An Argument for Offering Compassion Studies

We live in a violent, broken world. We are faced with immense problems at the local, national and global levels. They unfold in both spectacular and everyday social sites. The problems are both social and ecological in nature and they are pushing us towards a civilizational collapse.

We have thousands of universities and academic institutions, we manage educational products and run hundreds of thousands of academic programmes, we take part in hundreds of research initiatives, we organise a huge number of global, regional and national events, we are involved in many local and global technical committees, we publish and publish, etc.

Yet the world is and continues to be, in a huge mess.

Perhaps we need to accept the fact that we are not doing the right thing, or our disciplinary expert knowledge and the practices it promotes, are just not good enough to take us to a nurturing, humane future. We seem to be stuck in a path of self-destruction. We also seem to also think there is only one path to take. Despite many attempts to address global problems, there has been no major relief. Politics, economy and the media have contributed to major havoc in the life of the people and planet. The problems we are faced with have led to the generation of a huge number of sites of pain and suffering, disaster and death across the globe. We are faced with both material and moral crisis.

Given these realities, how do we make sense of the situation and reach out to the people and communities who need help at both the mundane and structural levels? How do we address a future that is threatened by eco-civilisational collapse?

by M. Nadarajah; from "'Living' in a Violent, Broken World: The Urgent Need for New Humanities and Compassion Studies (A Preliminary Proposal)"

The article was published in Social Action, A Quarterly Review of Social Trends; January-March 2020, Vol. 70, No. 1.

Nadarajah (Nat) Manickam is the Chair Professor, Centre for New Humanities and Compassion Studies, Xavier University Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India; Email: ,

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