Let's talk about what makes us humane. Plato compared the human soul to a chariot: the intellect is the driver and the emotions are the horses. Life is a continual struggle to keep the emotions under control.


 But, is there any evidence, any scientific proof, indeed there is; take the loose association of glands, organs, and cardiovascular and respiratory systems known as the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS plays a primary role in regulating our blood flow and breathing patterns for different kinds of actions. For example, when we feel threatened, our heart and breathing rates usually increase, preparing us either to confront or flee from the threat—the so-called “fight or flight” response. 


 What is the ANS profile of compassion? As it turns out, when young children and adults feel compassion for others, this emotion is reflected in very real physiological changes: Their heart rate goes down from baseline levels, which prepares them not to fight or flee, but to approach and sooth. I was amazed by what I read in this link,


 The hormone oxytocin floats through the bloodstream. Research performed on the small, stocky rodents known as prairie voles indicates that oxytocin promotes long-term bonds and commitments, as well as the kind of nurturing behavior—like care for offspring—that lies at the heart of compassion. It may account for that overwhelming feeling of warmth and connection we feel toward our offspring or loved ones. Indeed, breastfeeding and massages elevate oxytocin levels in the blood (as does eating chocolate). We really won't be human without it.


 If you have grown up in a family that does not value compassion, the chances are that you will have a very harsh internal judge that tells you that you are weak and stupid for feeling emotional. Yet the reality is that it is compassion that makes us emotionally strong, when we or others we love are suffering.


 Opening ourselves up to emotional warmth generates compassion and intimacy. If we can be warm with ourselves that warmth will flow into others. Take a few moments to breathe in a sense of wellbeing. Imagine a crest of glowing light flowing through your body on the wave of your breath. Then breathe this warmth back out into the world, imagining it enveloping all those around you. One must read Paul Gilbert's, 'Compassion' for more ways to build a foundation of compassion in one's life.


 Are you familiar with the term skin hunger? Just as lack of food, water, and rest have their detrimental effects, so too does the lack of affection in other words, skin hunger and how it affects the social, relational, and health deficits.


 Humaneness may make you seem weak, naïve or somehow less capable but don't be  tempted to suppress this core strength. Humaneness isn't 'wimpish' behaviour. Being compassionate does not mean as, one person said to me, "having tire tracks all across your face!" Kindness is consideration of another and oneself at the same time. Kindness involves awareness of oneself, others, and of opportunities to be kind. 


 Humane education can play a very crucial role in creating a compassionate and caring society which would take benign responsibility for ourselves, each other, our fellow animals and the earth. It has the potential to spur the development of empathy and compassion. Empathy is believed to be the critical element often missing in society today and the underlying reason for callous, neglectful and violent behavior.Matthieu Ricard, the author of the book ‘Happiness – A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill’ states:"It is only by the constant cultivation of wisdom and compassion that we can really become the guardians and inheritors of happiness."



 The world today is experiencing an unprecedented crisis of morals and values. At the same time, there is increasing recognition of the serious impact the destructive and self-obsessive nature of mankind is having on the environment, social relationships and global harmony. In reality, these problems must be tackled at its source, by beginning the process that will teach children - the citizens of tomorrow – an ethical perspective and a personal sense of responsibility, coupled with a compassionate and caring attitude towards others, animals and the environment. The best conclusion for this article would be in the words of Albert Schweitzer, "I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve."


~Submitted by Veena



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  •  Veena: 
    Thanks Wey,
    Umm no dear, I've no idea if oxytocin has been synthesized or not but I was amazed what oxytocin does to our body.
    1 point
  •  WeylonElliott: 
    Very nice article Veena, thank you for submitting. I hope we may create and support humane bonds here at askerspick. Do you know if oxytocin has been synthesized?
    2 points
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