Coopting Compassion

My Recent Posts

    Recently, opher asked  What is the Greatest Human Attribute .To my mind it is compassion,  but I do not wish to debate that here, it was welll done there. My concern is that it appears that compassion has been coopted.

 

A Boddhisattva is an individual who has forsaken Nirvana for the sake of the welfare of his or her fellow beings. This is an act of great compassion, one of the hallmarks of Buddhism. But let us look at how compassion is used.misused  and characterized today.

 

I have a muslim friend who I have tea with (he has coffee) every friday and one day he was very upset.  He leaned over close to me, looked me straight in the eye  and quietly said “fuck compassion”. I was startled, neither of us generally swear, but then he went on “just….hear me out”. Then he explained that his wife is a liberal  and she and her liberal nonmuslim friends get together and the next thing they come up with is that we should invade Syria because of this monstrousity Bashar al Assad. He said “ I dont give a fuck if they deport me or every other muslim in this country -IF the US would stop regime change and stop bombing the ME. Then he would simply head home. He would prefer it there.

 

According to him Compassion is the neoliberal head fake to justify regime change,  killing hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq, Syria, Lybia,….. Compassion is raising up a dead baby. claiming gas attacks,  and ordering missile strikes on Syria.  One can even watch when you hear a discussion regarding Russia meddling in our election, somehow, miraculously someone brings up the dictator Putin and how he treats his citizens, as if that has any relevance to the issue. Similarly, almost every time I hear people talk about the dangers posed by Kim Jong Un, he is referred to as a dictator   and some mention is made about the poor North Koreans, again like those issues have anything to do with our national security. Simply the word “regime” should make one suspicious of the users intentions..  Indeed,  compassion has been well used since Wilson in his Making the World Safe for Democracy campaign that has destroyed many democracies and has clearly not made the world safer.

 

On the other hand, Compassion is also protesting the dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima while ignoring the fact that we killed 500,000 people in the fire bombing of Tokyo. Moreover, you hear some say “no human is illegal” as if that makes any sense at all. Kind of like compassion means that the US has no right to determine who resides within it borders. You hear discussion of “immigrants” without any dilineation between illegal immigrants and legal immigrants, again as if there is no difference.   And then there is DACA. Listening to Democracy Now you hear many personal accounts that have nothing to do with the issue of illegal immigration. except for the human interest and its ability to mobilize compassion.  Amidst much real compassion there lives the cooptation of compassion as a political tool.

 

The  neutralization of  expressions of compassion is something that I have also observed alot lately, Evidently, there are those who have been to the deserts of Arizona, Mexico and New Mexico and still appear not to feel compassion for someone willing to risk their life and the life of their child to make that crossing.  Is there anyone here with a child who can imagine what that journey must be like and truly, in their heart, not have compassion?  I suspect not really. But that is not what you often hear. I have heard many expressing their lack of compassion for muslims in Iraq, Lybia and Syria as if their religion is why they are in the mess they are in, and in some sense deserve their suffering.   On the other hand, there is a whole political movement out there which uses this suffering to promote an agenda that has little to do with compassion either. Consequently, when you bring up compassion, sometimes you are ridiculed as some lilly livered snowflake with no sense.  Why? I suspect it is because they feel they can connect you with those using compassion illegitimately for their political goals. That, or a few less flattering reasons I can think of. 

 

Finally, with compassion coopted, it is much easier for the Elites to divide us and conquer us.  Many Liberals have no compassion and therefore no empathy for anyone who voted for Trump and many Conservatives have no compassion and therefore no empathy for those who did not. And therefore, this circus is blinding us to not only who are the real perpetuators  but their destruction of our constitution and our state before our very eyes. 

 

Mustafa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

Stone-Eater Added Jul 2, 2018 - 12:47pm
Mustafa
 
I perfectly understand your friend. And a lot of others I know too. But they're not on WB.
Stone-Eater Added Jul 2, 2018 - 12:50pm
BTW: Excellent article.
Dino Manalis Added Jul 2, 2018 - 1:52pm
 Compassion is humanly, but it's not always present, that's why morals; values; and spirituality have to nurture compassion.
opher goodwin Added Jul 2, 2018 - 1:54pm
Mustafa - thanks for the mention.
Yes it is true that compassion, like all other positive attributes, can be misused. But I'm not sure all your examples were correct.
I can fully see the argument for dropping the bomb on Hiroshima though not Nagasaki. And I would heartily condemn things like the firebombing of Dresden.
Sometimes it is difficult to see the best way forward to make a bad situation better. Bombing is rarely a good solution and what we have done in the ME has largely created the problems we are having to deal with.
Katharine Otto Added Jul 2, 2018 - 3:03pm
Mustafa,
I've been reading a lot lately about compassion.  I just finished The Power of Myth, originally a PBS documentary of a conversation between comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell and journalist Bill Moyers.  Campbell also extols the power of compassion, which he defines as "suffering with."  I looked it up and found, indeed, that the first meaning of passion is "suffering."  He mentions Jesus as well as the boddisattvas, those who voluntarily participate in the "fragmentation of time" to alleviate others' suffering.  
 
I'm not sure it helps anyone to suffer with them and in fact, may make it worse.  While misery loves company, so does joy.  In fact, there seems to be a sort of competition for the role of most miserable.  
 
I can't justify war or bombing of anyone under the pretense of compassion, and your Muslim friend is right to condemn the hypocrisy of those who claim it.  Often it seems the best you can do for someone who is suffering is to be present, emotionally, and not to fear the pain.
 
I still say love in a universal sense is large enough to contain compassion, and those who have both can feel sad about all the pain caused by war and political struggle without choosing sides.
MEFOBILLS Added Jul 2, 2018 - 4:51pm
Mustafa et al,
 
The truly cynical pull on our heartstrings with "compassion" to then effect their cynical plots.
 
The better context to this is psychopathy.  Psychopaths are some 3% of the population, and they appear as humans.  They are not.  The 1% figure is not accurate.
 
Their brains are wired differently than humans.  The don't have the same human emotions, and have even learned to feign emotion in order to swim the crowd.
 
This is probably shocking to many of you here at WB who are steeped in the mantra "we are all the same" and everything is relative.  Reject your false programming.   
 
There are plenty of examples of using children i.e. the white helmet gas attacks in Syria, or babies floating up on the beach, or babies being taken out of incubators in Kuwait, or Sandy Hook and so on.  
 
Only psychopaths are able to cynically use these kinds of ploys to manipulate normal people.  
 
Fortunately, today we can brain scan for psychopathy:
 
psychopaths
 
Sorry, psychos have to be removed from positions where they can do damage - especially as we human's now have the ability to destroy ourselves.  This also means that every "vote" is not equally valid, and hence democracy as it is today, is probably not the best form of government.
 
Also, as I have pointed out, there is psychopathy indurated into some religions.  Those religions that have triggers and switches built into them, to then convert (as necessary) their adherents into killers - this is diabolical and only can come from a psychopathic mind.  This means that religions are not equal.
 
You have to pass judgement, and it needs to be from a place of moral rectitude as there are absolutes in the world.  
 
MEFOBILLS Added Jul 2, 2018 - 5:06pm
By the way, there are now 40,000 sealed indictments.  
So, "humans" are fighting back, there is some room for hope.
sealed indictments
 
EXPAT Added Jul 2, 2018 - 7:31pm
Yes Mustafa. Progressives cloak their delusion by calling it compassion, but it, and they are a fraud.
When you do not think your actions to their conclusion, you can do great harm in the name of compassion. Buying Heroine for your addicted daughter because she is in withdrawal, only prolongs her agony!
 
I agree with your friend; Fuck Compassion". Islam MUST experience a reformation! Blaming the USA for their acceptance of slaughter by 3% of their deluded fundamentalists, is tantamount to accepting a drug addicted daughter.
His delusion about events in Syria, ARE his wife's Liberal delusions! You both should be on hot chocolate, the drink of Liberals!
True compassion, is helping someone be the best he can be!
 
Mustafa Kemal Added Jul 2, 2018 - 10:22pm
Katharine, thanks for your comments. Similarly to Love, compassion is something that many of us think we understand but I suggest few do. And of those that think they know what it means I suggest that many of those disagree.
 
re:”I'm not sure it helps anyone to suffer with them and in fact, may make it worse.  While misery loves company, so does joy.  In fact, there seems to be a sort of competition for the role of most miserable. “
 
I totally agree. To speak of compassion as "suffering" is, to my mind, adverse to the Buddha way, in that, as I interpret his teachings, suffering is essentially self created. The pain that caused it is not. So when i think of compassion I do not wish to suffer with them, instead I am bringing them into what I
would say is Us instead of Them.
 
Love is good for me too.
 
Mustafa
 
Mustafa Kemal Added Jul 2, 2018 - 10:24pm
MEFOBILLS,
thank you for the response, I always like to read what you have to say.
 
re:”The truly cynical pull on our heartstrings with "compassion" to then effect their cynical plots.
 
The better context to this is psychopathy”
 
Im not sure where you got that quote from, but your response regarding psychopaths seems to apply to almost everyone in congress since it is they that allow our regime change activities under this fasod.
 
As for these sealed indictments, if they ever come out, I sure do look forward to hearing about them.  
 
Mustafa
Mustafa Kemal Added Jul 2, 2018 - 10:27pm
EXPAT, you are the first person I thought would respond to a post on compassion. As usual you are your typical joyful self. 
 
re:”When you do not think your actions to their conclusion, you can do great harm in the name of compassion.”
 
Yes, that is true, but I was speaking of when you are doing great harm “when you do think your actions to their conclusions” because that is your objective. 
 
re:”Blaming the USA for their acceptance of slaughter by 3% of their deluded fundamentalists, is tantamount to accepting a drug addicted daughter.
His delusion about events in Syria, ARE his wife's Liberal delusions! You both should be on hot chocolate, the drink of Liberals!”
 
I saw a post of  your on dialectic and, having interacted with you before, I thought it was kind of funny, with your rampant use of adhominem and emotional language.
 
re:”agree with your friend; Fuck Compassion””
He did not mean it sincerely. He was referring to this coopted version. He was engaging in a dialectic. Its something the two of us take pleasrure in.  Somehow I suspect you mean the real thing. 
 
re:”True compassion, is helping someone be the best he can be!”
 
True compassion is compassion,  so you dont need the modifier. Actually, THAT is  closely related to the essence of the post. Anyway, indeed that is part of it, IMO.  We agree on something. 
 
Mustafa
Spartacus Added Jul 3, 2018 - 12:18am
Nice Mustafa.  Compassion has its limits as a credible human emotion.
Anyone who would attribute an emotion to the "greatest human attribute" is a kool-aid drinker. 
 
There is no single attribute which is the greatest.  Hell, hands and opposable thumbs are pretty amazing.  A frontal cortex has been profoundly useful for primates.  How about the spoken language.  
 
The left has lost their friggin minds.
Flying Junior Added Jul 3, 2018 - 3:00am
Sorry I can't participate in this phony high-five for conservatives.  Obama never once made a move to topple Bashar al Assad.
 
If the wife of your friend is talking about regime change at the hands of the U.S. military, it is only that and no more.
 
Absolutely nothing to do whatsoever with compassion.  I'm not even convinced that Dick Cheney toppled Hussein out of compassion.
 
Yes, there was a time when the U.S. supported the revolutionaries in Syria.  But the only bombs being dropped at that time were dropped by the Syrian military against their own people.
 
The election of the monster signalled the end to any U.S. support of Syrian freedom fighters.  Trump made it quite clear that he fully intended to support Assad and his ally, Russia.  So, it's not really much of an issue any more.
 
Check back on your twenty-first century history, if you will.  It was not liberals who brought about regime change in Afghanistan and Iraq.
 
No.  Not buying into this particular line of bullshit.  But go ahead,  Make fun of liberals and their misplaced compassion.
MEFOBILLS Added Jul 3, 2018 - 3:19am
It was not liberals who brought about regime change in Afghanistan and Iraq.
 
It was neo-cons.
 
Neo-Cons were part of the Democratic party, then they invaded the Republican party during the Reagan administration.  The continued to metastasize and grow like a tumor and infiltrated both Clinton and GWB administrations.  They were especially prominent in GWB.
 
Obama did nothing about them.  Trump is still surrounded.
 
Neo-Cons are Jews for the most part.  These particular Jews are almost all descendants from Eastern Europe immigration wave from 1880 to 1926.  This would be from Poland and Pale of Settlement.  The 1926 immigration cut-off was because this group was such a pain in the ass, they were trying to Bolshevize the country and get their own state.  
 
Neo-Con's are pathologically war-like and ALSO LIBERAL socially.  The Republican party tolerated them because they were hard on Communism.
 
When Stalin had nationalized communism in the late 40's our Jewish friends in America turned on the communists because it was no longer "international."
 
Yes, the neo-cons despite their name are truly liberal in their ideology.  They are the party of invade the world, invite the world.  They are the party of rape the world for resources and to promote Zion.  They are the party of Frankfurt skool cultural communism of which liberals have been duped to go along with.
MEFOBILLS Added Jul 3, 2018 - 3:28am
I think we can safely label most neo-cons as psychopaths, or at least sociopaths.  
Flying Junior Added Jul 3, 2018 - 3:28am
Blame the Jews!
MEFOBILLS Added Jul 3, 2018 - 4:09am
Prove my definition of Neo-Con's incorrect. 
Mustafa Kemal Added Jul 3, 2018 - 8:30am
William, 
re:"Nice Mustafa.  Compassion has its limits as a credible human emotion.
Anyone who would attribute an emotion to the "greatest human attribute" is a kool-aid drinker. "
 
Anyone who regularly uses adhominems and emotional language has serious limits themselves.
Anyway, compassion as I understand and use it is not an emotion, like Love is not an emotion but an action. Being ruled by ones emotions can lead one to adhominal outbursts and irrationality.  It is one of the foundations of Buddhism.  
 
For example, regarding irrationality and emotion,
"Hell, hands and opposable thumbs are pretty amazing. "
Indeed, your point? 
 
re:"A frontal cortex has been profoundly useful for primates. "
Indeed, your point?
 
re:"There is no single attribute which is the greatest."
Again,, your point? How is that related to this post?
 There indeed is another post here where the greatest was being discussed. Maybe you got lost.
 
re:"The left has lost their friggin minds."
This is possible, but I am not sure the relevance here.
 
 This post  was about compassion being coopted.  
Maybe whatever your drinking is affecting your ability to pay attention.
 
Mustafa
 
 
 
 
Mustafa Kemal Added Jul 3, 2018 - 8:31am
MEFOBILLS,
re:"It was not liberals who brought about regime change in Afghanistan and Iraq.
 
It was neo-cons."
 
I agree. Nevertheless, they still used the Evil Saddam trick.
 
 
TexasLynn Added Jul 3, 2018 - 10:06am
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.  That is indeed a proverb proven by the left as they repeatedly fail to even remotely consider the consequences of their ideas and actions.  I would say we on the right are a lot better at this (and we are), but it’s like saying my pig is prettier and cleaner than your pig.
Spartacus Added Jul 3, 2018 - 11:38am

compassion as I understand and use it is not an emotion
 
Mustafa.  Perhaps you should review the definition of compassion.  Or perhaps having more sympathy (compassion) for those that comment here would support your argument.  Rather, your comments suggest you have not the faintest clue about sympathy or compassion.
 
Maybe whatever your drinking is affecting your ability to pay attention.
 
A word-salad earlier . . . 
 
Anyone who regularly uses adhominems and emotional language has serious limits themselves.

LOL.  I would take that argument more seriously if you at least spelled ad hominem correctly.
 
Listen, I still agree with the article in spite of your badgering those that compliment your work.  But you leave little option for guys like me in the future.  muhahahaha
Mustafa Kemal Added Jul 3, 2018 - 12:05pm
William,
re:LOL.  I would take that argument more seriously if you at least spelled ad hominem correctly."
I will work on my spelling. Ryan points that out to me alot also.
 
But again, we are still not on the topic of the post.
 
Mustafa
 
Spartacus Added Jul 3, 2018 - 12:16pm
But again, we are still not on the topic of the post.
 
Who is "we"?  
The evil Mustafa and the compassionate Mustafa encompassed in one marginally literate composer?
I suggest both of you go find a more placid environment to resolve your conflicts.
Mustafa Kemal Added Jul 3, 2018 - 12:22pm
William, we -you and I. 
 
Your comments and my responses to them were not on topic.
 
Now I am evil? Erfff.
 
 
 
 
Spartacus Added Jul 3, 2018 - 12:36pm
Your comments and my responses to them were not on topic.
 
An earlier comment from you:
Maybe whatever your drinking is affecting your ability to pay attention.
 
I do not drink alcohol anymore.  But I appreciate you diverting the article to something completely off-topic.  I now understand you better Mustafa.  It is a shame we would agree on most topics.  However, it will be my pleasure, in the future, to be a more critical contributor to your work.  haha
Katharine Otto Added Jul 3, 2018 - 4:36pm
Mustafa,
Back on topic, if I may . . .
I agree that few understand or can define love or compassion, especially since we see so few examples of it in public life.  You make an interesting distinction between pain and suffering.  
 
Mefobills,
I watched the TED tape on psychopathy, then looked for it as a diagnosis in DSM-V.  The DSM-V is far from a scientific treatise of objectivity, and you cannot do brain scans for psychopathy or any other psychiatric diagnosis.  In fact, it is a "qualifier" for a disorder called "Antisocial Personality Disorder."  As Ronsen (sp?) notes in the TED talk, the DSM has been growing diagnoses since the first edition came out in 1952.  It is very political and determined by committee.  The psychiatric establishment has worked hard to establish itself as an "evidence-based" scientific specialty, but Ronsen is right that it has pathologized normal human emotion to the point of (I think) ridiculousness.  Psychiatric diagnoses are tossed around like any other label, but with the pseudo-scientific terminology that can carry a greater sting.
MEFOBILLS Added Jul 3, 2018 - 5:35pm
Katharine,
Also watch Jim Fallon's Ted Talk, it is at the same link.  This will help round out your view.  He invented the technique.
Mustafa Kemal Added Jul 3, 2018 - 5:41pm
William,
 
re:"An earlier comment from you:
Maybe whatever your drinking is affecting your ability to pay attention."

 But I appreciate you diverting the article to something completely off-topic."
 
Indeed it was off the topic of the post -it was a response to where you began:
"Anyone who would attribute an emotion to the "greatest human attribute" is a kool-aid drinker. "
 
 
 
 
Ward Tipton Added Jul 4, 2018 - 10:10am
I like grape flav-r-aid ... 
 
I am not a psychopath, though as a domineering and definitive alpha male type ... and also being highly introverted, I have often been accused of being a psychopath. However, I do have a great deal of compassion, just not for humanity. 
Mustafa Kemal Added Jul 4, 2018 - 11:45am
Ward, was grape the flav-r at Jonestown?
Ward Tipton Added Jul 4, 2018 - 10:23pm
Yup Mustafa ... it was indeed Grape Flav-R-Aid ... though I do not remember the exact spelling. 
Spartacus Added Jul 5, 2018 - 5:25pm
Mustafa: Ward, was grape the flav-r at Jonestown?
 
So much for diverting back to the topic . . . idiot.
Pardero Added Jul 9, 2018 - 7:50pm
Mustafa,
Thoughtful observations, as always.
I always believed that the cynical contrived compassion was just a tool to help sell foreign entanglements to the masses, especially to those that require a salve for their conscience.

Recent Articles by Writers Mustafa Kemal follows.