A real brouhaha followed the recent wide reporting of research into the perilous effects of red meat consumption. Having been a veggie for several years in my youth my interest was well and truly piqued. The headline finding was that “eating an extra portion of red meat every day will increase your risk of death by 13% annually”. Given that, with the notable exception of earthbound deities, our risk of death is nominally considered to be 100%, the headline by itself raises some interesting issues about our use and interpretation of statistics.
I follow the Dalai Lama on Twitter (@DalaiLama), and he tweets regularly about the value of compassion in people’s lives. In fact I’d say that most of his postings address this theme in one way or another. For the Dalai Lama, compassion is the fundamental key to a happier life: a life spent acting out of concern for the welfare and happiness of others is itself a happy one. It’s a simple message, and, judging by the number of Buddhists in the world, a compelling one. Yesterday he didn’t mention compassion, but instead tweeted the following: