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The Compassionate Life by Marc Ian Barasch

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8

THE ALTRUIST

If there is any kindness I can show,or any good thing I can do to any fellow being,let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it,as I shall not pass this way again.

—William Penn

IF THERE’S A FACET OF HUMAN NATURE THAT, WHEN YOU HOLD it up to the light, shines bright enough to blind you, it’s altruism. A selfless deed, witnessed up close, is like a lamp blazing up from darkness before your pupils can adjust. We’re a little bedazzled by people who don’t seem to be out for themselves, who do good unto others without stopping to consider if others will do good unto them. We each know ourselves to be capable of selflessness. We’ll lay aside our needs—even our lives—for our nearest and dearest. But beyond the charmed circle, we tend ...

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