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Amy Hertz

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What Arianna's Reading In February: Human Beings, Good Or Bad?

Posted: 02/02/10 10:19 AM ET

It's that time again to see what Arianna's reading next, and tomorrow she'll reveal Huffington Post's Book Club selection for February. Set aside some extra time and get out your reading glasses because this one is a door stop -- but you won't want to miss it. The author of this book will challenge everything you ever thought about human nature, the history of civilization and its destiny on our planet.

Here's the the question that we'll be exploring in February: Is the true nature of human beings aggressive, mean and entirely self-serving? Or is there evidence of another way to look at things? I've worked with Columbia University professor Robert Thurman many times over the last 20 years, and he often asks whether or not "survival of the fittest" means "survival of the meanest." His argument goes something like this: Who is dominating the planet? The creature with fangs and claws or the creature that has evolved dexterous fingers best suited to gentle touch?

The February pick takes a look at history from a different perspective: not as one of successive periods of war, but one of successive periods of trust. It's a history of empathic connection. The Dalai Lama has argued that basic human nature is affectionate, and that none of us would survive beyond birth if that weren't the case. From this new look at history, we will see that we survive only when we care for and trust each other.

February's book pick is going to make you feel optimistic about the future, so join us for a month of discussion with scientists, economists, politicians and other great minds to celebrate the birth of a new species: Homo Empathicus. Look for Arianna's blog tomorrow, February 3rd, announcing her choice.

 

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