Friendship and Compassion


From: “Mindfulness Turns A Brain from Antagony to Compassion” to “Self-assessment For Personal Growth in Good Citizenship”, to adding “Four Levels of Friendship” to the above.   May 2023

It occurred to me after creating the two-dimensional and four-quadrant chart in my last posting on How to Turn Fear to Compassion, that there is an interpretation for the number inside each small box of the chart.

An obvious interpretation is a score of Fear vs Compassion, ranging from -8 to +8.

Let’s explore the following definition:

Good Citizenship = Unselfishness + Understanding of the Needs of Others

Poor Citizenship = Selfishness + Suspicion of the Intention of Others

Then we can interpret the numbers in each small block of the chart as a Score of Good or Poor Citizenship. In this perspective, the words in the lower left quadrant should be revised to describe poor citizenship. The new chart is as follows.

A score of zero may be described as an Indifferent citizen. A score of 1 – 2 may be described as a citizen with Pity for others. A score of 3 – 4 as one with Sympathy, 5 – 6 as one with Empathy, and 7 – 8 as one with Compassion.

On the score of Poor Citizenship, the adjectives to describe the different levels may be Passive, Cautious, Resentful, and Antagonistic?

Citizenship Score (-8 to +8)

If a social score (from -8 to +8) is self-awarded to a person after a mindful act self-assessed with a Citizenship Score, it would be informative to self-ask how he or she would rate his or her level of Selfishness to Unselfishness, from -4 to +4. This is of course a subjective and qualitative self evaluation, but over time, the self assessment will still provide a valuable indicator of self improvement.

Then the two numbers, the social score and the self rating of Unselfishness, would be two useful statistics. They can be also visualized as statistical distributions or a statistical mean value of the person doing the self assessment or for a group of people if the data are collected for people in different groups, socially or culturally. If both the social score and the self-assessed Unselfish index for a population are plotted as a statistical distribution on top of the chart, as shown in the following chart, for two different years, the improvement would be noticeable.

This approach would also be used for comparing different groups of people over the same year of study, for example, to see if culture makes a difference.





Close Friends, and

Bonded Friends   ( This last one is akin to the Chinese male bonding of Yi Qi )


April 2023 Stephen Lee sent to Billy and James:

Billy to Stephen, and James:

Just realized that the ARROWS Stephen introduced in the charts are truly essential to our research Why they move in a certain direction to start with ?  What triggers ? What encourages ? Why slow down, stop, or turn around.?  Even turn around again ?  How can that be facilitated etc. etc. etc. ?

Stephen to Billy and James:

The attached picture is my answer to Bill today about the different steps to change my own behavior from antagonistic to compassionate. I suppose there are other ways to get there

James Luce to Stephen and Billy:

Not sure that Antagonistic is the correct word in this context.

Billy to Stephen:

Your Graphic is Fabulous. You are basically a Good Person with A Good Conscience, Stephen. Some people lack a Good Conscience. Yes,how can we build Good Conscience ?

May I suggest that you illuminate more about the ARROWs you showed in your earlier chart ?  Each directive arrow may represent first One’s Conscience, then Mindfulness, Reflection, and Commitment – all your words ?

Come up again with some amazing Stephen Lee graphics !


Deepening Friendship and Bonding, Pursuing FUN & CREATIVE Ideas Together. Compassion vs Fear

Three Friends: Bill or Billy ( an Architect ), James ( a lawyer ), and Stephen ( an Electrical Engineer ), were having fun lately – playing psychologists and seeking Truth and Meaning about COMPASSION.

Below is a report by Stephen which illustrates their recent collective FUN & CREATIVE Pursuit.

Mindfulness Turns Fear to Compassion

The following four Charts were built on ideas and works of three friends. More immediately, some of the ideas came from my friends Bill Lee and James Luce, and I simply internalized them with my personal philosophy to combine the two charts into one. This figure shows the two original charts. The upper right one came from Bill’s readings on Compassion. The lower left chart was created by James at the request of Bill.

I recognized that both charts have two axes and that if the value of the horizontal axis of one chart is rephrased to be the opposite of the value of the other horizontal axis, then both charts become connected. The same reasoning suggests that the two vertical axes can also be rephrased so that the two charts can be interpreted as a single chart. This thought results in the following chart. The horizontal axis ranges from High Feeling of Threat to You, to Low Feeling of Threat to You, and then crosses over the vertical axis to Low Feeling of Needs from You, and then to High Feeling of Needs from You.

The vertical axis ranges from High degree of Selfishness from the bottom of the chart to High degree of Unselfishness at the top of the chart. Then a color scale is painted on each little square of the chart to start from Red to represent an extreme feeling of threat and selfishness which causes the primitive reptilian brain in humans to attack out of fear and survival instinct. The color changes towards the Green color representing compassion at the upper right corner of the chart.

Then the second chart was created by adding three application cases to illustrate how Mindfulness can help a person to modify the reflex instinct of fear and survival towards the humanistic behavior is controllable by the more evolved human brain which can make reasoned decisions according to our personal values which take into account our tradeoffs between the self and others, as well as our often-flawed instinctive awareness of the intention of the other person.

The final chart adds a fourth case to the examples. It was an actual experience yesterday while traveling in an airplane.

April 12, 2023

Stephen Lee


Compassion, Fear, Mindfulness



By Billy Lee – PA 1951

Norman Allenby, Bob Doran, Billy Lee , and George Rider met at Phillips Academy Andover as first year students in 1947. They have stayed in touch over the years and recently came together as they reached 90, to propose the launching of an Intergenerational Historically Memorable Project to commemorate Andover’s Contribution in Educating Global Teenagers. Particularly meaningful to them are Andover’s NON SIBI motto and the Diversity and Cross-cultural Inter-connectedness encouraged at this very special Melting Pot Community.

Billy understands that Andover’s “Non Sibi” means “Not For One’s Self ”. It actually implies “Non Sibi Sed Aliis” or “Not for Self but for Others” and “Non Sibi Sed Omnibus” or “Not for Self but for All”. The Bond connecting Norm, Bob, George, and Billy is not a commonly social one. They are bonded by the Spirit of Non Sibi learned at Andover. In their separate lives, each had done laudable deeds- Not for Self but for Others. Norm promoted Water Reuse. Bob promoted Culture and Art. George lifted underprivileged youths to gain better education. Billy attempted to build Good Feelings between U.S. his father and China his mother. Billy and Norm went to China together to introduce Norm’s Bio-chem Water Purification System. Bob contributed to Billy’s Chinese Children’s Environment Art Exhibitions throughout US. for two years. As our class correspondence secretary, George always mentioned Billy’s project in every PA Alumni issue.

Billy is thankful for Andover’s emphasis on the School’s Motto, in words as well as in deeds. The school is purposefully in service to its own community as well as the society at large and tries to make both more inclusive and equitable.

Billy recently recollected a few incidents at Andover when Non Sibi or True Caring was truly felt:
1  Summoned to Dean Benedict’s office. Instead of being disciplined, he was told that his father had financial difficulty, but Andover had a job for him at the Common’s Kitchen. Dean Benedict gave Billy a firm hand squeeze. Ms. Dickey, the Dean’s secretary, gave Billy the warmest smile.

2  Mrs. O’Conner from the town of Andover did laundry for Andover students. Billy was the delivery boy. She always prepared Tea and cookies for Billy. She always asked about Billy’s family in China.

3. Gordon Hammond ’50 helped Billy do his homework when Billy could not fully understand what he was reading. Gordon invited Billy to Gordon’s New Hampshire home where Billy first tasted fermented apple cyder.

4  House Master Harold Howe took Billy and a few other Andover students who couldn’t go home on Thanksgiving to go climb Mt. Monadnock in New Hampshire. Billy learned about sharing Group Fun in the Great Outdoors.

5  English Teacher, Hart Levitt, volunteered his private time to coach Billy for the Senior Essay Reading Competition. Hart Levitt’s advice: “Speak with your Heart. Never Mind too much about Correctness.” Billy shall always remember him as Mr. “HeartLevitt”.  Although the title of that Essay was ” Why I Do Not Want to Become An American Citizen ?” Billy became An American Citizen and now considers America his Father and China his Mother, and he must do what he can to sustain that Good Relationship.

6  Of course, Abbie Emmons from Abbot first taught Billy how to dance and how to explore Goodwill Friendships. Reach out and smile warmly. That’s the Non Sibi Spirit !


WE SHOULD NOT BE FRIENDS – The Story of a Friendship – by Will Schwalbe – Billy’s Thoughts:

Will Schwalbe and Chris Maxey, in my opinion, are destined to become friends.  They are both likable human beings who very much wanted to be liked. They basically believed in the value of Friendship from the start and was willing to risk the full Senior Year at Yale– two nights every week- to mix with fourteen especially diverse classmates most of whom they did not know well. BZ, Berzelius Senior or Secret Society at Yale indeed brought them together, and the BZ’s Audit tradition indeed encouraged them to explore personal differences and find beauty in the other persons.

The story focused on Will (a Nerd) and Maxey (a Jock) joining BZ. Will is also Gay while Maxey became a Navy Seal. Normally that is not going to mix well. It took time to learn about one another. It took many special moments and the right atmosphere to spark connectedness and eventually intimacy. The book described their growing friendship from Bright College Year, to Twenties and Thirties, to Midlife, Forties, Fifties, Middle Fifties, Pushing Sixty, and Coda.  I salute the two fellers for being honest and sincere – more importantly civil and respectful- and indeed their conscientious efforts to keep good vibes continuing. Each feller is intrinsically Loving and Lovable and each possessed amazing abilities and character. Their separate life stories are genuinely impressive notwithstanding.

I truly believe that The BZ Audit Tradition indeed challenged their quest to form Friendship with different contrasting personalities.  Indeed, BZ had a reputation for emphasizing Diversity. It was the first among the Secret Societies at Yale to admit Black members. It was the first to welcome Female members. I believe I was recruited partially because I came to the U.S. from Shanghai, China. The Audit Program was carefully guided, and it has been proven to be very successful. BZ’s Mission: Achieving Insight thru Open, Honest, Exchanges of Experiences – a Place for Contemplation & Reflection- Develop Good Characters, Tolerant of Others- Forging links, Mind to Mind, in a Chain Unbroken.

Place of Engagement is significant to me, an Architect. For Will and Maxey, their magic place is the Roof of the Hall. The need to climb up thru a hatch and to find open sky must have affected their mind and opened their hearts.

I also believe in Angels. For me there is clearly a Third Person in this amazing story. On top of Page 170 David Singer yelled at Will: “He’s hurting. A lot. Just fucking call him.” Will called Maxey who was in distress. Very often a Friendship is guided or saved by a caring Third Friend.      ___________________________________________________________________________+


Taken from an article by Art Salzfass – Rossmoor Ukelele Club ( RUC )

Propinquity is the phenomenon of forming a bond between people you share some physical or psychological proximity with. Creating tight interpersonal bonds with the people who are around us most often is a natural human thing. According to Wikipedia, two people living on the same floor of a building have a higher propinquity than those living on different floors.

Propinquity implies being connected. It can come from spending time in a place “where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came.” There you hang out together and become a fixture.

 A recent study found it takes about 50 hours of propinquity to make a casual friend; 90 hours to make a real friend; and about 200 hours to create a close friend.

At Rossmoor, there is one big club, the RUC, and lots of subgroups each of which meets at a different time so members get to feel they belong in many ways. Each member can be part of an extended community and has several opportunities to bond with the other members: to develop friends, to have experiences together, to share adventures, to sing and play together, to laugh together. That’s why people join; that’s why people stay. Kinship – the benefits of belonging.

BILLY”S COMMENTS: As a socially- concerned Architect, I am especially interested in the designs of such places – the physical and psychological environments for the various social activities. Architects should focus more on the design of SOCIAL GATHERING PLACES – be they Coffee Shops, bars, Gyms, Swimming Pools, Reading Rooms, etc. etc. etc.



Mike Sterling always looks for Sources of Inspirations for Billy’s January 2023

Billy learned :

With Love, Kindness, Good Companions, and Mutual Support,  we will survive the dark storms together.                                                                   



By Billy Lee – Dec. 30, 2022

Yesterday, Lucille and I were invited to a lunch party in Cupertino, California. As both of us were no longer able to drive, Harry who invited us, personally came to pick us up, took us to Alexander Steak House, then delivered us home afterward. At age near 90, he was in good physical shape, but his kind transportation offer meant miles of driving and more than two hours from his extremely valuable time. To me, that was a special expression of mutual fondness and caring friendship.

Indeed, dear relatives and old friends, are precious – especially when they make extra efforts to visit one another. Old friends, Larry and Sophia, from Lexington, Mass.– both near 90s – traveled West to spend a few days with their son and grandchildren for Christmas. They carved out a special time to gather with us last week. The gathering was possible only due to their special efforts.  So, Thank you, Larry & Sophia.

CF and Florence are our generational family friends. CF is already 96 and needs a walker to move slowly. They were here from Washington DC to visit their younger family members. They knew that Lucille and I no longer drive and will find it difficult to join any gathering outside our home. The whole Kwok Family of ten came to our home for dinner. They brought food, service, lot’s laughs, and good spirit – deepening our Generational Family Friendship.

I discovered that I did a good thing yesterday. At that lunch gathering at Alexander Streak House, fourteen people were seated around a long rectangular banquet table. The elder members sat around one end and a younger group the other end. I observed that the young generation was actually quite interested in the elders’ conversations. So before dessert was served, I moved myself to sit with them on the other end. Some Special Bonding seemed to have been initiated.



Billy:  Can we analyze them as in Architecture and Toy Design ?







                                CAN ARCHITECTURE INDUCE COMPASSION ?



By Billy Lee  – December 2022

I try to grasp the essence of causes and effects in relationships, so that I can have a reasonable compass to guide my own behavior, and I like to reduce the number of words to the minimum in defining solutions, since over-complex explanations sometime distract and even mislead our focus.

On “How To Build Trust And True Friendship?”, I have the following suggestions.

1:    You must believe that Trust and True Friendship are important in your life.

2:    You must try to be Modest and Compassionate.

3:    Never intentionally or unintentionally hurt another person –  physically,  materially, or emotionally.   Always be sensitive to the Friend’s  Pride & Honor.