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The core of compassion

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I believe there is no act so heinous that we couldn’t understand it if we could just truly know the person who committed it. If we could witness their childhood traumas, understand their genetic makeup, and immerse ourselves in their cultures and worldviews, we could understand the rationale for basically anything. It wouldn’t justify those actions, but it would explain them. To me, this is the core of compassion

We can apply this same compassion to humanity itself. 

If we could just go all the way back through history, better understand our origins, our primate ancestors, our genetic makeup, and all the reasons why our cultures developed the way they did, even our darkest moments would make sense. All of the beliefs and behaviors we now deem so vile and unforgivable would seem not only reasonable, but perhaps inevitable, perhaps even necessary steps in our growth.


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Peter Schulte

Peter Schulte is the founder and editor of Kindling. Peter is also Senior Digital Engagement Associate for the Pacific Institute and the UN Global Compact's CEO Water Mandate, connecting businesses to sustainable water practices. Peter holds a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from University of California, Berkeley, and an M.B.A. in Sustainable Systems from Pinchot University. He lives in Bellingham, WA, USA with his wife, son, and cat.

1 comment

  1. Zoe Donovan

    Indeed. Thank you Peter for your words and your work for humanity. I too have felt this sort of deep compassion for all. Even Hitler himself was once a five-year old and completely impressionable and thoroughly influenced by his environment.

    Thank you for bringing attention to this!!

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