November is upon us, and so is this month's theme: kindness and prosociality, centered around World Kindness Day taking place on November 13th. The coming two months will form a diptych about social relationships, with November addressing their bright side - kindness and prosociality, and December painting a more somber picture, one in which social relationships are lacking: loneliness. The coming weeks, however, we will start with some brightness and look at kindness and prosociality from different perspectives.
World Kindness Day has been an annual international observance since it was introduced by the World Kindness Movement in 1998. Its goal was, and still is, to unite people from different backgrounds and to acknowledge of the importance and power of good, kind relationships. In a world that is increasingly interconnected, uniting - both psychologically and physically - with other people has become easier than ever before. Unfortunately, especially with significant amounts of communication taking place in the digital plane (through emails, chats and the like), it's easy to forget you're dealing with a real, living, breathing person. This development, in my opinion, has paved the way for selfishness and negativity to take hold of the seat previously held by cautiousness and benefit of the doubt. In a time in which relationships and communication take place in an abstract and impersonal space, allowing for conflicts to be whipped up in the blink of an eye, it's imperative that we remember that kindness can accomplish much more than indifference or hostility ever could, for - in Mark Twain's immortal words - kindness is the only language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
In the coming weeks, we'll be looking at kindness and prosociality from different perspectives, highlighting its importance, consequences, and manifestation in both brain and behaviour. We encourage our viewers and readers to engage with us in this topic, so feel free to join in this month's discussion via our website or Twitter (@GEMH_lab). We look forward to hearing all about your perspectives and experiences.