Monday Musings, 18: "The World Is Screwed Because We Lack Compassion"

One of my favorite quotes is by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In it, he states, "We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools." Looking closely at that quote, it seems as if Dr. King was suggesting that if the human race can't live in harmony, then we'll eventually face some sort of extinction characterized by our inability to help and love each other. Recent events have made that fate seem more and more like a possibility. 

If you've been watching the news and scanning social media lately, you probably get the feeling that the world is ending. Hundreds of innocent people in the Middle East are dying at the hands of extremists, we're stuck fighting never-ending wars, our society is deeply divided on many issues, climate change has robbed our planet of its precious creatures and sceneries, police brutality has proven to be more prominent than ever before, and violence continues to scar our globe. Why is this all happening and why does it seem like nothing can be done about these issues? It's because we lack compassion.

When we categorize ourselves, we lose touch with people who are different from us, thus leading to a lack of compassion that we should have for those who are suffering and less fortunate than us.

By definition, compassion is "sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others." What we've seen recently and throughout human history is that human beings have a tendency to be indifferent, willfully ignorant, and hateful. This type of behavior is supported by our habit of categorizing ourselves and separating ourselves from others. Rich vs. poor, black vs. white, democrat vs. republican, pro-life vs. pro-choice, Christian vs. Muslim, and so on. When we categorize ourselves, we lose touch with people who are different from us, thus leading to a lack of compassion that we should have for those who are suffering and less fortunate than us.

In our current state, we don't show enough compassion to make this world a better place. The suffering of others who don't look like us, share our values, or share our geographical location is a blip in our daily thoughts. We tend to insulate ourselves from issues that millions of people face, all because we're either afraid of facing those issues, refuse to address those issues due to some deeply ingrained belief, or deny that those issues are prominent enough to trigger action.

In order for humanity to prosper, we have to start caring about one another. We have to be willing to stretch our hands and open our arms to whomever is in need. We have to be willing to educate ourselves, understand the suffering of others, and take steps to reverse those misfortunes. It's the only way that we can reverse the mess we've made on this Earth. It's the only way we can thrive and survive, together.