To bring about a more sustainable and just world, it might not be enough to simply reduce our energy use, or to implement more renewable energies, or to choose to only support ethical companies. It might also be necessary to bring compassion to the forefront of our lives, to put the Golden Rule to the test and to use compassionate actions to bring about positive changes in the world around us.
One campaign that’s making a big effort to restore compassionate action is the Charter for Compassion:
Here’s the text of the Charter for Compassion:
The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.
It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.
We therefore call upon all men and women to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.
We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.
The impetus for the Charter for Compassion came from author and scholar Karen Armstrong, who asked the TED community to help restore the Golden Rule:
To sign your own name as an individual to this pledge, go to Charter for Compassion, or for businesses and other community organizations that want to partner with this initiative, you can get more information about the movement here.