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October
12
2009
9:57 am
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What is it with the rash of compassion?

The definition of compassion

  • a deep awareness of and sympathy for another’s suffering
  • the humane quality of understanding the suffering of others and wanting to do something about it
  • Since when does compassion mean “removal of consequences”? 

    Let me take a moment to say…. Nature is awesome.

    (stick with me for a minute).

    Nature, whether created or come about by chance, has survival down pat.  It knows how to make winners.  Nature doesn’t tolerate the weak nor the stupid.  The compassionless ice adheres to all the tree branches in the winter and the heartless wind breaks off the ones that can’t withstand the weight of life.  If the grasshopper doesn’t store up enough food, it dies.  There are no Extinction Committees among the animals.

    In Forrest Carter’s The Education of Little Tree, he writes:

    “Don’t feel sad, Little Tree. It is The Way. Tal-con [the hawk] caught the slow [quail] and so the slow will raise no children who are also slow. Tal-con eats a thousand ground rats who eat the eggs of the quail — both the quick and the slow eggs — and so Tal-con lives by the Way. He helps the quail. … Take only what ye need. When ye take the deer, do not take the best. Take the smaller and the slower and then the deer will grow stronger and always give you meat. … Only Ti-bi, the bee, stores more than he can use… and so he is robbed by the bear, and the ‘coon… and the Cherokee. It is so with people who store and fat themselves with more than their share. They will say a flag stands for their right to do this… and men will die because of the words and the flag… but they will not change the rules of The Way.”

    Sadly, our society has interrupted Nature’s wisdom.  We have replaced the concept of compassion, which should be limited to “a deep awareness” and/or “sympathy for” with some sort of edict that we prevent failure at all costs.  Without consequences from failure, we do not improve.  We have no incentive.

    We see it in our children, with the eradication of First Place Trophies.  Instead, we give “Participation” awards to everyone, and people who try harder or who accomplish more don’t get the recognition they deserve.  We rejoice in our collective mediocrity.

    We see it in our government, with the inhuman and prolific handing out of free resources.  One of the worst things you can do to a human is remove his need to provide for himself.  Atrophy is the great killer of minds and souls.  When a person receives good will from another person directly, there is joy and compassion, and a required stigma for the recipient to improve themselves.  When a person receives a check from a cold hard brick building, there is entitlement and laziness.

    We see it in our taxes, with automatic withholding.  If citizens had to pay a check at the end of the month to the Government, along with rent, food, clothing, transportation and entertainment, they may pay better attention as to what “the government” pays for and instead realize it’s what “we” pay for.

    We see it in our jobs, with Affirmative Action.  If someone doesn’t hire someone because of the color of their skin, they need to be disciplined and fired.  Other than that, may the best person for the job be hired; quotas be damned.

    We see it in the bailouts, with TARP and Auto companies, and AIG and banks and airlines and mortgage companies and paper companies. What’s next?  Newspapers?  Radio Stations?  There is no “too big to fail.”

    When my child spills some milk on accident, I don’t clean it up for him just because he didn’t mean to spill the milk.  He still has to clean up the milk.  Otherwise, he won’t think it’s important to avoid spilling next time.

    We need to wake up.  We need to let failure have it’s turn again.  Don’t get in Nature’s way.  She will do her job whether you go along with it or not.

    Nature has some culling to do.

    And lo, the people did comment thus:

    10 Comments

    1. Finn says:

      While I agree with the majority of what you’re saying, I feel compelled to point out that the government shouldn’t let babies die because their parents can’t feed them. That being said, anything we do to help those people should help them out of poverty, not trap them in it.

      The problem I have with letting people pay taxes at the end of the month/year is that there are many stupid people out there that cannot manage their bills as it is. The government would spend a lot more time and money chasing these fools who spent all of their earnings rather than putting it aside for taxes. Then where would we be?
      .-= Finn´s last blog ..To Be Or Not To Be =-.

    2. marilyn says:

      As is generally the case, we agree on things at a basic level and disagree about particulars.

      All that said, it is good to remember that social animals like humans evolved compassion (including looking out for the weak) as a survival mechanism.

      There should be winners and losers and losing should be painful but I’m not sure that somebody who’s never lost should be allowed to arbitrarily decide the level of pain for those who loose. All those who can’t afford health care should die? No. All those who can’t afford health care should not be able to go to the doctor for a common cold or order unnecessary tests or get treatments that aren’t absolutely necessary? Yes. Now, who decides what’s unnecessary and how do we create a system that does have the kind of winners and losers that you want without regularly sentencing the poor to death or severe debilitation? That seems to be the problem.

      What we have is broken and keeping it is not an option even if there is a segment of the population that likes it broken.
      .-= marilyn´s last blog ..Yay! =-.

    3. Ren says:

      I feel I must point out that even in the parable you quoted, they take excess from the bees, without relying on the bees’ charity. And if you asked the bees, I doubt they would feel like they were greedy hoarders….
      .-= Ren´s last blog ..Macro Monday #31 =-.

    4. Sybil Law says:

      I agree with you on so many levels (esp. with how kids are being raised and sports teams, etc.), but I adhere to a more Jesus -like philosophy, and I am pretty sure I don’t need quotes here to tell you what those are.
      Also, I think the more fortunate you are, the more you should give back.
      I really need to stop now. 🙂
      .-= Sybil Law´s last blog ..FOF =-.

    5. Hilly says:

      While I agree that we take compassion too far at times and do not make offenders suffer the consequences of their actions, the rest I’m not so sure about. I’m way more of a hippie dippie though so that stands to reason.

      I think that Affirmative Action is important because this country is still rife with racism in some parts, even though we’d like to think otherwise. I think that welfare and free indigent health care are important because, as Finn said, a child cannot help themselves nor can they help the predicament in which their parents put them. I don’t think participation awards can squash the natural drive of any student yet can definitely make someone who may never win anything feel a little better about themselves.

      There’s not a lot of kindness attached to “natural selection” and while I don’t believe in coddling and fostering an attitude that people don’t have to take care of themselves or be responsible for their actions, I do believe that the world needs a helluva lot more compassion, even in politics.

    6. Avitable says:

      Pfft, how can I take anything you say seriously when you can’t even use the right version of “its”?
      .-= Avitable´s last blog ..The Office Wedding Dance =-.

    7. martymankins says:

      It’s from the times we fail that it drives us to be better.

      I think we may actually be on the same page with some things here. I was ready for General Motors to go under. It wasn’t the taxpayers fault that they were broke and out of money. No lesson was learned on that, IMO.
      .-= martymankins´s last blog ..iPhone Monopoly =-.

    8. Robin says:

      I agree with a lot of this.
      .-= Robin´s last blog ..I Am Me =-.

    9. Faiqa says:

      Just because something works in nature doesn’t mean it works on a social and institutional level. Did you know that male bears will eat their young if they’re hungry enough?

      I do agree with your point about “collective mediocrity,” though. Because, you know, I’m a *winner*. 🙂

    10. Ginger says:

      Great post. I believe we each must strive to find the balance between compassion and allowing for the harsh reality of consequences to prevail.

      On a personal note, I am thankful that the government “handouts” were around during my temporary time of need. Not all of us are trying to take advantage.
      .-= Ginger´s last blog ..Feel Good Friday: To The Moon! =-.

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