Wisdom and compassion: A new perspective on the science of relationships

Abstract: In psychological science, mindfulness and compassion are thought to promote physical health, mental well-being and even virtuous character. Yet in Buddhist philosophy, mindfulness and compassion can cause suffering when the two are not balanced. One key mechanism of mindfulness is ‘dereification,’ which amounts to experiencing one’s thoughts just as thoughts and not as real representations of the world. If one focuses solely on thoughts as unreal representations, one can simply dismiss all such activity, leading to apathy. Compassion can be problematic if one gets caught up in other-cherishing and if others’ aspirations and needs fail to align with those that one has imposed upon others. In this article, we review how the integration of mindfulness and compassion yields a novel framework to examine flourishing. As a case study, we apply these insights to the science of relationships, which leads to a re-conceptualization of ‘individual’ flourishing.

Read the article: Condon, P., Dunne, J., & Wilson-Mendenhall, C. (2019). Wisdom and compassion: A new perspective on the science of relationships. Journal of Moral Education48(1), 98-108.