Results 1 to 27 of 27

Thread: Compassion & the natural order

  1. #1
    lump's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    TIM
    Fi/Te 641 sp/sx
    Posts
    12,611
    Mentioned
    631 Post(s)
    Tagged
    3 Thread(s)

    Default Compassion & the natural order

    "Compassion has no place in the natural order of the world, which operates on the basis of necessity. The laws of necessity are as unexceptional as the laws of gravitation. The human faculty of compassion opposes this order and is therefore best thought of as being in some way supernatural." John Berger

    What's your take? Does compassion oppose the natural order?

  2. #2
    Haikus Beautiful sky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    EII land
    TIM
    EII INFj
    Posts
    22,740
    Mentioned
    531 Post(s)
    Tagged
    6 Thread(s)

    Default

    Compassion doesn't oppose natural order. Whoever wrote that is not smart enough to understand that nature doesn't operate in a linear and predictable ways. There are branches in the evolutionary process.

    If it opposed natural order it would not exist today. Therefore it is perfectly natural. The order may be odd or uncanny but not opposed.

    Everything arises as or out of necessity to thrive and flourish. Nothing in nature wants to die so it finds a way. Maybe compassion is that way.

  3. #3
    The Iniquitous inumbra's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    TIM
    954
    Posts
    5,989
    Mentioned
    70 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    i just think compassion is something felt by social animals of sufficient emotional complexity. social animals recognize (in part, mirror) the emotions of others and react emotionally to those emotions. one of the ways social animals may respond to another's distress is by trying to sooth it (diminish it). this happens when they feel for the one in distress.

    this aspect of animal nature arose because it worked best for survival of social species. if a mother feels nothing for its young in distress and takes no action they may die. the young are often helpless, so every distress signal from them must be responded to (the mother's feeling compels her responsive action).

    mainly social animals of sufficient emotional complexity and intelligence have to feel their social bonds in order to be compelled to behave cooperatively. since these species rely on cooperation in large part for their survival, feeling for one another in some way becomes a necessity.

    so i guess i think compassion is deeply within the "natural order of things."

    i generally think life has arisen in many places in the universe, and that this pattern has probably repeated in all of them (if complex social life) even if it would look a little weird (compared to how it arose on earth) in some occurrences. as such, the universe is a generator of compassion (among the other things it generates)...

    but maybe i don't really believe in "the supernatural." i think that just refers to things that may be natural or may not exist at all and we don't know which it is. things on the edges of human understanding, where some are phantoms and others real.
    Last edited by inumbra; 07-01-2016 at 10:12 AM.

  4. #4
    Landlord of the Dog and Duck Subteigh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    TIM
    EII-Ne Sp/So
    Posts
    14,936
    Mentioned
    243 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)

    Default

    If "true" compassion exists in terms of the natural order, it does so in an inefficient manner. What we typically associate with compassion, according to evolutionary theory, is selfish behaviour at some level, otherwise it is a waste of energy for the gene/geneplex/individual.

    This does not mean of course that individuals are not capable of truly compassionate (i.e. unselfishly altruistic) behaviour. But I don't think it is a question we need to think too much about.
    EII-Ne
    5w4 or 1w9 Sp/So

  5. #5
    both sides, now wacey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Canada
    TIM
    9w8
    Posts
    3,282
    Mentioned
    124 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Compassion is probably the highest psycho-social cognitive ability of the human organism.

    The buddhists refer to it as a diamond because it is both sharp and clear.

    I would say that the rare moments I have felt true, overwhelming compassion, were some of the most spiritual and deeply moving moments/experiences of my life so far. I feel compassion is necessarily a short lived experience, although the attitude of compassion may be cultivated given time and practise. You can meet such people, there is usually one or two in any given person's life. I guess there is an element of the super-natural in it, as these episodes of overwhelming compassion, at least in my exp, were brought about almost through a religious exp called grace. Although I am an atheist, I can appreciate the language of religion when describing these compassionate episodes.

    It is deeper and more profound then empathy. Compassion is almost mixed with love yet is perceived through the parts of yourself that are well beyond the subjective "me" mind.

    I think many people, the small majority, might say they know what compassion is although most have no idea. So in that sense it is a rare, religious exp and so borders on the super-natural. (see inumbra's description of natural/super-natural as it easily describes my views as well).

    Maybe this human ability of compassion does oppose the natural order- maybe it is a natural progression as well- a side of the continuum. Which is why the buddhists say it is a great blessing to be a consciousness born into a human body - because only human's have the rare capacity to awaken to the true nature of existence and so see the frightening beauty and calamity that is the natural order. I believe it is this awakening that can lead to the state of compassion because the awakened mind can see that other creatures, human beings included, are in this terrifying predicament called life as well. This can lead to dealing more kindly with one another, in whatever capacity is right in front of you. Compassion is a powerful force and can lead the compassionate to states of extreme right action. Sharp and clear say the buddhists.

    Is calling it super-natural using a superlative? Sure. Is it poetic to say that it is super-natural (and therefore divine)? Yes. Does that change the fact human beings have this endowed capacity from our ancestors, this ability in our human brains to wake up out of the dream state and see life and nature as it truly is? No, it does not.

    To see life as it truly is...this is fertile ground where compassion is born from. That necessity, the agency of our dangerous lives can awaken compassion in brave souls. Who see we are all stuck in this predicament together. Once awake, how would you face it?
    Last edited by wacey; 07-02-2016 at 08:02 AM.
    "If this to end in fire, then we should all burn together. Watch the flames climb higher into the night."

  6. #6
    Muddy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    1,227
    Mentioned
    67 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Default

    Compassion you say? Let me take a moment to see if I can find any of this compassion stuff within myself.

    Hmmm, nope, nowhere to be found.

  7. #7
    Arete GuavaDrunk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Now in stores near you.
    TIM
    EIE 9w8-5-4 s?
    Posts
    1,524
    Mentioned
    100 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    Reason is a whore.

  8. #8
    escaping anndelise's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    WA
    TIM
    IEE 649 sx/sp cp
    Posts
    6,329
    Mentioned
    209 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Jaak Panksepp has researched emotion systems in a variety of mammals and other animals. He gets down to the nitty gritty in his research. He's identified 7 systems all mammals share. Seeking, Lust, Care, Play, Rage, Fear, Panic (Separation Distress). As the mammals become more complex, their social structures become more complex, and so then do their emotional systems. An example, we humans may have started out caring for our young, and being distressed when we are separated from our caregivers, and from our young; but we've evolved that into caring for our companions, band, tribe, etc.

    We even developed language and tools due to the ability to observe another creature, grasp its intent, mimic it and/or use what we know to anticipate it's liklihood of success/failure. This is part of the ability to empathize/sympathize. To see another creature and its situation and feel it as if we were experiencing it ourselves.

    Compassion most definitely has a place in the natural world, without which we wouldn't have survived/evolved into such a complex species. But even other animals have been known to demonstrate compassion. Admittedly it usually happens when more pressing needs have already been met.
    IEE 649 sx/sp cp

  9. #9
    The Iniquitous inumbra's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    TIM
    954
    Posts
    5,989
    Mentioned
    70 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    i'm not even sure humans are the most compassionate species... other contenders: elephants, some species of dolphins and whales

  10. #10
    Haikus
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    MI
    TIM
    IEI-Ni
    Posts
    10,060
    Mentioned
    223 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)

    Default

    What's your take?
    Compassion is natural, but str8 females aren't going to pay attention to it as much as sadistic bad boy cruelty of course.

    Well kidding aside, compassion I suppose is always going to feel more 'invisible' in a way to humans than the the sort of primitive pull of being the mouse with a snake wrapped around your body. But I have a good instinctual sense of who is respectful and empathetic to my 'inner mouse' and who just wants to squeeze me and eat me until I bleed. And all the shades of gray inbetween. This invisible thread of humanity doesn't need to be talked about - but neither does the opposite, actually. It is all implied and for me, easy to figure out. But the few times where it's not easy- when I am surprised by a person's compassion or cruelty, is what makes for an interesting story.

    In other words, I am more sad if a friend stabs me in the back then I am an obvious predator obviously pouncing on me. (I used to kinda be the opposite- but then you realize what the real world is really like, and then you are sadly concerned of opening up too much to a loved one as much as you are of avoiding strangers in dark alleys.)


    Last edited by bnd; 07-04-2016 at 09:17 PM.

  11. #11
    squark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    2,116
    Mentioned
    140 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lungs View Post
    "Compassion has no place in the natural order of the world, which operates on the basis of necessity. The laws of necessity are as unexceptional as the laws of gravitation. The human faculty of compassion opposes this order and is therefore best thought of as being in some way supernatural." John Berger

    What's your take? Does compassion oppose the natural order?
    No. Compassion is a necessity. Without it, none of us would survive our first year of life.

  12. #12

    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    557
    Mentioned
    34 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    One thing about compassion is it strikes one as a relatively close (but more affectively influenced) cousin of reason -- reason aims to propose justification for one's state of wellbeing/not, so it isn't surprising that a reason-oriented organism might make the connection that, hey, actually there's no inherent reason I couldn't have been in that person's position. I happen to be here, in a state of wellbeing, but it seems somewhat random.
    From this arises imposing "oughts" in a world that could otherwise be regarded as value-free -- that is, the application of the same desire for order, reason, etc to such questions of wellbeing.

    I think on a rudimentary level, compassion probably begins with affective orientations to one's kin that i'd expect even animals might have-- that makes a lot of sense (protecting one's kin helps ensure survival). It isn't hard to see a reason-based organism capable of forming massive societies to protect their interests to evolve a more expansive sense of fairness/justice.

    still, it's not like there aren't tons of people who only protect the interests of a few people, and aren't more large-hearted in compassion.

    Last, I'm not familiar with this topic much so take this with grain of salt, but is everything really by necessity? I think there seems to be more randomness in nature than that. I mean, it seems like there are many possible ways to improve one's species, and natural selection selects for those improvements, but it doesn't seem like evolution is like some not-considerably-random algorithm.
    That would suggest things couldn't have been any other way to support necessity -- a lot of "necessities" are not met, and a lot of "imperfection" in meeting necessity exists.

  13. #13
    Haikus Beautiful sky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    EII land
    TIM
    EII INFj
    Posts
    22,740
    Mentioned
    531 Post(s)
    Tagged
    6 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by squark View Post
    No. Compassion is a necessity. Without it, none of us would survive our first year of life.
    That's very well said

  14. #14
    killer wolf lemontrees's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    emotionz
    TIM
    SEI
    Posts
    1,114
    Mentioned
    100 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    I think "compassion" is a really vague term and it's both very black and white and almost like saying nothing at all to say that it is against the "natural order." I think compassion has its place, is often an innate impulse (likewise, jealousy, fucking people over, etc, are innate impulses), and it's one strand in the order of things.

  15. #15
    Haikus
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Posts
    721
    Mentioned
    40 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    I find the phrase "Natural Order" self-contradictory and hypocritical. Anyone who speaks of a natural order is trying to shoehorn a rugged individualist mindset into one of immaculacy and divine will, which is a contradiction. He is neither an individualist nor a servant of the cosmos. He is an advocate of laws that applied to lower species, not to us.

    If you want to believe that man has his own will, you must also accept that this will is detached from the cosmic forces around you; that everything that we see and experience is a mistake. If you want to make yourself a servant to the greater forces at work, you must understand that your own programming is the closest direct product of these forces. The best way to adapt to the whims of the cosmos is to know your own strength, to know that it may be taken from you at any moment, and to understand that your very existence is not your property, but a loan.






    I am really sorry. It's not like I enjoy typing up this shit, I just for the life of me can't stop myself.


  16. #16
    rat200Turbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    587
    Mentioned
    32 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Well nature would be concerned with whether compassion was beneficial to the individual, which is not too hard to imagine. Depends on what we're looking at. Society tends to coalesce around compassionate people moreso than noncompassionate people (probably something I could learn from). This would be very clear in same-species relations, and it could possibly exist between species which are non antagonistic, basically neutral toward one another; compassion sets a precedent for interactions. Between predators and prey it is more difficult to see how compassion could be helpful, but plausible once you consider that a predator relies on the population of its prey for its survival. It is beneficial for a predator to prune and maintain the prey population rather than, for example, devour a newborn calf or a mother who is nursing. And the prey kind of needs predators to help thin out their populations and select for survival, preserve resources, maintain integrity of the gene pool and other things. So in a way this could be viewed as compassionate, though it is a very harsh form of compassion especially if you're on the receiving end of it.

  17. #17
    Don't forget the the thehotelambush's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    TIM
    LII
    Posts
    6,617
    Mentioned
    158 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by squark View Post
    No. Compassion is a necessity. Without it, none of us would survive our first year of life.
    This. The whole universe exists out of compassion.

  18. #18
    Adam Strange's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Midwest, USA
    TIM
    ENTJ-1Te 8w7 sx/so
    Posts
    2,525
    Mentioned
    374 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Default


  19. #19
    Landlord of the Dog and Duck Subteigh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    TIM
    EII-Ne Sp/So
    Posts
    14,936
    Mentioned
    243 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)

    Default

    I don't think a mother's love for their child is compassion in the true meaning of the term. Beings have offspring for selfish reasons, and their affection is part of the instinct that drives them to reproduce in the first place.

    Compassion for other beings at a wider level is of a net benefit to a community/species/life as a whole, in a similar way that knowledge of pain is beneficial in order to limit or prevent pain. Compassion is necessary in an universe that does not care: if there was no harm, what we label as compassion would not be necessary.
    EII-Ne
    5w4 or 1w9 Sp/So

  20. #20

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    256
    Mentioned
    6 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lungs View Post
    "Compassion has no place in the natural order of the world, which operates on the basis of necessity. The laws of necessity are as unexceptional as the laws of gravitation. The human faculty of compassion opposes this order and is therefore best thought of as being in some way supernatural." John Berger

    What's your take? Does compassion oppose the natural order?
    The natural order is to try to pass your genes along, and having compassion for your children and those who are of assistance to you certainly helps in that task. Survival isn't all about who can kill who, it's about also supporting those who support you in turn. That's where compassion comes in.

  21. #21
    Milo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Posts
    364
    Mentioned
    7 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by squark View Post
    No. Compassion is a necessity. Without it, none of us would survive our first year of life.
    There are plenty of species on this globe that survive their first year not relying on compassion. If you take human beings to be of utmost importance then it's a necessity, but life goes on and will go on without it.

    Quote Originally Posted by thehotelambush View Post
    This. The whole universe exists out of compassion.
    Some would argue that existence isn't really compassionate, looking at suffering illness wars and 100% lethal outcome for all of us. One day the universe, too, will cease to be--is this when the compassion ends?

  22. #22
    Muddy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    1,227
    Mentioned
    67 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by squark View Post
    No. Compassion is a necessity. Without it, none of us would survive our first year of life.
    They did test on mammals of others species where they removed the hormone ocytocin from nursing mothers and found that the mothers would abandon their young without the hormone. So it would be more accurate to say that the hormones and chemicals that make us feel the things we label as love/compassion are what are essential towards our survival as human babies. People who call themselves compassionate are just people who have their brains and body chemisty structured or conditioned in such a way that they recieve feelings of pleasure and euphoria from the thought that they are helping others, as opposed to things people more commonly derive pleasure from such as making money. They may appear self-sacrificing to others but in reality their compassion is just a product of the way their mind is programmed to make them act, through genetics and possibly social conditioning.
    Last edited by Muddy; 01-10-2017 at 05:00 PM.

  23. #23
    squark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    2,116
    Mentioned
    140 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ares View Post
    They did test on mammals of others species where they removed the hormone ocytocin from nursing mothers and found that the mothers would abandon their young without the hormone. So it would be more accurate to say that the hormones and chemicals that make us feel the things we label as love/compassion are what are essential towards our survival as human babies. People who call themselves compassionate are just people who have their brains and body chemisty structured or conditioned in such a way that they recieve feelings of pleasure and euphoria from the thought that they are helping others, as opposed to things people more commonly derive pleasure from such as making money. They may appear self-sacrificing to others but in reality their compassion is just a product of the way their mind is programmed to make them act, through genetics and possibly social conditioning.
    Have you ever taken care of an infant, maybe a niece or nephew? There are many times when a parent or caregiver feels no pleasure or bonding whatsoever, at times wanting to throw the screaming child out a window, but they don't. They make up violent nursery rhymes and songs about cradles falling from trees instead, and still take care of the baby gently as someone who is helpless and can't be blamed for their behaviour.

  24. #24
    Hot Message FDG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Freiburg im Breisgau
    TIM
    ENTj
    Posts
    15,631
    Mentioned
    157 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ares View Post
    They did test on mammals of others species where they removed the hormone ocytocin from nursing mothers and found that the mothers would abandon their young without the hormone. So it would be more accurate to say that the hormones and chemicals that make us feel the things we label as love/compassion are what are essential towards our survival as human babies. People who call themselves compassionate are just people who have their brains and body chemisty structured or conditioned in such a way that they recieve feelings of pleasure and euphoria from the thought that they are helping others, as opposed to things people more commonly derive pleasure from such as making money. They may appear self-sacrificing to others but in reality their compassion is just a product of the way their mind is programmed to make them act, through genetics and possibly social conditioning.
    Okay, but what's the point of this reasoning?
    If we remove dopamin people are likely to derive no pleasure from making money anymore.
    Obsequium amicos, veritas odium parit

  25. #25
    Heart Chamber Chae's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Germany
    TIM
    IEE 3w4
    Posts
    7,506
    Mentioned
    590 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Default

    What if compassion is the natural order and a necessity mindset - propagated by people like John Berger - opposes it?


  26. #26
    Muddy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    1,227
    Mentioned
    67 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by squark View Post
    Have you ever taken care of an infant, maybe a niece or nephew? There are many times when a parent or caregiver feels no pleasure or bonding whatsoever, at times wanting to throw the screaming child out a window, but they don't. They make up violent nursery rhymes and songs about cradles falling from trees instead, and still take care of the baby gently as someone who is helpless and can't be blamed for their behaviour.
    I have never taken care of anyone and would never want to. Obviously you would need to test this on people by removing certain hormones to see how exactly it would play out but I'm sure the results would be similar to animals. Feeling pleasure isn't the only way hormones effect us.


    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    Okay, but what's the point of this reasoning?
    If we remove dopamin people are likely to derive no pleasure from making money anymore.
    To point out the fact the compassion isn't some kind of mystical otherworldly transcendence like some would like to think and that it is perfectly explainable in terms of how it benefits us as a species for some individuals to have it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slow Old Timer View Post
    Yeah let's de-spiritualize, de-humanize and atomize all of what we do, so we can sit round and be nihilistic about life and existance, like the authors of these papers probably are.

    What if the very person(s) producing these went into the whole ordeal so they can ultimately reinforce the nihilism they feel about life inside themselves, and inability to connect with others through the dogmatic church of science. Mind you I'm not discounting the valid, yet still limited read of reality the church of science provides, but think of it - with what kind of thoughts and feelings (indeed) you're left in your head after digesting this information? It's partial, it's not the whole story.
    I care absolutely zero about spirituality and connecting with others so take that as you will. As long as I'm able to get the things I want from life like money, sex, adventure etc. it doesn't bother at all to hold nihilistic views.
    Last edited by Muddy; 01-10-2017 at 09:14 PM.

  27. #27
    Don't forget the the thehotelambush's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    TIM
    LII
    Posts
    6,617
    Mentioned
    158 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Milo View Post
    Some would argue that existence isn't really compassionate, looking at suffering illness wars and 100% lethal outcome for all of us. One day the universe, too, will cease to be--is this when the compassion ends?
    This universe will end but there will be another, better one to replace it.
    Suffering often has a hidden mercy -- going through difficult experiences can make you a better, wiser person.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •