There is a natural balance within us all between the desire for joining and the desire for separation, between the desire for closeness and the desire for distance. These two great themes – joining and separation – are central to human life. Almost everyone wants both of them, to varying degrees.
Author Archive | Rick Hanson, Ph.D.
Feeling safer is a tricky subject, with complications that can be both personal and political. (This topic and others are explored in depth in my interview with New Dimensions.)
My recent posts have highlighted two very powerful, yet opposing forces in the human heart: in a traditional metaphor, we each have a wolf of love and a wolf of hate inside us, and it all depends on which one we feed every day. On the one hand, as the most social and loving species […]
Empathy is unusual in the animal kingdom. So empathy must have had some major survival benefits for it to have evolved. What might those benefits have been? Empathy seems to have evolved in three major steps. First, among vertebrates, birds and mammals developed ways of rearing their young, plus forms of pair bonding – sometimes […]
I heard a story once about a Native American elder who was asked how she had become so wise, so happy, and so respected. She answered: “In my heart, there are two wolves: a wolf of love and a wolf of hate. It all depends on which one I feed each day.”
How did we evolve the most loving brain on the planet? Humans are the most sociable species on earth – for better and for worse. On the one hand, we have the greatest capacities for empathy, communication, friendship, romance, complex social structures, and altruism. On the other, we have the greatest capacities for shaming, emotional […]
Scientists believe that your brain has a built-in “negativity bias.” In other words, as we evolved over millions of years, dodging sticks and chasing carrots, it was a lot more important to notice, react to, and remember sticks than it was for carrots. That’s because – in the tough environments in which our ancestors lived […]
How much change in the brain makes a difference in the mind? That is the issue raised by a very interesting comment regarding my previous post, The Brain in a Bucket. So I have taken the liberty of posting the comment here (hoping that’s OK in blog etiquette; still learning as I go), and then […]