The Flip Side of Apology

Of interest, a couple of recent apology-related articles from the L.A. Times that deal with the other side of apologies–forgiveness.

First, we have “You’re not sorry? That’s OK.” The gist of it is, forgiveness is good for you:

A growing corps of researchers thinks they have it. Forgiveness — a
virtue embraced by almost every religious tradition as a balm for the
soul — may be medicine for the body, they suggest. In less than a
decade, those preaching and studying forgiveness have amassed an
impressive slate of findings on its possible health benefits.




They have shown that “forgiveness interventions” — often just a couple
of short sessions in which the wounded are guided toward positive
feelings for an offender — can improve cardiovascular function,
diminish chronic pain, relieve depression and boost quality of life
among the very ill.

Though, of course, it is not quite that simple if you read the whole article.

A companion article, Humans may be hard-wired to have a soft spot, discusses research into a possible evolutionary basis for the capacity and desire to forgive:


Forgiveness of others long predates organized religion as a desirable practice.




Michael McCullough, a psychologist at University of Miami and author of
a forthcoming book on the subject, surmises that higher primates and
early humans who were more forgiving were more likely to maintain the
family and social relations that would help them fend off predators,
secure food and go on to reproduce, thereby passing a tendency to
forgive on to future generations
.

Both interesting reads.