The Age of Empathy

The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society by Frans de Waal

BF 575 .E55 W3 2009

“Are we our brothers’ keepers?  Do we have an instinct for compassion?  Or are we, as is often assumed, only on earth to serve our own survival and interests?  Int his thought-provoking book, the acclaimed author of Our Inner Ape examines how empathy comes naturally to a great variety of animals, including humans.

By studying social behaviors in animals, such as bonding, the herd instinct, the forming of trusting alliances, expressions of consolation, and conflict resolution, Frans de Waal demonstrates that animals – and humans – are ‘preprogrammed to reach out.’  He has found that chimpanzees care for mates that are wounded by leopards, elephants offer ‘reassuring rumbles’ to youngsters in distress, and dolphins support sick companions near the water’s surface to prevent them from drowning.  From day one humans have innate sensitivities to faces, bodies, and voices; we’ve been designed to feel for one another.” — book jacket

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