portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary portland metro

economic justice | environment

The missing ingredient? Compassion

As a child raised on public assistance without parents, I was keenly aware of the harsher aspects of life at a very young age.
As I grew older and watched my grandmother endure alcoholic beatings to keep a roof over our heads, I became even more "in tune" with the meaning of a term called "compassion".
I felt truly sorry for the fat kid who got teased at school. I felt real empathy for cat who was being mistreated by the neighbor kids. My eyes watered at the horror as the Viet Nam war came into our home every night on our large Black and white console tv.

As a teenager, the more I learned about such atrocities, of man's inhumanity to man, the deeper my resolve became to do something about it. Why? Because I felt the pain of the innocent victims, I could see the anguish on their faces, I could hear their pitiful cries for help and their moaning over loved ones.

Is this environmetal?
Is it genetic?

Why do some of us walk through the forest only to be amazed at the intensity of it's magic while others seem oblivious to the miracles all around them?

I ask this because I feel that "compassion" is the missing ingrediant in the hearts and minds of so many Americans who so easily rationalize the horror done in their name with their tax dollars.
Is this something we can teach people?

Even those who don't know they don't have it?

add a comment on this article

The Cure 31.Jan.2005 13:24


Turn on your tv and find your friends there. They will always entertain, not disappoint and keep you safe from non productive thinking like this. Oprah has tons of compassion. More than enough. Don't worry about a thing.

I think that it's connection that we are missing 31.Jan.2005 14:23

fellow traveler

I think that we are disconnected and isolated. A person who is feels alone naturally feels vulnerable. And the fear tha comes along with that can cause us all to commit atrocities against the others that we don't see.

Just my thoughts.

Good post... 31.Jan.2005 19:58

Tony Blair's dog

good comments.

Thank you.