Tuesday, June 24, 2008

if (Compassion != Virtuous)

I came across this article(click here for full content) today and was taken aback by the implications it might hold. It touches upon an area about which i've pondered upon ever so often. In view, it appears to be non-sense. I mean, ofcourse compassion is a virtue. But upon deeper reflecting, one wonders if these were just words crafted long ago and we're just following morals blindly, whether or not they make any difference. They do, in a material sense, but if you think of yourself as a species thats is roughly 200,000 years old (we haven't tested our mettle against time even as long as the one thousandth of the time the dinosaurs did), then we might just be an insignificant leg in the ladder of evolution, blindly following someone's fantasies about a higher being or rewarding moralities.

The articles starts nonchalantly with,
Compassion today is widely regarded as a good, and those who display it as good people. Indeed, many see compassion or some related virtue (e.g., empathy) as the core of goodness, as the virtue of virtues. It's not only a private but also a public virtue, much cherished in our politicians. Even in international affairs, of all places, the apex of virtuous action is widely taken to be "humanitarian intervention" or the use of force to relieve suffering. Compassion has not always enjoyed so lofty and uncontroversial a status; will it someday once again relinquish it?

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