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We live in a world that tempts us every day to be less empathetic. Whether it's the conflict-driven world of social media, the daily disasters we see on the news, or the victims of mental illness we see on the streets. Seeing and feeling others' pain can be overwhelming.

However, as humans we are hard-wired to be empathetic. We aren't just self-serving beings whose relationships are wholly transnational in nature. We have evolved to give without receiving, to feel for those we've never met, and to cooperate and provide mutual aid in our communities.

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Culture

We talk a lot about toxic masculinity.

It seems like people are starting to confound the meaning of the term.

"Oh, so you're saying that masculinity is TOXIC," they say. "That's SEXIST against MEN," they say.

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When I was 7, my best friend’s name was George.

He lived around the corner from me. George was tall and lanky. His elbows always akimbo, his cowlick stellar in its sheer verticality. He had an aquarium. He had a glow-in-the-dark board game. He had the 45 rpm of "Hang On, Sloopy," and he was a Harry Nilsson fan, just like me. I can still recall his house, and all of the luminous joy it held, perfectly in my mind's eye — all part of the frozen 7-year-old's mosaic that exploded into pieces when my parents' marriage failed.

After my parents split, George and I lived just an hour apart. But our parents weren't willing to ensure that George and I stayed in regular contact. Once or twice a year, we were allowed a sleepover, and George always came to spend the night on my birthday. His visit was the one gift I asked for.

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The monkey had a busy morning, but it was finally time to go home.  

He was a small creature, about the size of a rabbit, with a long prehensile tail and dusky red fur. Earlier that day, scientists had scooped him up from his cage and taken him away to get a shot. But now that was done, and just like for many of us, heading home meant that he'd finally get to rest and hang out with his mate.

This time, though, his scientist colleagues weren’t done with him. In fact, our monkey was being set up for an incredible betrayal.

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Family