Succeed on Aristotle’s Path

Aristotle’s Path shows how to have the greatest asset of all… usefulness.  We are social animals.  Whether in business, investing, with family, friends or strangers… at home or in our travels… when it comes to being valuable… usefulness reigns.

Whatever your path… pave it with usefulness.


Pathway at La Mirage Spa and Garden Hotel in Ecuador

Aristotle defines the ingredients of usefulness as Ethos – Logos and Pathos.

Ethos is ethics… having character or credibility.  Logos is  logic… our ability to communicate via reason.  Pathos is emotion… the really driving force that shifts what is known… to what is desired.  If you can emotionally appeal to reason and be believed… your social interaction becomes truly useful.

The foundation for these ingredients is compassion that generates empathy…  your ability to project your personality into the objects, ideas, personalities or processes you view.

How do we gain compassion?   Most great meditative practices teach the importance of contemplating on compassion.  There are also scientific studies.

One published experiment “Meditation Increases Compassionate Responses to Suffering” by Paul Condon,  Gaëlle Desbordes, Willa Miller  & David DeSteno from Northeastern University, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University (linked below) shows how to expand empathy.

Here is an excerpt (bolds are mine). 

Contemplative science has documented a plethora of intra personal benefits stemming from meditation including increases in gray matter density. Much less is known about the inter personal impact of meditation.  To address this gap, we utilized a design where individuals were confronted with a person in pain in an ecologically valid way.

Thirty nine individuals recruited from the Greater Boston community for an eight week study on meditation comprised the final set of Meditation and Compassionate Behavior participants.

Individuals were randomly assigned either to complete meditation classes or to be on a wait list control.

Following either eight weeks of meditation practice or approximately eight weeks after initial recruitment to the wait list, participants were scheduled to come to the lab under the guise of completing tests of cognitive ability.

Upon arriving at the waiting area participants sat in the last remaining chair. After the participant had been sitting for one minute, a third Meditation and Compassionate Behavior female confederate who played the role of the sufferer, appeared around the corner with crutches and a walking boot.

The sufferer, who visibly winced while walking, stopped just as she arrived at the chairs. She then looked at her cell phone, audibly sighed in discomfort and leaned back against a wall.

To assess compassionate responding, we measured whether the true participant offered his or her seat to the sufferer to relieve her pain.   If two minutes passed and the participant had not given up his or her seat, the trial was ended and coded as a non helping response.

Results and Discussion

Confirming the view that meditation directly enhances compassionate responding, meditators, by more than five times (odds
ratio=5.33), more frequently offered their seats to the sufferer than did non meditators from the wait list control.

Compassion is a natural power that makes social interaction so valuable to humans… but the frequency we call “compassion” is everywhere in nature.   Compassion is one of the Golden Words featured in my novel “The 65th Octave” (watch for it coming as a Kindle publication at .

In this novel, the hero, Robin MacAllen, is with the Heroine, Talking Panther, and her sister, Silent Panther, on the Isle of Man near Maughold, an area near the ring of Neolithic stones called Cashtal-yn-Ard, an old Celtic name, meaning ‘castle on the height.’

Here is an excerpt:  All three sat sheltered from the wind in a small indentation in a rock, waiting the rising sun.  Talking Panther began speaking in a sweet, lilting chant and said:   “The Golden Words are of the spirits and we are here with the spirits of so many suns and sons. Here are the spirits for you and here are your Golden Words.”

Robin opened his eyes for a moment and saw Talking Panther unbutton her coat. Rays of sunlight flickered like jewels on her copper skin. He sank back into tranquility as Talking Panther began to speak again.

“The eighth Golden Word is Opossum. This spirit engenders compassion for even the most violent predator. By being willing to bare its throat to any threat, the opossum can live among ferocious beasts without use of claw, and walk among the most savage without fang. The eighth Golden Word is Opossum.”

The golden words are  a way of looking at and focusing on positive forces (or frequencies) of nature that we all have within.  By identifying what is naturally within us… we can steadily pave our path of usefulness.


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Meditation Increases Compassionate Responses to Suffering

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