search for other such life by training powerful telescopes on distant galaxies. lk 206


Mencius is unimpressed by the king's pity for the ox, telling him that he seems as much concerned with his own tender feelings as the animal's fate: "You saw the ox, and had not seen the sheep. So is the superior man affected towards animals, that, having seen them alive, he cannot bear to see them die; having heard their dying cries, he cannot bear to eat their flesh. Therefore he keeps away from his slaughter-house and cook-room." We care more about what we see firsthand than about what remains out of sight. lk 220-221


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