Compassion: Empathy, Altruism, Understanding

If you spend time in a grade school classroom, you’ll notice a bunch of posters with strange phrases on them like “be polite”,  “say please”, and all kinds of motivational things that have to do with treating others the way we would like to be treated. If you spend any time in regular society all those motivation things are called advertisements. We’ve replaced all the banners that gave us reminders to be kind with banners that remind us to spend and you can really see how effective they are based on our behavior.

With the holidays upon us we will have a few weeks of heavy advertising mixed with a couple commercials where we see people doing good things. Here, we are going to be looking into why we need to be reminded about all this and why it doesn’t last all year.

The question can often arise if altruism is actually something that our analytical survival brains can actually accomplish in a threat filled world. Is it possible that everything we do is in some way self-serving? This could be true, and we may find that it is, but what then for altruism, charity? Should it all be for profit?

This is a pivotal question economically, as each and every business need money for its operation one of the questions that comes up is; Is it more self-less to run a non-profit company with a social good mission and always ASK for money or run a for profit company that has a social good mission and always be SELLING something?

Off from the subject of gold we must talk about the golden rule. Is it always good to treat a person the way you would like to be treated or is the platinum rule better? Here we find ourself wading in murky water for by treating a person the way they would like to be treated do we not find ourselves at risk of becoming an enabler? On the other side of the coin, tough love has been used to excuse all types of abuse in the name of compassion. It seems there is no simple answer but we will work to find some clarity.

Lastly, we will look in to inhibitors to empathy and understanding. We should seek to get to know each other and to do that we much be able to step in to each others shoes right? There is so much to cover here I doubt we will even fully scratch the surface, but that doesn’t mean we will not try.

love, maceo



Founder, Citizens Of Culture





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