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Thank Goddess it's Freya's Day!

I just read an article about recent research indicating that the altruistic impulse emerges as early as 18 months. As the hopelessly smitten godmother of a beautiful toddler, I could have told them that. Since before she turned one, she has been in the habit of giving us her bottles, her "babies" and anything else nice that makes her happy, and in her sweet little mind, would obviously make us happy too. She's kind to her doggies, she laughs and smiles at everything, she trustingly lifts her arms to us to be picked up.

Maybe the world makes people hard and ugly later on, but I know, as plain truth, that at least some people are born good.

Why am I so sunny and optimistic today? Shame on you! You should be asking why so often I am not.

The sun is up, the sky is blue, it's beautiful, and so are you.

Possibly good news to be reported soon!


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 3rd, 2006 04:21 pm (UTC)
Yay! It's March and there are so many fabulous things on the horizon for us to do. :) I say we should have a big ass party at some point soon to celebrate surviving January and February.

Thank you for saying such sweet things about my babe - she is pretty awesome if I do say so myself. We are so lucky to have ended up with such a beautiful and sweet natured girl.

Miss and love you so much.
Mar. 3rd, 2006 04:45 pm (UTC)
Honey, if that little one has made such a dazzling change in my perspective on life, I can but wonder what she's done for you guys. She's a little bodhisattva, she is.

Are you home? I want to call you! Love!
Mar. 3rd, 2006 05:21 pm (UTC)
Man has she. I actually sit still just to hang out with her.

We're both home. Call us!
Mar. 3rd, 2006 04:25 pm (UTC)
Our cat is very altruistic too and has been saving Dan mice. Or parts of mice.
Mar. 3rd, 2006 04:29 pm (UTC)
I'm sure they are the best parts.
Mar. 3rd, 2006 04:48 pm (UTC)
*beams* I am totally convinced that cats are altruistic. Ours come and rumble on us whenever we're sick or sad. They just know. And I'm sure if we let them out, they'd bring us mousie bits, but we live on route 50, and can't risk it.

My boy and I will probably never procreate, but we have enough joy and challenge being cat parents :)
Mar. 3rd, 2006 04:51 pm (UTC)
oh yes! I always get a lapful of cat when I am sad/crying. It's awesome. And Max is not great about being carried or poked at, but he is incredibly gentle with little kids and instinctively knows not to swat at them.
Mar. 3rd, 2006 04:40 pm (UTC)
I wish people would keep some parts of being kids as long as possible. Like unconditional love and concern and sharing. All that stuff in "Everything I needed to know, I learned in Kindergarten."
Mar. 3rd, 2006 04:51 pm (UTC)
Ah. I wish it too, but I'm afraid the world just doesn't allow that state to last very long. It's probably not a bad thing that we harden up a little. Maybe some day in the very distant future, humans will live in a world where we can afford to stay soft.

I believe the change will happen, but it'll take millenia. If only we can avoid blowing each other up, or making the planet uninhabitable for anything but bugs :)
Mar. 3rd, 2006 04:43 pm (UTC)
Humans are born into this world with no concept of fear or hate. I mean *conceptual* fear or hate. Loud noises and rough treatment will set off instinctual alarms in an infant still wet behind the ears. However, being afraid of fire, disease, insects, other people--hating things--this is learned. Love, however, seems to be instinctual as well. Children instinctually seek out their mother's voice and can bond the most lasting bonds of their life within the first 3 hours after birth. Of course, the many different kinds of love are also a learned behavior and have certain connotations thanks to society. Like, in Ancient Egypt, loving and sleeping with your sister was a high form of love. Ancient Greece, loving a woman was equivalent to loving your goat--neither had a soul. Today, incest and homosexuality are really taboo. But the instinct for connection is there. Now, I'm sure some people are born with chemical imbalances that make them apathetic, frustrated, angry, or aggressive, but meanness is taught. (I won't say it isn't instictual as well, since every society of every generation keeps producing mean people, so the quality may lie as a dormant potential in everyone. But I'm saying you have to get knocked around and coached in order to become mean. Meanness comes from a sense of entitlement, and what people feel entitled to is taught.) So, I've always felt everyone comes into this world good, or, if they're imbalanced, at least with a clean slate.

Wow, I got long winded. Sorry!
Mar. 3rd, 2006 04:56 pm (UTC)
Wow, I got long winded. Sorry!

Not at all! Excellent thoughts.

I agree that meanness is probably a learned behavior. Sure, fear and anger are innate, but cruelty is not necessarily the immediate response to these feelings. I personally can count on one hand the times I've behaved in a truly cruel manner, and I know plenty of other people who are the same (I'm not claiming to be special, here :) I think a lot of people would say that they tend to be cruel, but if you asked them to cite examples, it would turn out that they really aren't.
Mar. 3rd, 2006 07:20 pm (UTC)
wow, you should be encouraged to be long-winded. that was fab. :-)
Mar. 3rd, 2006 07:48 pm (UTC)
oh, thank you. ^_^
Mar. 3rd, 2006 06:06 pm (UTC)
Will beleived that everyone was "surrounded by love" and was completely loving until age two. Then he went into part-time daycare and was confronted by little kids that did not want to play with him. He still hasn't recovered from the shock that not everyone is filled with love and that there are people who don't like other people.
Mar. 3rd, 2006 06:37 pm (UTC)
I haven't recovered from the shock, either. I'm still amazed by people who are deliberately unkind.
Mar. 3rd, 2006 08:58 pm (UTC)
Also, even if the experience was painful, this speaks very well of you and Lee, and I'm confident that feeling so loved in young childhood will do well by him later on.
Mar. 3rd, 2006 09:38 pm (UTC)

Just today they came out with an article about inherent altruism in humans. What gets me is how the scientists say other animals (besides chimps) don't exhibit altruism. What about the dolphins that save drowning humans and fend off sharks? Or the elephants that protect humans from man-eating lions? How about the dogs that run into burning buildings to save babies? Or the barn cats that defend *other* cats' kittens from aggressive toms? Selfless acts of service are all over the place, you just have to look. And when you find them, doesn't the world seem, for all its suffering and confusion, to be a beautiful, magical place?

Empathy is my proof of soul. Empathy says -- I feel you, b/c we are all connected. How? How are we collective? Our souls fit, like puzzle pieces, that's how. Empathy is the ability to take yourself out of your individual experience for five seconds and see the whole. Empathy prompts altruism, and if there was ever proof needed of goodness in this universe, there it is--in the immediate, innate, unthinking reaction of a child to help a stranger out.
Mar. 4th, 2006 01:14 am (UTC)
Just today, I left my apartment to head down to the workout room, and a family was walking by in the hallway. Their little boy stopped, looked at me, and offered me his hat! He was maybe 2? It was sooooo cute!
Mar. 5th, 2006 02:22 am (UTC)
Greg at 14 months hands me his toy. Then I give back. He also "shares" his food with the dog who in turn licks his hand. Young children can be great reminders of love and caring.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )