SARGE: Compassion Fatigue

America’s caught in a terrible state of displaced compassion. Compassion is defined as: The understanding or empathy for the suffering or circumstances of another or others.

There appears to be an element of emotion associated with the concept. There’s also the specific feeling of “co-suffering” as is indicated from the word’s Latin roots. The constituent concept of empathy or understanding of the other person’s condition must also be taken into account. Ethicists have distilled the thought to the missive known as the “Golden Rule”: “Do unto other as you would have done to you.” Now it seems to follow the newer maxim: “Do unto other before they do unto you.”

America was once known for helping anybody without thoughts of reward. We helped out of a familial instruction based on our faith and practice of ethical texts such as the Bible (Old and New Testaments) and other non-Christian religious instructions such as by Hebrew, Buddhist tracts et al. The lessons of compassion and altruism or unselfish humanity were learned when taught by family elders to the next generation.

It’s my experience to be suspicious of any declarations of unbridled altruism. It seems NO human does anything simply because it’s the right thing to do. Today our children learn charity is a dispensable commodity handed-out by state agencies. Charity, to progressive politicians, becomes quantifiable. It can be expanded upon and it can be withheld if the politics don’t profit the dispenser. Compassion, once quietly shown by people simply doing things to better their fellows, is now budgeted by governments and those cynics in control of the commodity to be given out.

If we only show compassion for our fellow man because we want that fellow’s  indebtedness; then we’re not compassionate, we’re masking our passive aggression for those we’ll use for personal gain.

Compassion fatigue, is affecting many people. This condition is recognizable in a gradual lessening of compassion over time. We’re desensitized by what we see reported in the media and as non-traditional family units develop the familial instruction of our youth in gang-societies and as elder, unqualified children teach and mentor younger siblings.

People (and societies) exhibiting the symptoms of Compassion Fatigue show subtle signs of the syndrome. Individuals see their circumstances as hopeless and with no chance of escape from their depressant surroundings and life. Thrill seeking overcomes the ever-growing feeling of ennui, or boredom and world-weariness. A negative attitude is pervasive and can be contagious/infectious for others in the social circle or “family”. Personal and societal productivity plunges. Society loses its focus on the formerly widespread values any society once held, in favor of a newer set of self-centered goals and pursuits for identity. Self-doubt is overcome with infantile, and many times, violent displays against those perceived as weaker. Elders are attacked because they’re viewed as failures for not making life better for the young as this societal syndrome progressed.

Our media, the press and entertainment industries saturate their newspaper and multi-media outlet audiences with graphic photos, videos, drama and fast paced representations of what tragedies are most likely to sell newspapers and television advertising. This industrial strength cynicism is rampant and destroys public morale and morals. None of the violent images are placed in proper context. Children are desensitized by the presentation of the violence without adult temperance of the facts. The children become resistant to others’ suffering and may even find it acceptable.

Today, we’re mourning the senseless death of two totally different people. One was a college student killed for no other reason than his race and the fact his murderers were “bored”. The other was a military veteran, an elder who served us, suffered for us during a time of war and was beaten to death for no other reason than he was robbed and beaten so the criminals could feel empowered over their pathetic circumstances.

Our compassion fatigue has caused us to suffer compassion displacement; and there’s no hope for people not having the compassion to feel another’s distress.

When people lose their sense of compassion, they feed on the weakness of those they see as inferior instead of being nourished with life’s wisdom taught in traditional families.

And America is too good a nation to fall prey to this disease.

Thanks for listening

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