Spirituality practice generosity and religiosity in affluent societies
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Spirituality Practice, Generosity and Religiosity in Affluent Societies. Ron Anderson , University of Minnesota, USA & Foundation for Compassionate Politics [email protected] Presentation at the International Society for Quality of Life Studies Florence, Italy, July 21, 2009.

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Spirituality Practice, Generosity and Religiosity in Affluent Societies

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Spirituality practice generosity and religiosity in affluent societies

Spirituality Practice, Generosity and Religiosity in Affluent Societies

Ron Anderson ,

University of Minnesota, USA

& Foundation for Compassionate Politics

[email protected]

Presentation at the International Society for Quality of Life Studies

Florence, Italy, July 21, 2009

Ron Anderson – [email protected]


Spirituality perspective

Spirituality Perspective

“Spirituality is the ability not to worry about spirituality”

---from Peace, Love, and Chocolate – Spiritual Humor

  • Spirituality is contemplating ultimate human concerns, including suffering

  • Compassion is the desire to alleviate this suffering

  • Generosity is acting on this compassion

  • Generosity thus becomes the practice of spirituality

Ron Anderson – [email protected]


Conceptual framework

Conceptual framework

  • Sociology of Caring & Compassion, the conceptual starting point

    • Oliners’ sociology of caring

    • Wuthrow’s theory of compassion & individualism

    • Bellah’s sociology of commitment

    • Etzioni’s “Spirit of Community”

  • Ecological economics, a guidepost

    • Suggesting that we ask what are the elements needed for sustainability of social organizations?

Ron Anderson – [email protected]


Ingredients of compassion

Ingredients of Compassion

Peace

Responsibility

= intersection that defines a truly sustainable community or society

Ron Anderson – [email protected]


Compassion action index

Compassion Action Index

Ron Anderson – [email protected]


Criteria for selecting indicators for the compassion action index

Criteria for Selecting Indicators for the Compassion Action Index

  • Forty-two social Indicators were selected that reflected

    • the degree of suffering in a society

    • or whether the people were acting to reduce suffering either now or in the future.

  • These 42 indicators fall into the 9 components

Ron Anderson – [email protected]


Countries in the compassion action index 2009

Countries in the Compassion Action Index, 2009

*Rich countries with tiny populations were not included.

Ron Anderson – [email protected]


Calculation of the compassion action index

Calculation of the Compassion Action Index

Ron Anderson – [email protected]


Spirituality practice generosity and religiosity in affluent societies

A Glimpse at the Scores for 20 countries & 9 Components


Does the compassion action index relate to external religiosity church attendance

Does the Compassion Action Index Relate to External Religiosity (Church Attendance)?

Ron Anderson – [email protected]


Does the compassion action index relate to the importance of one s belief in god

Does the Compassion Action Index Relate to the importance of one’s belief in God?

Note: The WVS question was “How important is God in your life?”


Does the compassion action index relate to happiness as measured by yesterday s feelings

Does the Compassion Action Index relate to happiness as measured by yesterday’s feelings?


Yesterday s affect scale

Yesterday’s Affect Scale

  • 14 self-report questions, each coded 1 for yes and 0 for noDid you experience the following feelings during A LOT OF THE DAY yesterday? How about..A enjoyment?B physical painC worryD sadnessE stressF angerG depressionH loveNow please think about YESTERDAY, from the morning untill the end of the day. Think of where you were, what you were doing and how you felt.I Did you feel well rested yesterday?J Did you smile or laugh a lot yesterday?K Did you learn or do something interesting yesterday?L Would you like to have more days just like yesterday?M Were you proud of something you did yesterday?N Were you treated with respect all day yesterday

  • Computation: - Average % positive affect = (A+H+I+J+K+L+M+N)/8- Average % negative affect = (B+C+D+E+F+G)/6- Affect Balance = Average % positive affect - Average % negative affect

Ron Anderson – [email protected]


Does the compassion action index relate to happiness as measured by satisfaction with life

Does the Compassion Action Index relate to happiness as measured* by satisfaction with life?

*Question in WVS: “How satisfied are you with your life these days?”


Four conclusions

Four Conclusions

  • Religious and spiritual approaches to social well-being argue that being generous or giving compassionate love are essential elements of quality lives. Yet we find that religiosity negatively correlates with compassion-based quality of life indicators, i.e., Compassion Action Index. Could it be that compassion is more prevelant in societies where the basis of morality and virtue are not grounded in beliefs about the supernatual? That is, situating compassion in community rather than dogma may be more effective.

  • The sociology of caring argues for generosity as the social fabric for communities and societies (Oliner ). The Compassion Action Index provides a beginning for empirical compassion studies across nations.

Ron Anderson – [email protected]


Conclusions

Conclusions

3. The fact that the Compassion Action Index is correlated with major indicators of happiness confirms one type of external validty and suggests that further research in this direction should be encouraged.

4. Measures of generous behavior tend to be neglected in studies of the quality of life. This suggests giving this higher priority in future research, not just among affluent societies.

Ron Anderson – [email protected]


Compassionatepoliitcs org

CompassionatePoliitcs.org

Ron Anderson – [email protected]


Why www compassionatepolitics org

Why www.CompassionatePolitics.org?

  • To promote deep caring for all human beings at all levels (personal, community, nation, and global)

  • To educate and thus shape public policy toward greater compassion

  • To be an intersection of ideas and people via a social network tool

  • Release relevant data and reports on quality of life studies

Ron Anderson – [email protected]


In september 2009 look for compassionatepoliitcs org

In September, 2009, look for CompassionatePoliitcs.org

  • CompassionatePolitics.org will feature:

  • International Advisory Board

  • Technical details on Index 2009

  • Articles by various authors

  • Forum & blog for open dialog

  • Polls and surveys

  • News and newsletters

Slides and charts from this presentation can be found at:

http://www.soc.umn.edu/~rea/

CONTACT: Ron Anderson – [email protected]


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