Compassionate Reasoning

It is out and Oxford and Amazon are keeping the price below $35. From the Introduction: “This book, more than any of my other books, centers on the creation of a new idea and a new approach to thinking, feeling, and doing that might help transform human relations for the better. I have encapsulated that in the phrase “Compassionate Reasoning” which is founded upon an exploration of and devotion to compassion as one of the most amazing and important emotions and ethical principles that brings healing and hope to human relations. The “reasoning” part rests on the importance for human reasoning, and moral reasoning in particular, as it is expressed and described over the centuries in at least five different approaches to virtue and moral decision-making. I have asked myself how I can acknowledge the roots of this journey toward this new idea and combination of skills and practices. When did I begin my love for these strands of feeling and thinking, and who influenced me? Who do I acknowledge for making me want to figure out how to be more of a “compassionate reasoner”? I have to begin that journey with my Jewish grandmothers, European immigrants, neither of whom had any schooling, one of them having a very, very hard life of poverty, both speaking an English that was heavily mixed with Yiddish. All I know from my earliest memory was what they did with words. Both generously would offer blessings of good fortune, of health, of happiness at every meeting in a mixture of Yiddish, English, and Hebrew. As they showered me with these blessings, they would look at me as if I was a precious gift to this world. Both uttered a simple phrase from time to time as they spoke to me in ways I could barely understand, but they said “Hott Rachmanus,” “Have Compassion.” And I heard them deeply. They would use the phrase plaintively. They tilted their heads slightly to the side as they uttered these words, their eyes glistening with kindness, and it was usually a request to have compassion on someone who was suffering. It is my earliest and most enduring memory of them and other elders when I was a small child. I learned two things from them: the centrality of compassion for the meaning of life on this earth, and the power of positive words like blessings to transform us, to have power and reality, to change everything.” See more at Oxford here.

© Marc Gopin