- Your argument, correct me if I'm wrong, is this: We are naturally capable of compassion, but most of the time we are trained out of it by living in the wrong kind of society. In order to feel compassion we must live in a society that has universal agreement about foundations, in which simple things like food and shelter are wished for by all for all, a society that allows each individual to freely improvise a life upon that foundation, living out the story of a private search for love and friendship. Failing or succeeding at our own individual elaborations on shared foundations we can understand what it is for others when they fail or succeed. We sympathize with their loss and share the glory of their success. So far so good?
- A society that does not allow for compassion, which educates against it, is of the opposite form. There is no shared foundation; instead individuals play roles that have nothing in common with each other and take no responsibility for each other. In the practice of those roles there is a search to discover the fixed laws that governs relations between roles, the goal being getting the maximum profit out of those known relations. Lives are occupied with of the practice of the assigned or chosen role and search for maximum benefit out of role relations. Other individuals are nothing outside the benefit and loss from acting with them, and for this reason there is no room for sympathy. Still good?
- Communism, where the state produces and distributes everything, Free Market Capitalism, where each individual seeks to maximize benefit from a fixed process of exchange, both equally produce societies that educate out the possibility of sympathy. Radical sociologists say hierarchical societies, societies of more or less powerful roles, are bad because they lead to domination of the led by the leaders, no matter whether leaders are voluntarily chosen in elections or take power by force; they say horizontal societies are good because they do without leaders who always will turn against us. I think your argument explains why this happens. Leaders turn against us because they have no sympathy for us.
- Simple as that?
- Simple as that.
- The poor, when they live simple lives, share their shelter and food with each other; upon that secure foundation some at least live lives that are stories of unselfish heroism. But that's not what we see in the destitute in Westwood Village*, cut off from society and from each other, sleeping on the street pavements or in their seats at cafes. Like the indifferent society that has ejected them, they accept the roles forced upon them, and seek how most efficiency to manage their roles in relation to the world at large.
- We're accustomed to thinking our choice is between a good, simple but poor life and a bad complicated life of wealth. We're surprised to see the penalty of meaningless life supposed to be paid by the wealthy imposed on the poor who have none of the benefits of wealth, and we're even more surprised that the poor are so easily induced to accept their situation and attempt even with enthusiasm to flourish in it.
- The poor of Westwood study the best benches to sleep on, where they can get free food and clothes, which places of business tolerate them and for how long and which places don't.
- In other words, wealth, luxury, display can not be corrupting in themselves since the same kind of corrupt lives they support exist also in the most extreme poverty.
- The economics of the society function as a sort of concentration camp to dehumanize those who would live lives of love on a foundation of sharing, bringing the behavior of the holdouts into alignment with the majority.
Poetry Of No Compassion
Compassion & The Story
How To Read Plato's Republic
You Have To Have A Story
* A Place For Themselves In Other People's Places,