Compassion, Damn It!

Well, well. Wasn’t the fur flying because young mariner had no traffic ticket for his accident. An entire article about compassion as the root of democracy was trashed because mariner did not get a ticket. So much for compassion over judgment.

Mariner understands that in these uncertain times citizens are chary and become judgmental about due process. Nevertheless, he stands by the principle that compassion without judgment is both restorative to personal happiness and productive as well. One thinks of the abused folks who constitute Donald’s base: The US economy has squeezed them for decades; there is little that comes easily to them. These folks are left only with defensive mechanisms similar to pride, judgmental attitudes, intense populist ethics that are destructive – in their minds as it should be – and intensely protective of what little they have.

Mariner assumes that most readers have read the parable about the Good Samaritan so he won’t repeat it here. Perhaps, though, you just might check out Luke 10:25. The context surrounding the Samaritan’s compassion is identical to the social conflicts present today. The US population has become increasingly conscious of class, even fragmented versions of class (identity politics). In the Samaritan’s situation, he was considered less than a proper Jew because Samaritans did not adhere to the racial requirements of proper Judaism; Samaritans allowed mixed marriages even though otherwise they practiced the Jewish faith.

Mariner’s wife read a book written by a homeless person, Lars Eighner, who walked across the country with his dog Lizbeth.[1] From the book she remembers a time when Lars, who had no source of income, would save the bit of change he came by to purchase dogfood for Lizbeth. Many times others in the stores would buy his dogfood for him. No one said “He ought to get a job” or “He should be picked up by the police.”

Often mariner has touted the practice of “Pass it forward.” It is a practice based on having a compassionate insight into another person’s need without judgment or prejudice. Use this simple gesture to practice compassion. What’s more important than ever is to look for ways to be compassionate toward someone from a different class – even a different political class.

Ancient Mariner



[1] Travels with Lizbeth, Lars Eighner, Ballantine Books, 1993

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.