I’ve let my beard grow wild this winter. I’m aiming for a look something like a cross between Darwin and John Brown, with a dash of John Berryman. Old Testament not Miracle on 34th. Mrs. Dr. Omed has noted that I’ve been fondling, pulling, stroking and tugging, and generally having my way with it. Friends of all sexes have confirmed my vanity in my excess hirsuteness by admiring these and other recent selfies posted to Facebook. Simply by increasing the length of my facial hair, I have increased enjoyment. I do not expect such joy.
I haven’t yet joined Beard Game Matters, however.
My John Berryman look.
*Empathy can turn to evil. Feelings are slippery, sneaky, untrustworthy things, hard to control and dangerous when in control. Empathize with care; there is peril. Consider being cold and calculating. At least there’s some thought involved. Compassion is a dish best served cold.
Empathy like bravery is a neutral quality, not an unalloyed virtue. People bravely do evil at least as often as they bravely do good, and empathy can also be turned to evil ends. Bravery in committing evil is relatively straightforward, but empathy is more crooked when it turns to ill. Empathy can be useful, and should be cultivated, but whether it comes up from the ground as a useful herb or noxious weed depends on what you feed it.
I am not neurotypical; I do not feel or process emotions as the neurotypical do. but not only am I mentally abnormal, I’m a neuro-dissident. I think too much empathy is worse than none at all. Grandiose inflation and conflation of feelings is empathy metastasized. People who in their vasty depths of empathy claim the world’s pain commit theft by fraud. Often, in that knowing or delusional fraud people use stolen pain in their own interest. T.S. Eliot has a line in Ash Wednesday, “Teach us to care and not to care”. I try to care and not to care. I regard this the detachment necessary to compassion. So, I feel ya, I don’t condone ya. My feelings are not your feelings, even when we agree.
To those in pain: I may or may not feel your pain, but if you feel pained I don’t feel your pain, I am not inflicting that pain nor do I intend pain: it is a gift you give yourself in another’s name.
Note: I’d like to thank Alex G for letting me, if not clarify, gather my thoughts on empathy in her comment box.
Posted in 24-7 Sermonette, Talking to myself letting you listen, Thought Balloon
Tagged Ash Wednesday, bravery, compassion, detachment, empathy, good and evil, neurodissident, neurotypical, pain, T.S. Eliot
George Rogers Clark Memorial, Vincennes, Indiana
*Winter is the gun in the mouth that, except for the fraction in luck, sucks the hot lead exploding into the brain back to the muzzle, into the barrel, back to the chamber, stilling, chilling, re-mating the bullet with cold brass and unignited powder.
File under talking to myself, letting you listen.
And as Tiny Tim didn’t say, Godot bless us everyone.
Odilon Redon, Guardian Spirit of the Waters, 1878