And Now The Good News: Compassion Is Alive And Well with Marc Ian Barasch

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What is compassion, really? Where does it come from? Is there a physiological basis for it? Are we entering an era of escalating vengeance and violence or one of forgiveness? Marc Ian Barasch is hopeful that compassion is emerging from the quiet province of the individual and community to a motivating force among many political leaders and a cornerstone of their governments’ social policies. Even in the unlikely realm of scientific analysis, he points out, the roots of kindness are now studied by biologists, behaviorists, and sociologists. Barasch notes, “People talk about ‘helper’s high.’ There’s a lot of interest in that all of a sudden. Why is it that we feel good when we’re helping other people? It’s a sort of evolutionary reward circuit, because evolution likes it when we cooperate.” He shares his observations of compassion in the midst of political upheaval in Rwanda as well as his personal experience of forgiveness within his own family. His insights give us reason to be optimistic that kindness may, in fact, be the light at the end of the dark tunnel of interpersonal and global violence. (hosted by Michael Toms)


Marc Ian Barasch is a former editor of Psychology Today, Natural Health and New Age Journal, which won a National Magazine Award under his direction. As a writer and producer, his television documentaries have won international acclaim and numerous awards, including an Emmy nomination. He is a founder of the M.A. psychology program at Naropa University.

His books include:

To learn more about the work of Marc Barasch go to

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • Why helping others may help you stay healthy
  • How your heart secretes chemicals that influence your emotions
  • How you can find compassion by exploring your shadow
  • What the relationship is between the love of mother and child and love of humanity
  • How some governments are incorporating forgiveness into their domestic and foreign policy

Host: Michael Toms       Interview Date: 5/6/2005       Program Number: 3089

Music Included

From Album: Shadow Mist & Light
Artist: Peter Sterling
2005 Real Music RM1852
Tracks - East Meets West, Dance of the Dakinis, Eldorado, Moon Over Xanadu