In a previous post, The Loss of Compassion: The Gray Wave—Part 1, I used this definition of compassion: a “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.” People without the compassion gene stand out; there’s something missing. I saw it all the time in prison in the interaction between staff and inmates and between inmates themselves.… Read the rest
What is compassion? We use the word a lot, but what does it mean? Isn’t this human emotion wired in the womb? You know compassion when you feel it—you feel a vacuum when it’s withheld.
I was fifty-four in 2003 when I entered the California prison system. I estimate that the mean age was about half my age. Other men about my age were there, a lot of them were doing time for aggravated drunk driving, domestic abuse, and drug manufacturing. There were many first-timers and a fair number of long-timers.… Read the rest