For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk and we learned to listen. Speech has allowed the communication of ideas, enabling human beings to work together to build the impossible. Mankind’s greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking. It doesn’t have to be like this. Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future. With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.
Stephen Hawking, British Telecom advertisement (1993), part of which was used in Pink Floyd’s Keep Talking (1994).
More than 3000 people have signed the appeal for an official pardon for the brilliant scientist whose work in Manchester was instrumental in the creation of today’s computer world but ended in tragedy after his conviction for gross indecency because he was actively gay.
edit: you can only sign it if you’re British / normally live in the UK, but nice thought.
The compassion we feel normally is biased and mixed with attachment. Genuine compassion flows towards all living beings, particularly your enemies. If I try to develop compassion towards my enemy, it may not benefit him directly, he may not even be aware of it. But it will immediately benefit me by calming my mind. On the other hand, if I dwell on how awful everything is, I immediately lose my peace of mind.
I am convinced that human nature is basically affectionate and good. If our behavior follows our kind and loving nature, immense benefits will result, not only for ourselves, but also for the society to which we belong. I generally refer to this sort of love and affection as a universal religion. Everyone needs it, believers as much as non-believers. This attitude constitutes the very basis of morality.