Compassion always a need

We live in a time and era where the collective consciousness is that of constant transition — the old and outdated is rapidly replaced with the new and modern. Old ideas are cast aside for updated ways of thinking and doing; the modern age is fast, endlessly applicable and ever on the verge of obsolescence.

We’re coming together as a planet. Globalization is bringing us closer ... right?

Hardly. Commerce and technology are poor substitutes for soul.

For all of the “globalization” in this world, there has been increased social disconnect, especially in developed nations. Not just in the technology we use or how we use it, but in the assessment the collective consciousness has in regards to the larger purpose.

Yet for as commonly social observers point out this fragmentation, they are remarkably quiet in proposing solutions to it, and nearly silent in why humans should seek to avoid it. They do not ask the transcendent question behind the chatter.

But it must be asked. What brings people together?

The answer is very simple: compassion.

Compassion: That word conjures up many different meanings for many different people. For the cynics, it is a noble weakness. For the starry-eyed, it is a way of life. For those of us in between, compassion has a complex, daily and universal meaning.

All of us need compassion in some way or another. Much of our lives are dedicated, consciously or subconsciously, to finding compassion, for ourselves, for others, etc. We seek it because it is necessary for contentment and we seek it in other humans because that is where it’s often the most visible.

Yet does something so intrinsically human really belong to humanity?

Without humanity, there would be no human concept of “compassion,” yes. But something so pervasive, so ancient, so pure, belongs to existence itself if solely for the transcendence it offers. Compassion may be a human concept, but it exists beyond us.

Compassion does not begin and end with us; it simply is. Our task is to find it wherever it manifests, to secure it for our own contentment and put forth our own compassion into the world at large to continue its cycle.

Love, charity, empathy, heroism; all are among the finest aspects of the human experience, and all stem from compassion. They are individual enactments of what drives us all, but which none of us truly own. Compassion, like matter itself, cannot be created or destroyed, kept or spent; again, it simply is.

Technologies come and go, as do pop-sociological sensibilities. But the underlying connector of the human experience, from inception to present, is compassion. We act as we do because of it, and therefore live under its long shadow.

In short, compassion is everything. So show some.

Alex is going the distance at alexander.petrusek@asu.edu


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