I don’t think I am a kind person. Compared with my peers I am a fast cyclist, an articulate debater and a reasonable baker of bread. But neither I, nor I suspect my peers, would rate kindness amongst my defining characteristics.
This is not to say that I am unkind or cruel, either in my own mind or in the minds of those who know me. Since I once shot and ate a grey squirrel, in the eyes of some I am irredeemably cruel, but on the whole my dealings with the natural world are concerned with wellbeing and sustainability. According to a wonderful new book which has inspired this post, Intelligent Kindness, Kindness is something that is generated by an intellectual and emotional understanding that self-interest and the interests of others are bound together and acting upon that understanding. (p5) Perhaps I should have paid…
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