Tyler Doohan, 9, awoke when flames swept through his family's trailer last month in Penfield, NY. Once Tyler realized what was happening, he was able to wake six of his family members and guide them to safety. What would motivate a child like Tyler to put others' safety ahead of his own?
My book, What Makes a Hero?: The Surprising Science of Selflessness, has officially launched! Does science offer us realistic hope to become more compassionate as a species? And do you have to make headlines to lead a truly heroic life?
It's tough to think of a starker real-life crisis of conscience than the one faced by Jan Karski. Karski was a World War II Polish underground member who gathered important information about Poland and reported it to the country's government-in-exile. While carrying out this mission, Karski encountered evidence of a colossal crime: the destruction of the European Jews.
We often hear that if we could all be a little more helpful, the world would be a much better place. And this old saw is true, for the most part: Reaching out to benefit others also tends to be an effective way to maintain our physical and mental health. Even so, there is such a thing as being too selfless.
NSA leaker Snowden has indicated that he willingly sacrificed the comforts of his life in Hawaii because he felt compelled to inform Americans of the scope of government surveillance and its threat to their privacy. So far, though, public opinion is divided on the moral merits of his actions.
Charles Ramsey could hardly have predicted the online juggernaut he set into motion last week when he gave a Cleveland TV station an off-the-cuff interview. “I barbecue with this dude. We eat ribs and whatnot and listen to salsa music,” he said after helping rescue three women from captivity in his neighbor's house.