The death of compassion

Compassion, that sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it, has come to an end in the world.

The human capacity to feel, to be emotional about deep issues of humanity has been eroded by a new raging philosophy. Often and ironically, the philosophy is not defined.

It is not defined because it is almost shameful as a way of life.

It is not pronounced as the new answer to the old and new problems. It has simply come upon mankind with the force of a hurricane. But it has surfaced in religion, in commerce, in the marriage institution, in cultures, in politics, and in interpersonal relationships. Indeed we need to develop a new paradigm to understand the world.

Also, a new leadership class has emerged, a class that places premium on hard facts. These are leaders without the conventional credentials of leadership. They have no defined goals that would transform the environment. They lead because they want to lead.

They succeed because they have the means to acquire the reins of power. They have the media in their pocket. They desire a narrow world, a world devoid of bridges, filled with walls.

It is a class that has no patience with weakness. It has no mercy for the weak. It has no time for the vulnerable, the majority of the human race. It is a world of statistics, the world of the ubiquitous computer and the world of abstractions.

Put simply, compassion as taught by the great masters of human consciousness has died. We now preside over the funeral ceremonies of compassion.

There is no fear for comeuppance or the certainty of nemesis. Nemesis is to be negotiated through farcical deeds of atonement. These come in form of tokenism, of a public show of giving back. But deep down, the give-back is another channel to acquire more power.

It is a channel to spread the tentacles of individual reach. And the foolish ones among us celebrate these powerful ogres whose goal is the ultimate destruction of the weak for the creation of an all-strong society.

For those who subscribe to the inevitability of the apocalypse, this new philosophy is a prelude to the end of time.

Sadly, even within the walls of religion, of those who know that the boulder will not roll on forever, there is no practical demonstration of the desired value system.

They have all fallen into the pit which the end of compassion has dug for humanity. The death of compassion is also the cause of the death of the Marriage institution as we knew it.

Long term commitment is jettisoned. A spouse is like a tyre that can be replaced once it become stressed with time. Time! That great phenomenon which ought to sober us becomes a tool in the hands of manipulators.

In the sphere of destruction of life, the age has no equal in human history. For, as the lives of millions are snuffed out by hunger, war and disease, some of the powerful nations boast of more powerful weapons that could wipe out entire populations.

The gates and walls of the rich world are held firmly in place against the invading forces of the poor. They are poor for no fault of theirs. The world has made them poor in their homeland. Their homelands are no longer safe.

Yet walls are created against them. Governments act with impunity. In Africa the ruled have remained helpless. They are continually manipulated by the rulers. Billions of dollars and other forms of resources which were generated for the State are stashed away in safe havens by powerful individuals.

The impunity with which individuals kill fellow human beings is scary. The computer mentality in which life can be terminated with a button has entered the minds of humans.

Teenagers kill and film their death or the death of victims. People kill for money. It is no longer news to find a teenager with a human skull. Some sacrifice parts of their body for wealth. Others sacrifice their time on earth for money.

A husband tricks his wife into a false sense of security and kills her in a macabre manner. A wife slaughters her husband with a kitchen knife because she suspects him with another woman.

Human parts are routinely forcefully harvested and sold to willing fellow human beings. To rub it in, gory pictures of the dead are circulated for all to see through social media. The sanctity of human life is gone. Even in death we do not respect life.

Social media connects millions. But it also disconnects us; it disconnects millions. The cyberspace friend is more valued than the physical companion who has blood and flesh.

For too soon, we witness the weaknesses of the physical friend. Not so with the virtual friend. There is an illusion about the virtual friend. And in our world, illusion is reality. We are figures; we are part of statistics. The media routinely reports deaths of hundreds in unprovoked attacks. We are no longer shocked.

A so-called Muslim group bombs a mosque to kill hundreds, or thousands of innocent worshippers and scream God is Great! The imams do not call them to order. Indeed the keep stressing difference; how were different, how their god is superior.

Some pastors set up educational institutions that their members cannot afford to attend. Some even boast that they are the richest men on earth; rich from the collections given in the name of God.

In the neighbourhood of the church, there are families that cannot feed, that cannot send their children to school. But the so-called Man of God flies around in three or four jet planes. Compassion is dead. Worship of success is on the throne! The good book of Christian theology speaks of ‘good success’; so there must be ‘bad’ success as well!

The rise of populist and quasi-nationalist sentiments across the world is the peak of rebellion against time-honoured values of humanity. It is true that atavism cannot completely go away from human beings. It is also true that fear of the unknown has driven some people into acts of extreme desperation.

However, these are no excuse for the bestial manner in which man now treats man, both at the formal or official level and at individual level.

At the core of this extreme bestiality is the rejection of the true God, the God whose values were implanted in the heart of man at creation.

Ironically although God-consciousness seems to have increased the same cannot be said for respect for God. The truth is that the increase in the number and our fatal attraction to gadgets that can do things for us has reduced the humanity in us.

The funeral of Compassion, I dare say, is the funeral of Humanity. And if the much-expected Armageddon is around the corner, there is no greater indication than this funeral ceremony. The feast of the end cascades on with so much fanfare and ribald elevation of the mundane into the pantheon of the sacred.

In all of human history, something always gives when the world reaches this stage. What is now going to give?

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