This text argues that it is the nature of madernity to foster compassion. It offers a historical view to disprove the idea that modernity erodes moral sentiment and breaks down older social bonds. The book looks at the way in which modern society is building new and different social bonds. The author demonstrates that compassion, understood as the organized campaign to lessen the suffering of strangers, is a distinct form of morality. It played a role in the rise of society and continues to do so. When thses waves of compassion turn into demands for political action, these demands need to be understood rather than criticized.
Natan Sznaider is senior lecturer at the Academic College of Tel-Aviv-Yaffo in Tel-Aviv, Israel.