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Inspiration: Essays & Musings

Burnt Flower Soup

Burnt Flower Soup

Twice a month the peaceCENTER has an evening potluck/staff meeting/re-centering and Narjis brings a crockpot of homemade soup, often made with produce from her community garden. "What is it this time?" I asked her, greedily. "Burnt flower soup -- an old Swiss recipe,...

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Compassion And The Not-So-Middle Class

Compassion And The Not-So-Middle Class

NYT columnist / Princeton economist Paul Krugman recently wrote about the middle class in a way that has relevance to compassion. The vast majority of people in the US — 91% according to a Pew Research poll — identify themselves as being middle class, he wrote. The...

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My Heart Grew Three Sizes

My Heart Grew Three Sizes

Guest Post by Susan Smylie I attended a Compassion San Antonio event today, Musical Bridges Around the World Amal concert, a lovely performance by two concert pianists from Israel and Palestine, Bishara Haroni and Yaron Kohlberg. Before the concert began, the Charter...

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Pete and Re-Pete After Me

Pete and Re-Pete After Me

My hero, the folksinger and activist Pete Seeger, died yesterday at the age of 94. Here's an example of his subversive attraction: I first learned his songs at Girl Scout camp, when I was 10. Songs about peace, about civil rights, about the dignity of labor. Songs...

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Tube or telescope?

Tube or telescope?

These two quotations seem to go together somehow. Jane Goodall, the anthropologist, using the analogy of a rolled up newspaper, a tube, to explain the limitations of our vision. And then Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the Astrophysicist, whose world is expanded by looking...

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Moral Dilemma: Right, Wrong, and Trolleyology

Moral Dilemma: Right, Wrong, and Trolleyology

Let's assume we all want to do the right thing. We want to be fair, compassionate, honest ... I think that description fits most of my friends. But it's not always easy or clear-cut. Social scientists study things like that, and it even has a name: trolleyology....

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Let’s Go Eat

Let’s Go Eat

I look forward to my weekly e-mail from Interfaith Paths to Peace, in Louisville, Kentucky, which includes a three-minute weekly insight from Spirituality U. (And how cool is that? Three minutes. Spiritual insight. Spirituality U.) This week's insight from director...

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The Common Good

The Common Good

A few weeks ago I spoke to a couple of sessions of a sociology class at St. Mary's University. My assigned topic was "the common good," one of the underlying principles of the Charter for Compassion. St. Mary's is a Catholic University (but you guessed that, didn't...

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Are you WEIRD? I Am.

Are you WEIRD? I Am.

At our weekly Compassionate Life book study on Monday we speculated about how we know what we know. And what we don't know. And what we don't know we don't know. It got deep. I'm intrigued by what we don't know we don't know. You know what I mean: those mentifacts and...

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Drive-by Kindness

Drive-by Kindness

I'm feeling curmudgeonly this morning. The New York Times recently ran an article about paying it forward. [read it here.] The contemporary trend started with a 1999 book and movie by Catherine Ryan Hyde. It's the moral opposite of paying back, or getting revenge. In...

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