Who are you, really? What part of your body is the part where you are housed?
Are you your arms or legs? Are you your head of hair? Are you your heart and lungs? No. There is only one place from which all that is the essence of you comes forth and it is this mass of wiring we call our brains. What do we know about them? Where did they come from, these amazing cognitive processors? Well, a simple answer is: they came from the past. They came from your parents, your grandparents and your great great great great grandparents and so forth back into pre-history. And physically, they haven’t changed much since then. While society transforms itself at lightning speed, reaching the stars, splitting the atom. linking the world electronically, and questioning the existence of God, we still use the same brains that discovered fire. And we think that we are living as we should, while prehistoric conditions still dominate us.
It begs the question: can one, by the force of their will, evolve?
For example, in the magazines we see women exclaiming, “Why can’t men be faithful?” Some know, as we do, that prehistoric man was programmed to spread their seed far and wide so that their genetic line may be passed on. Society can say, well be better! Change! And though it is contrary to men’s deepest programming, some can do it. They can evolve. Millions do, for some of the time, all the time. One can evolve.
Marriage and it’s solemnity are not something I particularly celebrate, but it is the clearest example of how our changing society has left our pre-historic selves behind, and it proves my point without a doubt. Marriage is clearly an unnatural state for most of us, and yet 95% of people get married at some point in their lives, theoretically putting aside the sexual variety that our very genes demand. If one can evolve away from an incredibly pleasurable evolutionary drive, then one can evolve from anything.
But are there other, less desirable, more damaging things, which we need to evolve away from?
I submit to you that compassion is one of those things. I submit to you that “concern for others” is merely left-over programming from a cave man era.
We see a stranger shot with a loud gun, do we rush to their side or do we run screaming? We run screaming. If someone vomits, we wish to vomit too. Is this because it is disgusting? Partially. But partially, it is because your cave man brain warns you, that if that person ate something poisonous, YOU MAY HAVE EATEN IT TOO! That is why you wish to vomit. Not solidarity, but self interest.
Bring your chair closer to mine. Lean your head forward and let me say this quietly and passionately, like a father might. I tell you this from my heart, my imagined son or daughter, for it is the best truth I know.
The idea of “compassion” is the idea that holds you back from being your truest self. It is the shackle that keeps you in a life that is based on other people. And it keeps your life from being truly your own. This is why people do not do the things they dream. They don’t climb Everest. They never write the great Canadian novel. They don’t even progress at work. They become old and fat and silly, shrugging their way through life, smiling desperately down at children who are about to tell them to fuck themselves.
Love. Compassion. These words that resonate as basically synonymous with virtue, are the very rocks that we put in our pockets to drown ourselves with. Those who do not care, are the ones who go furthest, do the most. And why?
Because they are free.