Saturday, April 25, 2009

Charter of Compassion

Gotta love the internet. The experience I just had with it makes me think it really can realize those dreams that WIRED magazine talked about 30 years ago. I’m normally pretty cynical about WIRED magazine!

So, story is, a local musician that I follow on Facebook recommended a book, “Blessed Unrest”. It’s about the worldwide movement that includes environmental, human rights, social justice and other small organizations that are not working directly with each other, but working toward the same goal. That book spoke of a time in history called the Axial Age, which Karen Armstrong wrote about. The Axial Age was a similar time when the Buddha, Socrates, Confucius, Jeremiah and the mystics of the Upanishads were all working to transform their societies without much knowledge of each other. So I looked that up, and it led to this talk by Karen Armstrong.

She talks about the common thread of compassion that runs through all the major religions. She takes the talk a step further and starts discussion about a “Charter for Compassion”. That has grown in to a world-wide discussion, using our modern tools to further this very old conversation. This is the type of work that I want this blog to be about. Click here to watch a great talk from Karen Armstrong at TED talks.

Karen Armstrong on TED Talks

If you haven’t heard of TED talks, you are in for a treat. They are short talks from the greatest minds on earth. Sometimes they collaborate, like this one. I recommend starting with “Watch the Talk” near the top of the page, then digging further if you like it. The talk was given in 2008 and the online work continued until recently. The Charter will be published later in 2009.

If you haven’t heard of Karen Armstrong, you are in for another treat. She was a nun for a few years, then an atheist, then a British TV commentator, then found her footing as an author. She has called herself a freelance monotheist. I’ll be talking more about her.

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