The Virtue is Compassion and the Saboteur is Punitive.

Compassion teaches us that pain is pain, regardless of the circumstances.

Generally speaking, when we are children, our parents teach us to be kind and polite. We are taught how to speak respectfully, how to treat animals with kindness and how to treat the elderly with compassion. We learn to share with our siblings and friends, and we learn how to share household duties, like doing the dishes and picking up after ourselves.

When we become adults and live away from home, we exercise our adult rights to speak disrespectfully to one another, to forget to be patient with the elderly, and to refuse to share household duties or even to share our money. We have the right to be cynical, impolite and even down right disrespectful. We can choose not to be kind or patient with one another. 

We guide children to be intelligent and kind because compassionate living requires the intelligence of self control. Usually we think we can teach people self control by punishing them, but if you beat a child so they will learn to stop having a tantrum, the probabilities of them becoming punitive in the future rises. Do we teach little ones to beat animals or yell disrespectful words to their Grandparents? 

Inherently, we all know that corrective measures work best when they are dispensed with compassion. If I refuse to dispense medical care to someone merely because they do not have money and I humiliate them during my refusal, no good will come from that. It may even make me feel that health care is a privilege and not a human right. If I refuse to educate someone due to a technicality and I tell them that education is a privilege and not a human right, I may not be contributing to a healthy society in the future.

You get the idea. We do not have to be kind or compassionate with one another, although we do want our children to be taught to have the intelligence to have good self control and to be good to one another.

Throughout history, we have many examples of humans choosing punitive processes to get their own selfish ends met in the guise of compassion. The Native Americans were offered blankets as gifts, and those blankets had purposefully been exposed to small pox. People have been tortured and killed by religious and secular people alike to make the planet a better place to live in.

We routinely humiliate those who are different from us, not only because of race and religion, but because they live in poverty, or they are under educated, or because they have the audacity to ask fortunate humans for protection from their governments. We do not want to see humans who are suffering from unfortunate circumstances. We jail the mentally ill on a regular basis, we shun the homeless, and we are weary of the elderly.

What compassion and punitiveness have in common is sorrow. When someone is suffering from sorrow, we can extend compassionate solutions or we can extend punitiveness measures because they have asked for help.    

Having financial and educational wealth is a good thing. Sharing that intelligent wealth to find compassionate solutions to starvation, poverty, addiction and violence is not only possible, but it is the mark of a highly advanced society.

Peace be with you.




2 Responses

  1. Thanks for this, I’ve been less than compassionate lately to my sick brother. Makes me so sad to see him in his state. You always inspire me Jacqueline

  2. Thank you for writing about compassion. I will share this. If everyone shared it, it might remind the country of its original ideals as well as ourselves. It is easy to be hard on others and oneself.

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