Sunday, June 18, 2017

"Humanitarianism"

I feel that one reliable marker that one has reached the deepest, most difficult inner content to process is that one feels an immediate need for universal compassion, and to save the world.

I will use my Hoffman rules and use I here.  What I have found, for myself, is that those of us blessed and cursed with a lot of emotional baggage, with unprocessed grief and trauma, confusion about what love is and how one finds it, who early in life start reading self help and psychology, and spiritual and even religious texts obsessively, quite often realize at a certain point that we have learned more catch phrases, bits of psychological "insight", and the outer trappings of wisdom, that we can get away with lecturing others.

More: we--I--being gifted with a high degree of intelligence, developed the ability to seem wise, even while the concrete details of my life--financial, social, romantic--went poorly maintained or even completely unattended.

In my own case, I think I have been able to continue past this realm of self delusion, and am now confronting the facts, the actual facts, of who I really am.  And it is hard.

It is far easier to put on a benevolent face, and be the voice in people's lives that "get" them.  It is far easier to use what in most cases really is at least some real insight, to offer "compassion".

Here is the thing, though: for a great many people "compassion" is really an aggression.  As even Rousseau recognized, in adding this word--to our great detriment, in aggregate and over time--to our political lexicon, compassion is inherently a claim of moral superiority.  It is pity, more or less, and we only pity the helpless and our inferiors.  And in pitying them, we unconsciously allow the expression of a latent sense of superiority, which in comforting conflicted egoes creates a sort of salve that makes life easier.

It is, in other words, easy to get addicted to compassion.  It is an easy drug.

But what this does is distract from the continuation of honest inner work.  An addiction to compassion per se is not my personal issue, but the idea of saving the world IS a problem for me.  Me against the world.  Heroic struggles, and uncomprehending masses.  It is romantic and attractive, and I am not saying that I don't have ideas which might help large numbers of people, but what I am saying is that my focus needs to be on healing myself, because right now I remain utterly compulsive, and that is not a position from which organic, flexible, useful thought usually proceeds.

And this morning I cannot help but think of Tamerlane, for some reason.  I recently bought an inner Asian cookbook titled "Samarkand".  I have long felt a kinship with inner Asia for some reason.  Perhaps I spent a life there too.  In a meditation the other day, I felt this coldness of a tribal warlord, but of course that might have easily been the part of me which does not respond to compassion or warmth of any sort; which was crushed and killed, long ago, but within which a spark remained that I am in the process of reigniting.

But what is the relation of universal bloodlust and greed, and universal compassion, and thirst for the political power to "deliver" it?  The Communists used the rhetoric of compassion, in my understanding.  Certainly, the French Revolutionaries did, and in the case of the Communists this was the latent if perhaps unexpressed word behind calls for "justice".

Compassion is an outgrowth of empathy in healthy people, but when used as a means of avoiding inner psychological conflict, and particularly when expressed as an ABSTRACTION, it can as easily become a means of violence and attack as the simple impulses of a Tamerlane--who I will note does need to be named as one of the most prolific murderers in human history, particularly as a lesson to those who think the West is somehow uniquely bad.  He caused the deaths of some 17 million people, which was about 5% of the worlds population at the time.  He eclipsed, in other words, Hitler.

Be that as it may, we might usefully describe the Left as it exists today as an organized band of bandits who want to conquer the world in the name of an idealized compassion, which they do not in fact feel.  They do not care about what happens to the people who they are trying to help, and have demonstrated, in fact, that they are quite willing to INCREASE the suffering of the people they claim to want to help, if it furthers the cause of their own increase in power and authority, and political and social superiority to those they claim to feel sympathy and empathy for.

Doing inner work, honestly and over the long term, is difficult work, and the distractions are nearly infinite.  This is merely one of the most obvious, at least to me.

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