In my article Why I do not believe that the love of money is the root of all evil I said that money, or the love of money, is not the root of all evil. But then what is? If there is a root of all evil, I believe it must be seeing others (or other groups) as inferior. Not being able to have compassion for one another and others point of view, not being able to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes: Looking at situations from a different perspective.
Take a look at human history and the way we run our lives: private, in the workplace, in business or on a global scale. The lack of compassion is a central theme and it’s been with us for centuries. To name a few: men vs. women, race discrimination, war, terrorism, genocide, the language we speak, religious conflicts (“Our God is better than yours”), sexuality. They all find their roots in the lack of compassion.
If you are not part of our group and think the way we do; we have the right to suppress you or even kill you, if you do not do exactly what we tell you to do. You are not human enough, by our standards, to earn our respect.
Everyone has his own values. We all think we are good, decent people. But as soon as we have to deal with people outside our own social group or people with other values, maybe people who frighten us, we think of them as less important, less worthy. But why, aren’t we all human?
Crime is a good example of this. Most criminals are motivated by money; but they usually select their victims outside of their own social group; which is providing them the perfect excuse for their crime: “I only rob rich people, they have plenty”.
The lack of compassion is extra evident when religions clash. For most religion, if not all, love is at the core of their values. But look what happens when it concerns others? Look at Christians, Jews and Islam. In essence they share the same source, they believe in the same God. It’s their interpretation of the truth, their truth, compared with fanaticism that has, and still is, causing a lot of grief and suffering. Even within the same religion, people clash. Look at Christianity and the Spanish Inquisition. As soon as you have a different interpretation of the truth, you end up with people fighting or hurting each other; Believing they have the right interpretation of their faith, the others not.
I always compare religions, when they clash, with children fighting one another for the love of their father. Don’t you think parents love all their children?
But even in our normal day-to-day interactions with people we often lack compassion. Believing we are right and the other must be wrong. Our ego, sometimes, is so huge that we lack the ability to see someone else’s point of view as another way of looking at things. We defend our position to the bitter end. God forbid we are wrong and they are right.
I guess it is a matter how conscious you are. How much compassion you have is directly linked to your level of consciousness.
My experience is that everyone is right, from their point of view. Everyone has a little piece to solve the puzzle. We all need each other. We all need compassion. As soon as we understand this, we are on the right track.
In the next argument you have, take a step back and instead if defending your position, take a moment and think about it. If I was in his shoes, would I say the same? Have I thought of all possibilities, am I missing something? Could it be that he is right? Could it be that we are both right?
Let go of your ego. Let go of defending yourself. If you are open to this kind if thinking there is a whole new world out there. A world full of compassion. At the very least it will help you improve your communication with others. Isn’t that a great goal in itself?
Good post there, Patrick!
It mostly comes down to psychological divisions created by past conditioning – and where there is division, there will be conflict.
Spiritual teacher, Jiddu Krishnamurti observed and offered solutions to how we must first free ourselves from conditoning for us to find peace with ourselves and one another.
Read more about it here:
The problem is people identify with their group and their beliefs. They think that’s who they are. When their group or their beliefs are threatened, they feel threatened and so they attack, as if their very survival were at stake. That’s why it’s so easy for leaders and politicians to manipulate people through fear. So if by compassion you mean the recognition that the other is I and I am the other, then I absolutely agree that the lack of compassion is the root of all evil. Solomon said it best: “We are all one breath.”
A nice post, Patrick.
I think you are right on point, here.
Lack of compassion and understanding is at the core of the challenges in our world.
Now if we could just get those insensitive jerks to listen to reason!… Oh wait…
yes i agree this world lacks compassion,its both people and the devils fault not jesus or god. jesus and god want people to get along as in some verses in the bible it goes be kind to,love one another and etc.the majority of people have failed miserably in this.i myself am a compassionate person,but i admit im sick of people being,racist,sexist,materialistic,selfish,greedy and etc. im sick of these sayings lifes not fair,get over it,stop feeling sorry for yourself,i dont know,i dont know what to tell you,not my problem,so,i dont care,what do you want me to do?. these kind of people make me sick and ill be glad when payback strikes them as it says in romans chapter 12 verse 19.vengence is mine ill repay saith the lord. jesus has compassion,god has compassion,martin luther king jr had compassion,i have it so why couldnt everyone else.fact is anyone,i mean anyone doesnt matter your race,gender,age,poor,rich or in between could get along with anyone if they really wanted too. i love gods law,but im pissed at the worlds law,plus im pissed with most not all people and the devil himself satan.