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World could use more compassion

To the editor:

Fortunately there are many altruistic people who are busy making various contributions to the well-being of humanity. However, there’s a sizeable population of folks who are greedy and mean-spirited and believe that “I’ve got mine, and screw everyone else.” The mean spirit also is reflected in much of the extreme conservative political agenda that works to dismantle any social safety nets such as fuel assistance, extending unemployment benefits, etc.

Pictures of Earth taken from space depict a little ball — Spaceship Earth, Mother Earth — floating through a vast, expanding universe. From space, there are no boundaries between countries, no indications where the “haves” and “have-nots” live. There’s no “them and us.” Rather on Spaceship Earth, it’s “us and us.”

Whether we note the wisdom of religion, science and/or indigenous people, the basic message is everything and everyone (all 8 billion of us) are sacred and inter-connected. Every human has the basic agenda to be happy and to avoid suffering. Every human is pursuing three basic human rights — safety, nurturing and recognition. Both the 1 percent and the 99 percent need lots of oxygen and water to survive. Unfortunately, about 85 percent of the humans currently on earth do not have consistent access to clean air, clean water and/or basic shelter. So our current social, political and economic systems are failing badly in the resource distribution department. The greedy and mean-spirited say who cares.

Among Jesus’ teachings was, “It’s better to give than receive.” Native Americans believe once you have adequate resources, you give freely to others. The 12th step in Alcoholics Anonymous says give your sobriety to others and you’ll stay sober. For Buddhists, compassion is the pathway to happiness and a meaningful life. These are win-win methods that work really well.

For 37 years as an addiction counselor, I have seen a steady stream of humans failing at life. For these greedy folks it was all about more, more, more. The extreme selfishness was what is in it for me, self and I? Chasing the high led to spiritual bankruptcy. The social stigma and mean-spirited name calling from others would isolate the addict. Fortunately, if one learns to separate people — the human beings — from the troubled behaviors, then lives can be saved. However, a greedy and mean-spirited approach is used, the results are lose-lose.

Mike Beebe


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