Power and Care
Toward Balance for Our Common Future—Science, Society, and Spirituality
Leading thinkers from a range of disciplines discuss the compatibility of power and care, in conversation with the Dalai Lama.
For more than thirty years, the Dalai Lama has been in dialogue with thinkers from a range of disciplines, helping to support pathways for knowledge to increase human wellbeing and compassion. These conversations, which began as private meetings, are now part of the Mind & Life Institute and Mind & Life Europe. This book documents a recent Mind & Life Institute dialogue with the Dalai Lama and others on two fundamental forces: power and care—power over and care for others in human societies.
The notion of power is essentially neutral; power can be used to benefit others or to harm them, to build or to destroy. Care, on the other hand, is not a neutral force; it aims at increasing the wellbeing of others. Power and care are not incompatible: power, imbued with care, can achieve more than a powerless motivation to care; power, without the intention to benefit others, can be ruthless. The contributors—who include such celebrated figures as Frans B. M. de Waal, Olafur Eliasson, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, and Jody Williams—discuss topics including the interaction of power and care among our closest relatives, the chimpanzees; the effect of meditation and mental training practices on the brain; the role of religion in promoting peace and compassion; and the new field of Caring Economics.
Paul Collier, Brother Thierry-Marie Courau, Frans B. M. de Waal, Olafur Eliasson, Scilla Elworthy, Alexandra M. Freund, Tenzin Gyatso (His Holiness the Dalai Lama), Markus Heinrichs, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, Frédéric Laloux, Alaa Murabit, Matthieu Ricard, Johan Rockström, Richard Schwartz, Tania Singer, Dennis J. Snower, Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp, Theo Sowa, Pauline Tangiora, Jody Williams
At a time when humanity is rethinking the very nature of our being, this book is a powerful reminder of an age-old truth—that our most important quality is our innate ability to empathize with and show compassion to our fellow human beings and fellow creatures that cohabit this small oasis in the universe.
Jeremy Rifkin, Author of The Empathic Civilization
Meditation or prayer alone cannot solve the problems we face on our planet. We must act. This book offers valuable insights on the powers at play, especially with regard to power and care, and how we can—through education and the cultivation of our inner values—effect change for the benefit of all sentient beings.
From the natural sciences to psychology and from economics to the contemplative traditions, this remarkable volume will prove far-reaching as it strives to bridge the divide between the power inherent in scientific knowledge and the care we must extend to each other and our beleaguered planet if humanity is to flourish in the decades ahead.
Those who are interested in how Buddhist principles and the science of compassion and power overlap—or what a spiritual leader might contribute to scientific thinking—will find it an entertaining read. The book provides at least some idea of how we might find a way to balance power and care, for the sake of humanity.