In response to the Epicureans, the stoic philosopher Seneca said, “No one can live a happy life if he turns everything to his own purposes.  Live for others if you want to live for yourself.”  Psychoanalyst Adam Phillips and historian Barbara Taylor trace the origins, evolution, and psychology of benevolent human interaction in On Kindness (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $20).  Chapters explore the earliest arguments for and against it, from ancient and Renaissance writers to Hobbes’s defense of individualism in Leviathan and the rebuttals from Rousseau and Hume.  The psychological root of the conflict between self-interest and the regard for others is traced from the mother/child relationship through puberty and the search for love and safety.  Insightful and erudite, On Kindness shows that the all-too-common, modern condition of disconnectedness is neither beneficial nor inevitable.

On Kindness Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312429744
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Picador - June 22nd, 2010

After decades of animal research and social theories predicated on notions of competition and “survival of the fittest,” the primatologist Frans de Waal is part of a growing tide of biologists turning attention to the aspects of behavior in humans and animals that strengthen bonds between individuals. It’s now The Age Of Empathy (Harmony Books, $25.99) and time to study not aggression, but social mechanisms like the herd instinct and conflict resolution that keep it in check. In looking beyond the selfish gene to the equally ancient instinct for altruism, de Waal presents dozens of case studies and anecdotes of chimps, apes, elephants, ravens, dolphins, and people who have demonstrated trust in others or helped each other regardless of whether they themselves stood to benefit. De Waal strongly believes in community and his observations demonstrate that the successful evolution of any species depends to a high degree on cooperation.

The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307407771
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Crown - September 7th, 2010