Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Compassion at Categorically Not on December 7, 2014

Gregg Chadwick, KC Cole, and Amy Parish on the radio promoting the reboot of Categorically Not

I had the wonderful opportunity last Friday to be on the radio with the esteemed Bonobo expert Amy Parish, and the marvelous science writer KC Cole  as we discussed Compassion and what it means in art, biology and physics. 
The three of us will be giving presentations at the reboot of Categorically Not  at the Santa Monica Art Studios on December 7th 2014 at 6 pm. 
Should be a fantastic evening.

RSVP and other information below. Feel free to share with friends.

What could be more important these days than understanding compassion: How it works and when it fails, how to persuade people that being tuned to the needs of others is actually in everyone’s personal self-interest? Despite the reputation compassion has for seeming “softhearted,” its benefits are based on well-studied mathematics and neuroscience, as well as evolutionary biology. Society can’t survive without a sense of fairness. And a sense of empathy informs all great art.

For our December 7th program, Categorically Not! founder KC Cole will explain how math proves the golden rule, simple ways to think about sharing and fairness, what neuroscientists have to tell us about empathy—and how the ability to feel compassion may actually atrophy in powerful people who have no real need for it. She’ll explain the physics behind one of Frank Oppenheimer’s favorite sayings: “The worst thing a son-of-a-bitch can do is turn you into a son-of-a-bitch,” and show how sometimes hidden symmetries are the keys to mysteries of physics as well as matters of the heart.

Can apes apologize? Can monkeys mourn their dead? Darwinian feminist and biological anthropologist Amy Parish, a world expert on our closest living relatives—bonobos—will take us into the lives of (other) primates and explore how empathy and fairness work in monkeys and apes. She’ll show some striking examples, including the classic case of when a cucumber is enough—until someone else gets a grape. She’ll navigate the nature/nurture divide, addressing contentious topics like morality, shame, ethics—the roots of our capacity to show compassion. We may even get a chance to watch monkeys act as midwives.

Finally, we are delighted to have back Santa Monica Art Studios own Gregg Chadwick, whose paintings explore the hum of humanity with deep compassion for life across the globe. Gregg has exhibited his artworks in galleries and museums both nationally and internationally and he lectures on the arts worldwide—from Amsterdam to Esalen and UCLA. His blog, Speed of Life, was recently honored by Carnegie Hall as one of the Top 16 Art Blogs in the country: Gregg paints in an old airplane hangar—the home of Categorically Not!
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