…As you would have them do unto you.”
It’s so beautifully simple.
Not sure all animals would get it, certainly not predators if their survival needs outweighed it, but still… with survival needs met, you’d think that even the dimmest bulb would get the point… AND you’d be wrong.
Why? I think that part of us, empathy, gets turned off through a certain degree of determined effort. Like fear, you can push your way past empathy by steeling yourself against it. What normally does such a thing, is the facing of severe survival challenges or extreme trauma. You do what you can to get through it. You willfully ignore your pain and, likewise, can learn to ignore the pain of others as well. Sometimes you need to do that sort of thing. Sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and bear it. You learn to hunt, to kill. You learn to fight. You have to shut off your empathy when you do that or you won’t function.
You learn to grin and bear it, too, when you’re being abused. The hope of escape or even a temporary cessation of pain can keep you entangled in it. But anger and the slow death of empathy will simmer beneath the calm waters of that facade and you can come out of a bad experience fighting mad and ready to enact vengeance, becoming karma itself to those who did you wrong or, anyone, really, who happens to cross your path on the way there. Nothing wrong with that. But if you are the karma, then you will pay the karma because what goes around comes around and just keeps on going around until finally someone steps out of the vicious circle.
The thing I most hate about war is that it puts people in a situation where they are forced to turn off their empathy over and over and over again. Hopefully, they will be able to turn it back on again once they are out of harm’s way, but I can’t help but suspect it will be harder for them for each time they’ve had to turn it off.
Certain games can turn off empathy as well: foot-ball, soccer, wrestling, and, more recently, video games like Call of Duty and the like. Violent games, even if the violence in them is pretend, still trigger the fight or flight response in our brains, with “fight” being the prevalent visceral tendency… and this is violence without any of they usual consequences (or fewer of them anyway), so it is all the more numbing to our sense of empathy.
That’s my theory anyway. Its what seems to me the most likely culprit when it comes to school shootings and the like. Some kid who enjoys playing violent video games gets so into it that he dangerously starts wondering what it would be like to shoot people in real life. The point at which he finally decides to find this out, is the point at which his empathy has been completely turned off.
Another thing I’ve seen that has the apparent power to turn empathy off (or on, depending on how it’s used) is religion. Religion is too often an excuse to “kill the infidel” because Allah/Yaweh/Baal/Tezcatlipoca wants it and is hungry for blood. You can’t concern yourself overmuch for human feeling if you’re convinced you have to do such a thing.
The thing about Tezcatilipoca’s blood hunger is interesting: he’s basically a devoted son that went psycho karmic in defense of his mother who was being hounded by his half siblings on the assertion of his mother’s apparent infidelity. He kills them all in defense of her. The most dramatic of these killings is exactly what was enacted on the steps of the Pyramid of the Sun where the victims heart is cut from his body still beating and his corpse thrown down the steps.
Karma on overdrive?
Just a bit.
I’ve often wondered if what Catholics call Communion, is actually a substitute for a blood sacrifice… one that does not require empathy being shut off. It has always seemed like symbolic cannibalism to me, but maybe that’s not the point of it. Maybe it’s the counter to real cannibalism. Not sure. Maybe I should leave that alone. But I do know that although many Christians consider Christ to be a literal manifestation of God, Christ the man NEVER demanded blood shed in his name as his alleged father, Yaweh, so often did. This isn’t to say they couldn’t really be father and son; just that they are miles apart in their philosophy on life and are certainly not one and the same. They couldn’t be. I think that of creation is an artistic expression/extension of the Creator, but I don’t think that’s Yaweh. I think Yaweh is an creative expression as well.
My own belief is that Christ, like Buddha, and various others throughout history, is an avatar. SInce there are many definitions of that word, I guess I should explain what I mean by it in this case: a diplomat/teacher from the greater reality beyond our physical realm. I believe these entities are those who come here with their knowledge/memory and faculties of the Other Side of the Veil fully intact for the express purpose of freeing souls here that have become hopelessly entangled in Karmic debts.
The key to freeing oneself is simple in theory: Do onto others as you would have done unto you, treat others the way you want to be treated. This means not becoming karma no matter how provoked you feel. Easier said than done, but definitely a fool proof escape if you can manage it.
On the other side of the veil, you cannot escape the wrongs you’ve done because sans-the veil, we are all very much a part of one another. You’ll go back to earth again to take your due in hopes of setting things right, but once there, you forget.
The eye for an eye crew will never manage it. These will invariably be the blood feuders, the retaliators, the terrorists, the givers of violent judgements, the keeper of slaves, the killers of heretics/witches/infidels/apostates (anyone who offends them), the abusers, the criminals, the jihadis…. These are people that operate sans empathy or compassion. Not saying they’re doomed to hell unless you consider earth to be hell, but only that they’re tangled in karma and so will get what they give in pain and sorrow and others will be hard put to feel sorry for them when they get their just desserts.
What goes around comes around. Try to throw the bad stuff out and send around the good stuff instead. That would be better for everyone I think.
I’d still like to kick my Iranian ex in the teeth.
But I won’t.
He’s too far out of reach.
Remember, don’t hit a man when he is down. Kick him, it’s easer.
Just kidding. Jeb added that. I’m innocent – this time at least.
Even so, it the opportunity presented itself, I’d try not to. Just don’t know how successful I’d be. I could just keep my hands clean and just let the FBI/CIA have at him. Which is to say, I’m way far from perfect. But one can hope, right?