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The Forum
10 Jan
Listen to the programme

A conceptual meeting point for this week's three ideas, by Emily Kasriel
The Forum, the BBC World Service programme which boldly crosses boundaries: scientific, creative and geographic, presented this week by Rana Mitter.


British child psychotherapist Adam Phillips believes people are leading secretly kind lives all the time, but without a language in which to express this, or cultural support for it. He feels that kindness - not sexuality, violence or money - has become our forbidden pleasure.

Professor Rafael Kandiyoti believes we should all pay much more attention to the powerful yet fragile network of pipelines which transport fossil fuels across the world. The pipeline infrastructure offers an alternative map of the world which both describes and disrupts international power relations.

Vitali Vitaliev is a Ukrainian-born writer on enclaves; enclaves can be mini-states or isolated parts of nation states - and Vitali is one of the first to have visited all the surviving European examples; he believes that by studying how they have learned to co-exist with their larger neighbours they may provide a pointer to getting by peacefully in our increasingly mixed-up world.

Listen to the 60 Second Idea To Change The World

Each week one guest presents an idea to enhance the world. This week it's the turn of Vitali Vitaliev.

To find out more visit BBC News online: Don't throw out that old guide book...

Your comments...

Your discussion on 'identity' missed a very improtant point. A healthy identity is necessarily multi-dimensional. A person can be a woman, a wife, a mother, a university professor, etc., all at the same time. Problems start when a dimension of identity dominates all other dimensions. This is actually the definition of 'extremism'.

In my opinion, kindness is a natural instinct which society can train out of the person. In schools we have an anti-bullying campaign and yet teachers can be bullied by collegues and superiors including Headteachers, workers can be bullied by their employers, governments can bully their citizens etc. etc. Kathleen

You were talking about the lack of kindness, and later about what could be the European identity (or something to that effect). Both themes come back to the fact that Christianity has had a great influence in forming the European ethos. The increasing lack of kindness and more and more selfishness is due to the decrease of the Christian ethic.

The idea of kindness is really very easy to understand. Kindness is a virtue (a spiritual quality). There are more than 300 virtues and they all lie dormant within us. A baby uses material traits (the opposite to virtues - e.g. selfishness, self-centredness, etc.) to let its mothers know what it wants - it's hungry so it cries! As the child grows, its parents must teach their child to use the dormant spiritual qualities to obtain what it needs and develop good relationships in the world. The reason for this duality is so that we can understand our humanness, our true reality and our world.

I was fascinated to listen to your item on kindness in your programme on 11 January and agreed 100% with the comments of your contributors.
Genuine acts of kindness mean:
taking risks
involvement with the other person
accepting how powerful the act can be.

I would also like to add something; I think acts of kindness - and maybe kindness itself - also comes from our own knowledge of ourselves; through understanding that I (as myself) have nothing to defend - so there is nothing to attack psychologically.

You can be generous without being kind. For example a very wealthy person is unkind can give a great deal of money to charity and therefore be generous Being kind is possible whether or not you are wealthy. It involves giving of yourself not necessarily of your possessions
London UK

Kindness is a product of a combination of truth, trust, respect, humility, and love, mutually shared without any price or condition. Regardless of gender, race, colour, or any formerly professed different creed. developing into fellowship of humanity, brothers and sisters, all as children of the very same creator.

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