Today in Goodness

Quick hits on the goodness trail.

Economist and writer Jeremy Rifkin charts one path to a good society. Here’s more from Rifkin on the empathic civilization.

Joe Brewer, the director of Cognitive Policy Works, discusses new research showing that we literally feel our way to morality, and that our emotions rule our political decisions. The emotion of disgust is so powerful, he says, that politicos who understand it can manipulate entire populations.

(I)f you ever hear an assertion that people are rational actors who reason their way to conclusions, remember this powerful ability of disgust to stand in for reason and compel action.

Bringing morality to Wall Street and the world of economics is on a lot of people’s minds from the Christian Science Monitor to professors at Florida State University.

Notre Dame Professor Darcia Narvaez ponders the morality of watering trees.

And finally, chef and TV host Anthony Bourdain discusses vegetarians, travel and good vs. evil.

Something else fundamental I learned, which really changed me, came from sitting down to dinner with very nice people who have done very bad things. I spent a lovely afternoon mushrooming and eating lunch with the former head of counterintelligence for the KGB, a guy who’d sent his former friends and colleagues back to Russia to be executed when he found out they were working for us. I sat down with head hunters under a bunch of human heads, they had little tattooed rings on their fingers, proud reminders of the heads they’d taken—nicest folks in the world. That’s confusing.

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