Practice Compassion and Empathy, Not Fear or Hate

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As people, we generally want the same things. We want ourselves and our families to be safe. We want food, water, and shelter. We want the freedom to pursue our happiness and wealth as we see fit. These are fairly universal desires. The great tragedy of the human condition in the modern world is that we, for some reason, refuse to recognize that other people are just like us. Despite their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, geography, or other characteristic, people generally want the same things. While we want to be free to seek our own happiness, we continue to insist that everyone’s happiness must be identical to our own or it is illegitimate. This post is a simple recognition that we’re not all so different. We are human beings trying to accomplish the same things, and the only thing getting in our way is each other.

The problem with the world is not that things like feminism, Black Lives Matter, and other such movements exist. The real tragedy is that we have created a world in which these movements are necessary. It’s actually quite unbelievable when you think about it. As humans, we actually have the power to effectively create any sort of world we want. Scarcity of resources, wealth, and talent is a myth. There is plenty to go around; it’s just concentrated in all the wrong places and used in all the wrong ways. And yet, we decide instead to kill one another over trivial differences in opinion. We commit terrible atrocities in the name of security and create a universe of “us and them” that perpetuates that violates.

Rather than realizing that illegal immigrants are, like any other person, trying to find their way in life, we treat them like some sort of festering sore that needs to be removed. Rather than understanding that black people in America simply want the same treatment under the law that white citizens receive and giving it to them, we spend our time talking about the ethics of a football player not standing during the national anthem. We start national arguments over who can use which public bathroom, while the bathrooms in our own homes are always unisex.

What you need to understand is that your happy ending is not mutually exclusive of everyone else’s happy ending. The gay man down the street can marry his partner of choosing, and so can you. The black family across the street can receive the same mortgage rates that you do without it hurting you. If the person in the cubical next to yours uses the same bathroom as you, but you don’t know if they have the same body parts as you, it doesn’t hurt you. If the Mexican father gets a job as a server in a restaurant to help put his kids through school, then don’t sweat it. You’re not applying for that job anyway. Muslims can build a mosque right next to a church….right next to a synagogue….right next to a temple….and so on.

Stop treating people like they aren’t people, just stop it. You’ll find that it’s actually much easier than you think. Society and politicians have tricked you into thinking that there are all these problems that need to be solved and addressed, when in reality, the only problem is ourselves. Illegal immigrants? Just give them amnesty and legalize them. Gay marriage? Let them get married; why do you care? Pro life vs. Pro choice? They’re not forcing you to get an abortion, right?

When you begin to fall into the trap of fear, just remember that hatred begets hatred. Violence, terrorism, and the like do not exist in a vacuum. They are human inventions, responses to distress. They are bred and created, and they cannot be stopped with more violence. Respond to fear and hate with empathy and compassion. You think it’s harder, but as T Swift showed us, it’s quite easy to just shake it off, actually much easier than continuing to be angry and afraid.

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