THE EMPATHIC CIVILIZATION
for Jeremy Riflin
Though “dog eat dog” was once the final word
when Survival of the Fittest ruled the day
and scientists to Darwin all deferred,
we reckon now another, happier way.
We find in primates signs of empathy,
that selfishness is not the only rule
by which the higher orders live—we see
we can be kindly, though we’re often cruel.
The way ahead in this most perilous time
is to progress empathically and learn
the arts and manners of a paradigm
that guarantees we’ll neither freeze nor burn.
For fire and ice lie in our forecast now,
which only empathy can disallow.