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Day 34

How are we to live compassionately?

This is a live question for me (as all questions should be), one which rises from the realities of my intricately flawed life.

I have sensed since I was very young that this world is all wrong. When I passed large houses where lived the wealthy, my father told me: but those people have worked hard. And the homeless? I asked. These people (the ones in mansions) also give to the homeless. Yes, but the homeless, I wanted to persist. Where was their comfort, their warmth?

The problem for me isn't a matter of working yourself into privilege (which many people do), but a matter of none of us being entitled to that privilege anyway, of not being able to "earn" anything by ourselves, of not being able to "own" anything apart from others. This has nothing to do with communism; a sovereign individual being the distributer of another's goods will always lead to scarcity and corruption. It has to do with the deep ontological truth that we we are co-constituted by those who surround us, that none of us live and grow and thrive in a personal vacuum. My goods are borrowed blessings that I must let pass through me as freely as possible. Nothings belongs to me and nothing belongs to you.

This is the hardest truth we will ever hear, one we will always hate. I resist it myself, but I am writing about the brass shoes placed where the Jews were shot into the river Danube and thinking, something in this world has to change.


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