Friday, December 23, 2016

compassionate misanthropy

One can hate all of humanity, still noting the progress of people being slightly less awful to each other.  I support everyone at least vaguely moving in that direction.  In the US, we have these two parties, increasingly splintering off into entirely different cultures.  Even people who don't give a damn about politics, predominantly surrounded by one group or the other.

Republicans are worse, as they say.  It's not an easy point to refute.  In my frustration with Democrats, I have tried.  Maybe they're not the same, but complicit.  Is it really worse to be the executioner, than the guy who brings him the axe?  Well yeah, it kind of is.  Get to know them as people, and generally, the guy carrying the axe is more redeemable.. but when you've seen him help behead countless people, that can seem a distinction without a difference.

I have been deeply troubled, all my life, by all the people in the world being awful to each other.  People, most of all, but all of life, really.  I can't watch a lion take down a meal, a cat catch a bird, or a hunter shooting for sport, without feeling sick.  As a kid, I remember seeing a worm that had made it's way out of the grass, onto the sidewalk where it would dry out and die.  As I moved to help it back to safety, a millipede bolted out of nowhere and chomped into the worm.  I was horrified to realize how incredibly helpless the worm was, in a world that not only doesn't care, but often seems quite enthusiastic in its brutality.  I just heard of "screw worms" a few weeks back, apparently sieging Florida.  Fucking hell, why does anything like this even exist?

Course, I know why.  As close as we can come to understanding anything of the world around us, I can see the causal chain that makes life like this.  Always trying to work out the details, but just as I don't understand all the calculations that go into the physics of gravity, I basically understand why things fall.

The scope of it all is overwhelming.  Does any of it matter?  If I shouldn't suffer empathy for a dog being abused on the other side of the planet, why should I suffer it for people close to me, for people within our borders, within our communities, our families, or even ourselves?  This is only natural, chemical reactions, reacting to their environment, but this does not mean it's logical.  It doesn't mean that there need be any rational justification for it.

If we aspire to think, and act, based on reason above all else, we should at least be able to face that direction, in spite of these chemical reactions, right?  Or do we just admit that we're not governed by reason at all, that we're just puppets being hopelessly helplessly jerked around?  When taken to its logical conclusion, such an enlightened person should be able to look upon any suffering, anywhere, any time.  This is just life.  It is what it is.. but that does not seem compassionate.  That would seem its exact opposite.

Are there people who have reached that level of spiritual awakening?  It must be an awakening of sorts, because it's simply the awareness of what's true.  Compassion itself might be antithetical to that, and the very concept of enlightenment, if it's to be taken at all seriously, can't be predicated on staying in the dark.  So, when people act so deeply indiscriminately, then they must honestly have no problem with others thinking that they're assholes for it, right?  Being hurt by that, but not all the far worse suffering around would be awfully hypocritical.  Yet to be indifferent would mean being a psychopath.

If there is anyone in the world to have honestly attained that level of awareness, genuinely, honestly, without being a psychopath, I'd sure like to ask them a few things.

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