On empathy and compassion

question-everything

Important to question the self when there is a demand to show compassion for another, if the self has an authentic empathy for that person, if they have the resources and ability to offer relief to the suffering of another without harm to self.

Cycling late at night through my local city centre I passed a young female sitting in the cold darkness in a shop doorway, homeless.  Our eyes met, and I was troubled at what I was seeing, how this person could be there now, my many different feelings I had at that moment.  Like a ghost, I moved on into the night, another face to her, and she another face of the many homeless I encounter each day.

 

Despite being in a period of prosperity my country of the UK, like many nations, hides the dark truth that all our public services, including welfare, have been cut to the bone, and those in the most need have fallen into homelessness and poverty in numbers not seen according to some for decades.

Both the Left Hand Path and the Right Hand Path worldviews talk about the concepts of empathy and compassion, but what does this mean in the context of that homeless person? Empathy is both a skill and quality of being able to understand the feelings and experiences of others.  Compassion proceeds from empathy by having the ability to act to help another person, especially one who is suffering.

Those of the LHP are harsh in examining our own feelings and intentions so that we avoid falling into delusion and fakery that most of the human population fall into.  My empathy was limited to seeing a vulnerable young female, and it reminded me of the many times of my own vulnerability, when I was cast out into the streets as a kid.  My empathy did not run deeper than that because I did not have any previous or other interaction with that person.

Could I have compassion for this homeless person, to act to alleviate their suffering?  No.  Firstly, all my own personal resources are tied up in my own personal crisis at this moment.  Secondly, to become involved with another person entails a high risk of becoming entangled with the many challenges of that person as this homeless person has, such as if they have bad associates or a mental illness, issues that I was not in a position to deal with.  Thirdly, I did not have the political power or influence to change the policies and attitudes that caused and maintains the suffering of this homeless person, such as welfare, high rates and property prices, lack of housing, or the lack of mental health and other social support this homeless person would need.

Because I choose to be Left Hand Path, I choose to be authentic, and I won’t act out of morality or because I feel bad. I do so in the light of understanding my limits and my true feelings.  This homeless person reminded me of my own vulnerability, it motivates me to act to alleviate their suffering, for I see in some manner that my help to that homeless person, also gives relief to me.  However, I recognised I could do nothing for this homeless person, I did not have the personal resources, or the power to influence anything, or the ability to cope with the predictable problems of getting involved with this person.  So I did nothing.  I hit my limits, and I recognise my limits.

Society is built on the process of exploitation of everything for the end goal of consumerism.  There is a risk that in helping others the individual becomes exploited and consumed, so in my opinion the individual always acts from a position of power of only acting in compassion with those they trust, and where they have the resources and ability to alleviate suffering without harm to themselves.

The individual is daily bombarded by calls upon themselves to alleviate the suffering of others, but 99% of these calls the individual can do nothing about, and if the individual does so, they risk exploitation and being drained of their resources to the extent the individual suffers harm.

It may seem cruel, but in most cases the individual does not have the resources or ability to do anything about it without suffering personal harm, it is better to not become involved.

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Embracing down to earth basics

grounded

Satanists are grounded in the reality of real human concerns.

I was underwhelmed by the NASA announcement yesterday of finding several planets that might be capable of supporting life by a nearby star.  NASA scientists justifying in the era of Trump why billions of dollars should be pumped into their space programme were excitedly telling the world about a bunch of planets that the human race had no chance of reaching; 40 billion + years of travel away by jumbo jet; 40 years away by travel at speed of light, speeds that produce forces that would destroy the human body at 1% of that speed.

As our world experts and scientists in their ivory towers argue, produce useless scientific papers and research things that have no immediate or tangible benefit to humanity or this planet, I walk through the streets of London and see homeless people freezing in winter conditions unable to get a roof over their heads.  These scientists excited about a possible ideal environment for life on another world, whilst our own world is destroyed by relentless indifference and consumerism.  In Wales hundreds of 150-200 year-old beech trees were illegally cut down to make way for an environmentally friendly solar farm, even with replanting these trees will take three human lifetimes to replace, against an activity that took hours to destroy them for short-term monetary gain.

As a Satanist I live in the real world, grounded in tangible concrete and earthly concerns about those homeless people and the loss of trees.  I am personally glad I am a Satanist rather than those blind scholars who have their priorities wrong.  Stupidity is a common trait in our rulers and experts, this is why I no longer have confidence in them, a reason why I walk my own path as my own authority as a Satanist in my own life.  Just as the rulers waste billions of $ on scientists who offer no solutions to earthly real concerns, I plant trees and buy Big Issue magazines from the homeless, and in my own small way have made a greater difference to this world than these useless rulers and experts.