The pleasures of kindness have been well known since the dawn of Western thought. Kindness, declared Marcus Aurelius, was mankind's 'greatest delight' – and centuries-worth of thinkers and writers have echoed him. But today many people seem to find these pleasures literally incredible. Instead of embracing the benefits of altruism, as a species we seem to be becoming deeply and fundamentally antagonistic to each other, with motives that are generally self-seeking. This book explains how and why this has come about and argues that the affectionate life – a life lived in instinctive sympathetic identification with the vulnerabilities and attractions of others – is the one we should all be inclined to live.