Compassion for Monsters

Feeling compassion for people whose ill will and animosity shine like beacons of hate is not easy. But it may be necessary. If we are to have any hope of healing the divisions that have brought the world to the brink of an explosive rift, the likes of which we have never seen, we have to practice compassion. Even for monsters. Because they, too, are victims. Their attitudes and behaviors may have been shaped by a lack of compassion. Perhaps experiencing it first hand can turn monsters into, if not angels, tolerable beings.

The question for me, of course, is whether I can live this dream. Can I actually adopt this attitude in my interactions with other people? The jury is out, but I think the preponderance of the evidence suggests the likelihood is slim. That’s the problem, isn’t it? We know what we should do, but we fail to do it. We know the answer, but we allow our flaws to refuse to accept it. So, we behave like the beasts we wish to overcome.

We become the monsters who need compassion, all the while wishing we could simply forgive the monsters we’ve identified in others. Catch-22, I think. Or some semblance thereof.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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