Our Sermon Section
By Maynard - 11 Nov 2012
In Reference to: 11 November 2012 - Working for Unconditional Compassion
That's not what I said.
What I held up was y ANXIETY about BANNERIZING the (potentially mis-applied) PHRASE "Unconditional Compassion" because of the identifiable and observable RISK of bad judgment around it.
I don't think that ANYONE can ALWAYS afford "unconditional compassion" (we all have limits; it's bogus" to claim that we every REALLY can make ongoing and unconditional commitments to compassion towards others, unless it's largely as a "sympathy vote" for their condition). Further, (a) we all have time constraints, and (2) (I think) there are times when the BETTER long-term judgment is PLANNING to reduce the future RISK of the suffering (rather than rushing in to rescue those who suffer in front of our Internet attention).
Both Ingrid Newkirk of PETA and the pro-life movement illustrated this recurring moral reality with a story, a narrative about someone up the river who was throwing babies into the river.
At first, the good-hearted rescuer didn't realize that the problem was a result of, it was actually CAUSED by a malcontent maliciously throwing babies into a river, and the babies were flowing down the river, into eyesight.
When the rescuer first saw one baby and dove into the water to save the baby, brought the rescued baby ashore, then looked out and saw two more babies floating down the river, dove back into the water the rescue the two other babies, then upon returning, haggard, to the shore with all three babies, looked back and saw FOUR (4) babies floating down the river. At that point, he chose to run up the river to see WHY so many babies were floating down the river. Well, he found the SOURCE of the problem and subdued the agent of bad outcomes.
Preaching goodwill IS very important, and sometimes rescue work is crucial to better outcomes (and quite usually it's crucial to the better out come for the RESCUED - but we have limits).
Why is so much meateating around? No other listmember's compassion FOR
the puppies and kittens themselves is going to end the suffering of the
cows, sheep, goats, fish, et al. Looking BROADLY at the SCOPE of the mortal
suffering and planning STRATEGICALLY for ways to EFFECTIVELY reduce the
CAUSES of that suffering is all the engagement we can realistically expect,
and even that is conditioned upon the vagaries of the willingness AND
abilities of those who are sought to participate in the BROADER rescue
effort (where is the best effort best applied for the best overall
outcomes, realizing that we have limited resources?). We have this same
issue of "rationing" and "allocation" in healthcare, not that we a limit on
MONEY in this society, but
(a) we have a limit on money we CAN APPLY to this end AND
(b) we have a limit on public consent on how to STOP the suffering (to ourselves, and others - human others AND nonhuman others).
So, IMO, that CONDITION requires (I.) some very serious STUDY - and (II.) serious strategizing - then (III.) some aggregation of relevant knowledge, (IV.) some translation into policies and procedures that will lead to (a) humans living better lives and (b) sentient beings - humans and nonhumans - suffering less, and (V.) some implementation of those policies and procedures so that broad-based and more nearly full COMPLIANCE with those better policies and procedures will become evident.
I do think that we (all) become very WEARY from the seemingly endless posting of "action items" (which most of us really don't act upon or "operationalize") - on not only THIS list, but on so many OTHER vegetarian lists that have become "social" (where some thing that the topical conversation is less of value than is their trying to "get people off their duffs and do something" (by acting on an "action item"). Now, on a POSITIVE NOTE:
- I think that WORKING for Unconditional Compassion is best done by trying to BUILD the PRINCIPLES of Unconditional Compassion into society through restructuring human consciousness. I think that building the ideas, perceptions, experiences, and values comes BEFORE the public acts upon things that WE put in front of it. Others disagree, but I think that broadly rebuilding society from the inside out looks ON THIS LIST more like a divine prerogative than something we "handful of persons" can do on our own steam. Others think that "everything is political" and that their actions are the "right politics at the right time" (with which I don't always agree).
- I ALSO believe very strongly that we ought to be included in the scope of our own compassion, not in self-indulgent ways, but in principled, disciplined ways where we plan for our own long-term well-being (and avoid folly and self-harm).