Why do some people reach out to help others when they see suffering and pain, while others, who are often in a position to help, choose not to? And how does compassion affect our bodies and brains? These are the types of questions that led Dr James Doty to a life of scientific research into compassion and altruism. One of his first findings was that compassion is innate in all humans.
Fundamentally being compassionate or caring for others is actually our default mode and that often times especially in modern society we get distracted from who we really are.
Dr Doty says that for many of us the true nature of reality is blurred by judgements, beliefs and biases but when we realise our connection to others and recognise that everyone suffers then our capacity for compassion increases. Unfortunately though, modern society has evolved exponentially faster than our ability as species to evolve to respond to it.
In modern society you have these chronic release at low levels of hormones or proteins that are deleterious to your health.
As a result many of us are in a constant state of stress and anxiety reducing our capacity for compassion.
Listen here to what Dr James Doty has learned about compassion and its effect on the human brain and body.
About Our Guest:
Dr James R. Doty is a clinical professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford University, and the Director of the Centre for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. He is the author of Into The Magic: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart.
Watch the premiere of the new UPLIFT film, Building Compassion, on The International Day of Peace, September 21. The film shares cutting-edge research into the neurology and cultural practices of compassion and features interviews with a range of experts including Dr James Doty, Saamdu Chetri, Dr. David Vago, Scarlett Lewis and many more. Building Compassion explores how compassion is key to understanding what it is to be truly human and to creating a loving world.