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The World's Compassion -- How to Try and Increase It

Updated: Feb 24

A beautiful ancient houses.

The sad truth about this world is that it has little compassion, especially among strangers. Neighbors can easily open a rivalry with you because of a minor controversy. Some hot-headed drivers might even get out of their cars in the middle of the road just to confront you for not driving like they want you to. Others do not care for your sensitivities and may resume doing whatever bothers you, within your presence. And last, people online won't hesitate to harass you for doing (or not doing) something they expect you to do, as if you owe them anything.

That's what you get when you put rugged individualism over the values of decency. Many people in this world are hyper individualists, AKA people who put their own whims over their influence on others. As a result, there seems to be less and less reason to be compassionate, or at least considerate, to anyone who is not your family and friends. Therefore, it seems that we have retreated to tribalism, even though we live in an ultra-connected world.

After all, if someone is not a person you know or value, like a family member or friend, why should you actually care whether or not your insults hurt their feelings? Why should you care about a stranger's less-resilient mentality, if you get to say whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want? Sure, that person may cry or at least be angry or anxious because of you, but the influence of your actions should not matter, as long as you yourself get to feel good and comfortable!

In other words, as the world gets more divided and more toxic, it is safe to assume that the world is becoming less and less compassionate, simply because we put the "sanctity" of our own whims over our effect on those we are too apathetic to care about, whether they were hurt, even if they were driven to suicide by our actions.

As I heard in a short recording of Slavoj Žižek, the renowned Slovenian philosopher, he was asked by someone who was interested in his teachings to help him with some personal stuff. Žižek replied: "I don't care, kill yourself, it's not my problem".

Being insensitive is a privilege not everyone gets to have, even if to attain to a degree. Overall, it seems that the world is run by insensitive people, given that ruthlessness can be linked with success. Many of them can be those who think that being too sensitive is childish and immature, and that being considerate of others, like a civil human being, isn't something they are obliged to do. There could be plenty of reasons why people would avoid being nice.

And thus, the sensitive are shoved to the corners of society, because the world does not care about your feelings; it cares only about whether or not you are doing your job and paying your taxes. It cares about you if you contribute significantly enough to it to earn its respect. It is largely a meritocracy. Your public existence is but a function you fulfill, not your own honesty, which you are often expected to keep to yourself, unless expected otherwise.

Things are differently when you're in a position of power, as people would want to please you to get their way, so they may even show you more compassion as a result. See how unfair life is, depending largely on one's authority, for "power is everything".

Why should it hurt, technically, to be a little kinder to others? Not because an omnipresent being shall condemn you to hell if you don't, but because of your own sense of conscience; your own sense of self-dignity. And even then, dignity, repsect is subjective, as presented in different cultures.

Even after actions such as bullying and shaming have been proven to be harmful to society and to the victims themselves, these are things that keep existing, both in the real and virtual worlds, as if it's all just for the fun of it. The "fun" of it, to create mental illness in one's mind; for the fun of it, to wonder why they have, unfortunately, killed themselves, just because their own self was too eccentric to be tolerated by the company around them. Yes, one's fun can be another's truama, as presented in a real-life story called "My Dead Piggy: Funeral For a Furry Friend"

Where is the heart; the genuine concern for an equal human being? Of course, this is not a universal generalization, nor an attempt to say that humans by nature are toxic beings. It is just that the notion of sensitivity has been put to shame by those who are too unwilling to understand that sensitivity isn't something that one necessarily achieves by desire. It's something whose potential already exists within the person. Why then, call them a "snowflake" or an "over-sensitive" person, if they were simply born that way?

The answer is that unless one is compelled to care, they won't likely to care. Empathy can be either emotional or intellectual. You need either of these faculties to empathize. If you lack any of those, like many sociopaths, you won't likely to care for others as much as you could've otherwise, because you feel no moral responsibility for your actions. "Only remorse leads to a real apology and change".

Is it truly a shame to be born with certain characteristics that you're not responsible for having? People, at large, don't choose to have the traits that cause them to be tormented by others, whether it's sensitivity, sexual orientation, mental disability, and so on. If some of your traits interrupt the order of the public world, then you will be condemned for it, as if it's your fault; as if you've done something horrible.

Such is the cruelty of this world when it disapproves and rejects you.

In general, strangers shall care more about what's wrong with you than what makes you a decent human being—especially the mistakes you make or the imperfections you carry within you. This is why, in another article I wrote, I argued that we live in a "not-okay" culture, AKA a mindset that puts the idea that, by default, things are not okay or not supposed to be as they currently are. Therefore, others will attempt to change the course of things to fit it more to their own liking, regardless of how that course influences others in the process.

And since most things are not under one's control, all that some people have left is to use shaming and utter disregard to influence the world in their own image of what a "proper" world is. Whether it is on the topic of religion, politics, and so on, you probably have no idea how many people hate you right now, simply for you being a certain someone with certain traits and tendencies. This also includes being a "snowflake," AKA a highly sensitive individual.

What is the solution to all of this? How do we bring more love into the world, in order to make it a more welcoming place to live for as many people as possible?

The answer is this: as Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." However, that won't be enough if you wish to optimize your own influence.

Simply being kind to your neighbors won't change much beyond the local sphere of the street or neighborhood. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the age of content creation, where anyone's words can reach even the most remote corners of Earth, and I can attest to that from experience. It's why I became a philosopher, why I built this website, and why I invest heavily in advertising—to influence the world by being myself and exposing my thoughts to anyone with an internet connection, to browse, read, and delight.

When you have things to say that you believe are important, saying them to your family and friends isn't enough. Perhaps, then, the problem of hatred and intolerance simply comes from the combination of hyper-individualism and tribal altruism (AKA, caring only to those close to you). It comes from the unanswered question, "Why should I care about others that I don't have an emotional connection with, when I can have the freedom of being a jerk?"

Go out there and spread compassion if you want others to treat you compassionately as well.

Thanks for reading.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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