My emerging philosphy is unrelentingly optimistic. I get some nice backup from Steve Pinker in the Edge (and formerly in the New Republic) : http://www.edge.org/documents/archive/edge206.html#pinker. In it he notes the decline of violence in our daily lives and wonders where the apparent increase in empathy comes from (zero sum games? frontal lobe exercise?). He notes:
Then there is the scenario sketched by philosopher Peter Singer. Evolution, he suggests, bequeathed people a small kernel of empathy, which by default they apply only within a narrow circle of friends and relations. Over the millennia, people’s moral circles have expanded to encompass larger and larger polities: the clan, the tribe, the nation, both sexes, other races, and even animals. The circle may have been pushed outward by expanding networks of reciprocity, à la Wright, but it might also be inflated by the inexorable logic of the golden rule: The more one knows and thinks about other living things, the harder it is to privilege one’s own interests over theirs. The empathy escalator may also be powered by cosmopolitanism, in which journalism, memoir, and realistic fiction make the inner lives of other people, and the contingent nature of one’s own station, more palpable—the feeling that “there but for fortune go I”.
This is surely a straightforward prediction of my account: we have learned to probe each other, and have increasingly been confronted with others at some remove: with les similar P-worlds than we have. And the rate of increase is increasing!