Compassion in Today's Society
by Christian Frederiksen
often see people in times of distress and many disregards
the way they feel. Those who do notice often show pity,
or altruism, but not always compassion. These are the responses
we engender that can make all the difference from a day
of misfortune to a day of gracefulness.
Compassion is not pity and different from altruism, which
is simply the act of heloping others. Compassion is an incredibly
unique human ability that is often associated with religion
and spirituality. The dictionary's definition of compassion
in "Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled
with the wish to relieve it." Compassion, then, does
not require sorrow, but simply being present under any circumstance
with the heart to help. Compassion eliminates judgment and
views each circumstance as an equal opportunity to live
the moment to its fullest potential.
The most commonly known version of the Golden Rule is often
expressed as "Do onto others as you would wish them
do onto you," was spawned from the practices of compassion
in most religions and ranked highly in many philosophies
as the greatest virtues. However, many of today's youth
are growing up without learning compassion, not only for
others, but themselves as well.
In today's society, there is a greater need to teach compassion
to children for several reasons. Today's competitive environments
have taught many of us to live in a dog-eat-dog world, not
only in our daily careers, but also in today's academics
and children's sports. Furthermore, today's children are
more exposed to violence from television and video games
than in the past. According to a study from 1990, NCTV (Northland
Cable Television) found that nearly seventy-five percent
of children who were exposed to violent video games had
negative effects. Psychologist Craig A. Anderson, PH.D.
had said "...the study that even a brief exposure to
violent video games can temporarily increase aggressive
behavior in all types of participants."
Unfortunately, today we live in a society of self absorption
and narcissism mixed with violence and where compassion
is seldom taught as fundamental basis of a successful life.
However, compassion is an ability, that if taught to children
from an early stage, can make them become aware of the world
around them and teaches tolerance towards a variety of cultures
and personalities. This would enable children to become
more sensitive and caring for others, which in turn will
motivate better relationships with others as they mature
into adulthood. The Dalai Lama once stated "Love and
compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity
Compassion is a spiritual quality that is often written
about, but rarely found in others, because to have compassion
one must have full acceptance of each circumstane in life.
Those who have compassion are usually the ones who have
struggled and met and known a large part of humanity that
they can no longer judge nor reject.
Compassion is not bound by rules becuase it recognizes the
uniqueness of every circumstance. In an attempt to restore
compassion in today's society, one must start living by
the Golden Rule, from the beginning of the miracle of giving
birth to the silence of death.