reading: twelve steps to a compassionate life – karen armstrong

The Four Fs [feeding, fighting, fleeing and fucking] are powerful; they can overturn all our efforts to live more kindly and rationally in a second, but we are thinking beings, with a fully developed neocortex, and have the ability to take responsibility for them. Indeed, we have a duty to protect ourselves and others from our more destructive instincts.


We are addicted to our egotism. We cannot think how we would manage without our pet hatreds and prejudices that give us such a buzz of righteousness; like addicts, we have come to depend on the instant rush of energy and delight we feel when we display our cleverness by making an unkind remark and the spurt of triumph when we vanquish and annoying colleague. Thus do we assert ourselves and tell the world who we are.

–Karen Armstrong, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life.

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