Fred Hollows, a foremost eye surgeon, in treating people for eye disease and restoring sight, had an attitude of treating everyone, irrespective of class, caste, race, gender or financial status as if he were treating the king or queen.
That was his standard of excellence and human empathy.
In any career, unless the service to the greater good is at that standard, both in spirit and in practice, you are claiming your wages under false pretenses. Don’t argue. It’s a fact. Laggards serve only themselves because they have not grown beyond the animal stage and the gift of human intellect and other faculties is wasted on them.
Others since very ancient times have said things like: What you do to the least of these little ones you do to me.
The Buddha had made strong recommendations along the lines of compassion and alleviating suffering of all life, it being causally connected.
Notwithstanding, and unbeknownst, the Roman Empire nevertheless began. And like so many other empires, with all the magnificence education, knowledge, science, art and jurisprudence brings, the empire rose and had its golden era. And then people became too comfortable, decadent and the empire fell. But not before imparting some if its predispositions, good and bad in other places. Some became the seeds of other empires. We still enjoy or suffer under vestiges of Roman law today, it being the basis for much of western jurisprudence.
Bloodthirsty lack of compassion appears to be a key feature of Roman times. Victimizing the weak, the dispossessed, the needy, the disenfranchised and anyone else weak enough for a bully to get away with it, because he or she could. Since the Romans recorded everything, their military as well as domestic atrocities are well documented. Streets lined with crucified dead and dieing for offences no different to parking fine should offer some perspective. As should the “entertainment” of the Colosseum and amphitheaters scattered throughout the land. They had no TV in those days but apparently someone screaming in agony of torture and death was somehow found to be enjoyable!
In the Colosseum we see state sponsored serial killing in which the cowardly masses could feel absolved from the titillation of their gruesome enjoyment of the suffering of others. Just as with the most primitive cannibal tribe, being complicit to their dictators’ manipulation, these spectators made inextricable slaves of themselves. This and other factors spelled the demise of the original Rome and the empire thereby imploded on itself as history reveals. We could learn from this.
By the way, it is documented that the sight of atrocities, torture, murder, rape and other exquisitely inventive ways to destroy life, along with the smell of blood, caused the Roman spectators to become sexually excited. And so the brothels naturally lined the streets leading away from the Colosseum or amphitheaters. Uncomfortable as this may be to face up to, medically this cannibalistic vampirism is the same disease most serial killers suffer from.
And, as evidence would have it, in a lesser form people who read murder mysteries and watch murderous movies and secretly derive titillation.
Where is the “entertainment” value in this? Where is the soul in this? Where is the humanity?
I don’t see it. Sorry, but the only killing tendency that would motivate me would be to exterminate the perpetrators. Am I missing something?
Nothing much has changed. Empire builders seem today to be alive, well and as mentally ill as their more ancient counterparts. As for amphitheaters they’ve been cleaned up a tad and now grown men either hit balls with sticks and catch them. Or they chase a piece of leather around a field and many people pass their idle time, for a fee, getting excited over this. Harmless enough.
The local TV channels where I live, for years some sick voice-over dude likes to spout the word “murder” as a start for a spiel about a series or a movie. In a deranged, raucous, stage whisper, unpalatable in public, but apparently acceptable on TV where kids can hear this sick, sad person and get role modeling from the experience, he goes on to entice. Week after nauseating week you cannot switch on the local TV without the word “murder” being advertised. He then follows up the voiceover in a way designed to induce people to watch the next boring episode or installment of injustice.
What purpose does gratuitously spending valuable time, better spent productively, watching re-enactments of violence, torture, cruelty, injustice and the rest. Whom does it serve?
For the networks to go to such great lengths to produce the garbage and broadcast it, there must be sick people out there requesting it. They must be the greater portions of the market demand this kind of advertising panders to. A frightening thought is that the larger portion of society must be idle, too well off and in this category; because that’s the excrement they watch. And which networks know sells. Just like the Romans we are wasting away into an oblivion of our own making, wasting resources and time better spent creatively.
Personally, whether in effigy such as a drama or in reality, I can find nothing entertaining about the suffering of others, people or animals. I think most professionals in the various fields of alleviation of suffering, having witnessed the results of real suffering in abundance, would get no thrill from these gratuitous portrayals either.
But it’s a study of the species. The mad and the bad are not often stereotypical but usually appear as, and specialize in presenting themselves as ordinary people. And who learn well how to fit into ordinary context, until too late.
A reflection on values: One government of the day only decided to formulate a task force to capture one of this countries most notorious serial killers when it appeared that it would impact on the bums-on-seats factor of the coming Olympic games. This would imply thar filthy lucre was the sole motivation and not prevention of evil and human suffering. It also implies that this individual would still be on the loose if we had no Olympics and that said government of the day was quite happy in the knowledge that people would go missing on a regular basis, tortured, violated then murdered.
Is this an adequate or sufficient standard of governance and exploitation of the tax dollar?
The question arises: why do we still have closet bullies, torturers, bullies and variegated bullying, victimizing, exploitative and criminal pornography addicts among us in the form of a human being?
What is it about the suffering of others and persecuting the weak, some people seem to find entertaining?
A bit one sided don’t you think?
Ever been the recipient of an armed home invasion? Ever been raped? Ever been attacked with a knife, an axe, a gang, a car, a gun…? Ever had someone try to murder you?
It was not in the slightest bit “entertaining” was it?
No. Didn’t think so.
Being at the receiving end is a tad different. Funny like that.
So why the double standard? Why is it OK about watching James Bond or others execute their “righteous” “license to kill”?
So long as it’s happening to someone else it’s OK isn’t it? Well, if that’s the way you think, it defines you.
If lack of empathy is not a mental illness, then what is it?
Personally I’d like to hear in the news that the voiceover man so in love with the word “murder” and his TV channel executives who pay him to portray murder as somehow being a form of entertainment, have a close shave with a real live murderer.
Would that alter their perception following PTSD, biochemical disruption, nightmare, agoraphobia etc?
What does it take to develop empathy?
And we dare to waffle and spout entirely theoretical and unrealistic stuff about “protecting our attackers.” Hypocrisy. Many such preachers fail to protect people in their own dojo from injuries dispensed by themselves!
As for armed home invaders: shoot them dead! Have no mercy. They will show neither you, nor others any, if you let them get away with it.
We need to stop rewarding criminality if, as a species, we are to progress. I won’t comment about helping criminals take power in government. That’s a strange one and common. As you have recently learned, it’s a bad move because their criminality will not stop at you. It does not take a genius to figure that out, but apparently it slips past millions each and every time until the pain of it forces an awakening.
Crime dramas abound. Why is crime found to be entertaining? Fake wrestling gees up audiences of junk eaters because they get off on the show of violence. Don’t tell me that’s not a mental illness. It would not make money if there was no demand for it.
Why do so many suffer from it?
And we wonder why our police forces are overworked! Internally as well.
What can I say? Human is a nice word but it refers to the ability to exercise mental capacity and not just the fact you no longer walk on all fours. And perhaps some heart as well.
Having said that, the most peaceful and angelic, monk like scholar and pacifist is a fool, unless he daily practices to be prepared and able to effectively defend and protect himself, his loved ones, his family, society, nation and the world, in some way as part of lifestyle. Also the worth of education, healing, the arts, the sciences, healthy human relations and everything else that uplifts, instead of degrades human potential.
We can value life or disparage it and that’s what in the end will come back to us.
Protecting true worth and treating others, all others, irrespective of status, class, beliefs, financial status, gender, colour of skin and other surface factors, as if they were the most esteemed and respected royalty, is a goal, as a humanity, worthy of aiming for.
When that day comes, perhaps the pitiful self esteem that is current and allows people to either subjugate themselves to, or to become bullies and cowards of so many kinds, at so many levels, will become less, because each individual will be able to look into a mirror and instead of seeing secret personal misery or lack of worth, will find a divine royalty looking back at them there as well.
Perhaps when, as a species, we succeed in restoring our spiritual sight, we will have arrived at the realisation that true human existence is not a cannibalistic dog-eat-dog festival of fear; but rather a participatory co-creation of many hale parts adding worth to a whole, that in turn serves and gives life to all the parts.
We will then, finally become enabled to inject new life into a cycle of life and infinity with moral dimensions, which whilst obvious, have yet to be discovered in our present methods of governance and social interaction.
I like to be optimistic and continue believe that we will get there.