Compassionate Systems: A Conversation With Daniel Goleman

Daniel Goleman at

ScreenHunter_2730 Jun. 27 20.38These days I’m reflecting a lot on what a compassionate system would be. People generally know too little about systems, let alone about science. That’s one reason the current government may get away with enormous cuts to science.

I was talking to the dean of science at Columbia, who also runs a program at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia, which is in our backyard. He said research there—it’s a world leader in climate science—may get cut by 80 to 85 percent, which is astounding. It’s a huge crisis. Someone else I was talking to who runs a neuroscience lab says he's expecting a 20 percent cut. Twenty percent itself is crippling.

Why is it that a government can get away with this? Why isn’t there uproar beyond a narrow circle of scientists? Why is it that so few people understand science, per se? Part of it has to do with a general lack of awareness of the systems in which we’re enmeshed. The systems of energy and of technology, the systems of economics and of culture; the systems that would make more clear why science itself is so essential to the betterment of our own lives and of society, and what a researcher in a lab has to do with any of us.

There’s a huge disconnect.

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