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Ode to the Naked and the Starving

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posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 08:18 PM
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When I see photos of the spurned and the damned, the forlorn and the dying, my heart does not bleed. I am not struck by an overwhelming feeling of pity. The initial reaction, to my shame, is one of indifference. Veiled indifference, but indifference nonetheless. But I find myself obliged to sympathy. I would not be a good person, were I not to feel something at the sight of these hapless, wretched people, caught in a maelstrom of nature's callousness, so terribly amplified by human cruelty and incompetence. Life is never lacking for irony, and when I see these people, their likenesses are often mere tokens of avarice. Poignant mockeries plastered on my television screen to coax money from all the credulous saps that abound in the first world. It's easy to become jaded and cynical at the sight of all this.

Besides sympathy and indifference, there is always that third kind of reaction. The kind that any right-thinking person despises, though it may be hard to spot at first. That boiling scorn that emanates from the mouths of cretins and psychopaths. “They deserve it”, so they say, “They should learn to help themselves”. And then there's that haughty dismissal- “Well, it's not my fault they aren't smart enough to build a modern, progressive society like ours”. A society that the mulish speaker likely had no part in furthering or advancing, though of course he believes otherwise. He believes it's his inherent virtue which allowed him to be so lucky, born where he was.

When I look at the unfortunate folk of this world, I see an expression of humanity. Not the artificial “humanity” of celebrities donating a
fraction of their wealth to charity, or traveling to the third world so their token compassion may be documented- all the while maintaining a solid buffer between themselves and their anguished beneficiaries. No, there no humanity in that. Neither is there humanity in supporting “social justice” to suit an ideology, or because it bestows some credibility in the current political climate. There is always a lurking suspicion that there is no real altruism- everyone is only in it for themselves, even if they themselves genuinely believe otherwise. I do not know if this is truly the case. But there is always that suspicion.

I am no better. The prospect of leaving my comfortable little world frightens me, and I am content to stay where I am and help no one but myself. Besides, what good can one person do in the face of omnipresent suffering? I may be able to help a few, which is good, but they cannot all be helped. We are all inured to suffering, and you may eradicate one form only to have it replaced with another. There's no use dreading an immutable fact of life. But this is not the right attitude to have, either. If we all had an attitude like that, the world would be worse for it. Nonetheless, I'll likely maintain that attitude to the end.

But the starved and damned of our world, they don't concern themselves with these things. Their minds are rarely fixated on some vain ideology, or some kind of personal triumphalism. They live for that brief moment of respite in which nothing else matters. The moment when some kindness, or some stroke of luck, has let them eat well for a day. They sit with their families and relish the simple perfection of it.

The more I think about it, the more I come to one simple conclusion- their suffering is beautiful. Not because they suffer, but because they are alive. I do think that I love these people.
edit on 13-8-2015 by Talorc because: (no reason given)




posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 08:22 PM
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I have been one of those people. Speaking from this experience, I tell you that your ode to the Internet at large doesn't do a damn bit of good. And if that's all you plan to do, then save your energy. Don't form planning committees or go to church to pray or file an online petition or post a viral Facebook video. Go outside to the naked and the starving. They don't want petitions or committees or hashtags, they want you. They want to not feel alone.



posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 08:34 PM
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originally posted by: TzarChasm
I have been one of those people. Speaking from this experience, I tell you that your ode to the Internet at large doesn't do a damn bit of good. And if that's all you plan to do, then save your energy. Don't form planning committees or go to church to pray or file an online petition or post a viral Facebook video. Go outside to the naked and the starving. They don't want petitions or committees or hashtags, they want you. They want to not feel alone.


Indeed, I think you're right. I also think you misunderstand me. I am not petitioning anyone to go out and save people. Far from it, which I did make pretty clear. I am telling you how I make sense of suffering in the world.

This is how I make sense of it. No doubt a vain effort, but these are my thoughts.
edit on 13-8-2015 by Talorc because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 08:49 PM
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A reply to: Talorc

What does it mean to be human, in your opinion?



posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 08:57 PM
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My heart bleeds. And I hope it never stops, until and even after it stops beating. Because the day it stops is the day the last shred of humanity has bled out. The way to make sense of it or start to or try to is to notice and to feel it and to think about it, even if you can't do anything about it or it seems as if you can't or shouldn't. Great post.



posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 09:02 PM
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a reply to: TzarChasm

I don't know. It may not mean anything at all, besides the biological defintion. As an abstract term, all I can say is that maybe it's like some kind of intuition. Something felt rather than known.

Which is not saying much. If anything. Underwhelming answer, but I don't know what else to say.



posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 09:36 PM
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a reply to: Talorc

My brother after he got out of the military, did not come straight home right away. He did two tours in Vietnam, and he lived in the streets for about four years before he came home , found a job, got married, had three sons, and started his own business.

He never forgot that time he spent in the streets, though he never spoke much about them. He did something that used to drive his wife crazy, he embraced the homeless. If he saw someone that he knew was hungry, he would go to a nice restaurant, get them a nice meal with all the fixings, trimmings and dessert. He would sit and talk with them while they ate. He would make up odd jobs for those that wanted to earn a few dollars. His wife hated when he spent his money like that, or when he gave away his clothes, shoes and jackets.

We didn't know how far he went or how many people he personally helped until the day of his funeral. He died suddenly and unexpectedly, doing something else he enjoyed, hanging with buddies watching a football game. The number of people that showed up proved challenging, as the place could not accomdate them all. The number of people that came forward to tell their stories of how they came to know my brother, his generosity, his genuineness and his love for his fellow man left us speechless.

@TzarChasm you are right. What some that are naked and starving need, is someone to let them know that they matter, that someone really cares. For some it may be the first day of the rest of their life.



posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 09:36 PM
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originally posted by: ~Lucidity
My heart bleeds. And I hope it never stops, until and even after it stops beating. Because the day it stops is the day the last shred of humanity has bled out. The way to make sense of it or start to or try to is to notice and to feel it and to think about it, even if you can't do anything about it or it seems as if you can't or shouldn't. Great post.


Not so great, if people cannot understand the point of it. How this thread was construed as some kind of "internet activism" is beyond me.



posted on Aug, 15 2015 @ 02:51 PM
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a reply to: Talorc

"Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh." - Luke 6:21

Every heart will be healed and every stomach will be filled. It is God's Promise to take care of The Existence as The Light of Peace and Heaven shines more and more overcoming the illusion of lack and darkness.

With Faith all things are possible. Ask and it is Given.

Even now, there is a lot of love and abundance in the world to be appreciated. The Kingdom of Heaven is Here.
edit on 15-8-2015 by arpgme because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 8 2015 @ 10:47 PM
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a reply to: Talorc


The initial reaction, to my shame, is one of indifference.

There is nothing wrong with this, and certainly nothing to be ashamed of. It is the result of advancing technology.

A hundred years ago, the great French writer Marcel Proust already understood what was happening:


...that abominable and sensual act called reading the newspaper, thanks to which all the misfortunes and cataclysms in the universe over the last twenty-four hours, the battles which cost the lives of fifty thousand men, the murders, the strikes, the bankruptcies, the fires, the poisonings, the suicides, the divorces, the cruel emotions of statesmen and actors, are transformed for us, who don't even care, into a morning treat, blending in wonderfully, in a particularly exciting and tonic way, with the recommended ingestion of a few sips of café au lait. Source

Our consciences, like everything else about us, are the products of evolution. They are intended to help propagate our genes by promoting altruistic conduct towards others who carry them — our relatives, more or less distant. In other words, the proper evolutionary targets of altruism are (in this order), children, siblings, parents, first cousins, extended family members, particularly younger ones, and other members of the hunter-gatherer band. It ends there. It is not appropriate to extend one's altruism to members of other bands, certainly not to other tribes or societies, or to other animal species except, perhaps, from those that are useful to us.

Yet because we are human, and because we have found that altruism and cooperation on a much wider basis are beneficial to us all, we have found ways to extend our compassionate feelings and acts well beyond the self-serving boundaries set for us by our genes. It is still in humanity's interest to do so, but the personal benefits are more distant, shared by the whole community, while the personal inconvenience or sacrifice (as in the case of those admirable Europeans who are now opening the doors of their societies and homes to foreign refugees) may be as great or greater.

This does us credit as individuals and as a species. However, as communications technology has improved over the last 150 years or so, it has brought to our attention more and more people and things to care about, and rendered their plight in ever more immediacy and detail.

It was bad enough in Proust's time, when only newspapers existed to bring the sorrows of the world into our drawing-rooms. Photography, and later colour printing in large formats (magazines like Life), furnished us with heartrending visuals that excited our altruistic impulses even more. Then came television. And now we have the internet, and social media — the sufferings of everybody, all over the planet, on line for the world to see, complete with photos and videos to further excite your sympathy.

Compassion-fatigue is a natural, completely understandable defensive reaction. Human sympathy and charity are not drawn from some bottomless well. They are products of our animal nature. There is really no need to feel ashamed of one's indifference; rather, I recommend cultivating it in order to save the bulk of one's compassion for spending closer to home, where one's charity is likely to do some good.

As TzarChasm implies, abstract compassion is of no use to the suffering. Save it for the neighbours.


edit on 8/11/15 by Astyanax because: of editorial fatigue



posted on Nov, 14 2015 @ 04:40 AM
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originally posted by: Talorc
When I see photos of the spurned and the damned, the forlorn and the dying, my heart does not bleed. I am not struck by an overwhelming feeling of pity.

That is ego speaking. Pity is "It's too bad that they aren't as rich/healthy/well-off... as I am!
They should be more like me!"


I do think that I love these people.

You'd KNOW!
There are sufficient resources for all to live well, if the selfish and greedy didn't take more than their share!
'Charity', an unconditional Virtue of unconditional Love is not taking more than your share of anything! Ever!
(It has nothing to do with tossing spare wealth at your 'victims'!)

True, unconditional Love is ALWAYS recognized by It's unconditional Virtues; Compassion, Empathy, Sympathy, Gratitude, Humility, Charity (charity is never taking more than your share of anything, ever!), Honesty, Happiness, Faith...
ALWAYS!
edit on 14-11-2015 by namelesss because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 14 2015 @ 04:55 AM
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a reply to: Talorc

That was saddeningly beautiful, haunting, and succinct.

I sought for my Higher Calling long ago, and it was for me to experience homelessness, hunger and the kindness of simplicity firsthand, alongside the homeless, that I might be of help and assistance in helping make right the oversight of my somewhat well to do (in comparison) upbringing. It is hard for me to shed tears, but when I do it overflows and my wailing is terrible to hear even unto myself. Everyday, I hope to find a way in which I might assist those in genuine need....but I am far from wealthy, the most I can do some days is a smile, or words of comfort. Other days I can donate extra food or clothing, and I do my best to make such things a routine investment on behalf of others survival and progress towards wholeness. I do not ask for recognition, I do not want it, I want for all to be clothed and fed, and on the path to their higher peace. I cannot cry, for I do not have time.

My heart is heavy this night and I cannot sleep.

Thank you for your words....it is easy to become cynical and dispassionate, and fall into opulence and self-service. You have reminded me, and hopefully others, that every day is a new beginning, that we might have an opportunity to help others in some way, according to our talents, according to our gifts, and according to our abilities.

May we all find our Way when the sun rises on our faces once again.
May we ALL find our Peace in this world.
May we never lose our footing on that Road.

Thanks for the gentle reminder, and beautiful words.
My heart was hardening, and I cannot allow that to happen again.



posted on Nov, 30 2015 @ 11:36 AM
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I just read the most recent responses. Thank you everyone, it's given me a lot to think on.



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