Mary Warnock reviews Adam Phillips' and Barbara Taylor's On Kindness for the Guardian Review of Jan 11th 2009.
"Kindness" is a rough equivalent of the Christian non-erotic love, or charity, though it was embraced as a virtue and a source of pleasure by Cicero, for one, and by the Stoic emperor Marcus Aurelius, before it was extolled famously by St Paul in his Epistle to the Corinthians. Kindness to others arises out of sympathy.
BBC Radio 3's Night Waves opens with an interview with the authors in a podcast available for a few more days. They point out a recent consensus that humans are fundamentally selfish based on a social philosophy of capitalism and competition. There's been recent attacks on our pleasure of feeling for each other which kindness presupposed. Obstacles to kindness include a fear of sympathy for the other and involvements in the lives of others.