Updated: Jun 26, 2019
From politics to health care to economics, a rising movement is calling for compassion as a remedy for systems on the brink.
The July 2019 edition of MACLEAN'S magazine calls on us all to join the compassion revolution that is being lead by people in communities everywhere who know that:
only light casts out darkness;
the "invisible hand of greed" won't work all things out for good;
no matter how cold hearts are disguised, actions motivated by envy & covetousness cannot build community; and,
we need each other to solve the problems arrayed before us.
The "might is right" & "it's business, not personal" ethos, has borne its poisoned fruit. Toxic workplaces, toxic churches, toxic schools, toxic health care, toxic communities and a poverty of leadership abound. Championed by corporate business and unethical individuals as a way to divorce social responsibility from commercial activity, this ideology spread and captured the imagination of anyone who wanted to shirk their responsibility to family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, community, the environment and future generations.
Today, doctors and scientists are proving what we have always known, that in the long run abusive, heartless, slanderous, treacherous, reckless, and selfish behaviour don't satisfy the perpetrator and eventually, if allowed to spread, undermine the whole community, economy and environment.
The 80-year Harvard Happiness Project has just proven that in the end, the only thing leads to human well-being is not money, fame or power, neither how successful you are at "getting your way", rather it is deep meaningful and lasting relationships built on trust, mutual understanding and love.
While random acts of kindness are sweet, it is actually long-term meaningful relationships with others -- those founded on trust, respect, sacrifice, honesty and compassion -- where the real gold is located. No escaping the Golden Rule: "treat others as you wish to be treated."
James Doty, founder of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, is a medical doctor and professor of neuroscience. He links a societal lack of compassion to a slew of ills, personal and political—epidemic levels of stress, anxiety and depression, bullying, crime, growing wealth and health inequality, more children growing up in poverty.
WARNING: the compassion revolution is not for "nice" people. It's not for you just because you volunteer. It's not for you because you think you're spiritual or religious or because you do yoga or you're vegan. It's not for you because you care about the environment. It's not for you because you work in the caring profession. You can do all those things without compassion and for all of the wrong reasons.
Love is the Greatest Civic Virtue
The compassion revolution is a heart revolution. It is for people of courage who are prepared to stand up and speak up in the face of injustice, bullying or abuse of power.
Newsflash: Joining the compassion revolution will not make you popular. You will offend and anger dark and corrupt systems. You will disrupt unjust power bases and systems of entitlement. You will interrupt individuals who think the ethical thing is what they "can get away with", not what is good, true or right.
Compassion is different then empathy. Compassion requires action and sacrifice -- out of love for others, love for justice, love for community.
The compassion revolution is inspired by a vision of a world where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. It is a vision that seeks the well-being of all, including animals and the planet. It is the ultimate public servant ethos. It is part and parcel of the ongoing democratic revolution.
Save Your City: How Toxic Culture Kills Community & What To Do About It is available in two editions:
(published by Municipal World)
PRAISE FOR SAVE YOUR CITY
"Save Your City is an inspired and powerful must-read. Our democracy is in peril and this book delivers the right message, by the right person, at the right time."
-- IRA BASEN, CBC Radio
"Save Your City is an absolute must-read for community builders. Diane Kalen-Sukra masterfully enlightens the challenges of modern governance with the wisdom of classical antiquity to address our increasingly uncivil society."
-- GEORGE B. CUFF, FCMC, author, consultant, past president Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM)
"For the love of community, read Save Your City. You will be taken on a journey that awakens your heart and our collective hope for a sustainable future."
-- SAM CHAISE, executive director, Christie Refugee Welcome Centre (Toronto), former executive director Canadian Baptist Ministries
"I applaud Diane Kalen-Sukra for devising a blueprint for community change. Every community leader should read Save Your City -- pen in hand -- and then emphatically implement the strategies in detail."
-- DR. LEW BAYER, CEO Civility Experts Worldwide Inc. (international civility expert)