Many are concerned about the state of the world. The effects of climate change, political polarization, and backlash to social movements that cultivate equality threaten our future. Even outside and within our own discipline, conflict continues. Many of us joined ABAI because we support the vision that the problems of the world can be solved through the principles of behavior analysis. Can they?
Perhaps. Many of the answers to the world’s problems still reside within the discipline; indeed, our own community of behavior scientists and behavior analysts have continued to generate some of the solutions. However, seeking perspective outside of the discipline to understand the complex contingencies of social groups, networks, and organizations is also critical. An integration of these viewpoints is the foundation for a compassionate behaviorism—a philosophy that includes the action and verbal behavior of humility, behavioral flexibility, self-control, perspective taking, and empathy. These terms will be carefully defined and their functions discussed. Compassionate behavioral action can be and should be practiced at multiple levels: toward our earth, towards outsiders of our verbal communities, to those within our verbal communities, and even towards ourselves.