Empathy with an emphasis on compassion, and here with that as related to casualties and displaced from Syria’s agonizing civil war, signals something good in the general humanity, but it’s not going to be enough to promote band-aids when the war is sustained on the absence of an armed force of a middle and perhaps now modern temperament.
It’s notable also that Russia pledged $10 million to refugee relief in Syria while spending $52 billion, the largest amount ever, for the winter Olympics at Sochi.
My partner in the short conversation then said, “Humanity in the true sense has lost all its values.”
Not really although it sometimes seems to. We’re a wild species suspended in about, oh, 6,900 living languages, each of which represents a cultural invention and technology and conveys from one generation to the next a behavioral program fit to the character of the language community in a given circumstance in place and time.
I believe the variance in that language-driven and language-derived behavior shapes consciousness and conscience and with regard to empathy, may emphasize the cultivation of that ability to meld emotion and imagination on behalf of someone else, or it may harden the heart against the same.
Other qualities may obtain similar support and the tapestry of whole cultures, whether that of, say, a living sun king or that of a god remote and separate from the mortal, becomes made of such threads. With the aforementioned 6,900 differences in cultural cognitive style wrapped in language, it’s amazing we don’t have more conflict on our plates than we do, but, ever optimistic here, if we drift toward a moderate middle together, we can clean up and forestall a lot of this kind of mess.
The modern dictator’s values — any side (one chessboard – same player on both sides, lol) — build on heroic myth to develop power over others for the purpose of obtaining continuous and inexhaustible “narcissistic supply” — the adoration and adulation of the realm: and they often sail themselves and their own to disaster on the wings of a grandiose messianic delusion.
The inspiration for the above portion of threaded conversation appears to be a contrivance but quite pointed:
Most Shocking Second a Day Video – YouTube – 3/5/2014 – by Save the ChildrenUK.
Posted yesterday, it has already achieved 5.5 million views. The venue in which I first saw it: In These 93 Seconds, You Will See How War Can Turn a Child’s World Upside Down — Independent Journal Review (IJR) – 3/6/2014 (four hours ago, and on that site it has picked up 432 shares and 4,309 views).
The best way to save the children is, alas, to save the adults, get enough on to about the same page in their attitudes, ethics, ideals, and values with regard to others, and then get them to challenge, eject, or evolve the kind of deeply narcissistic and lost personalities who have attempted to paint reality for others through what they do in the pursuit of war.
Of the Assad regime and the al-Nusra et al. counterpoints, I’ve remarked “different talk: same walk”: each will use the lives of noncombatants for political chips. Perhaps nowhere in the whole sorry tragedy has that been made more clear than in the approach of each side to the Palestinian Yarmouk Camp, where one side laid siege as part became a rebel base, and the rebels, true to form, used the helpless and unarmed residents as their own human shields.
Is there anyone reading this post that might want to see that obscenity again?
Attitudes and beliefs, including beliefs about Jews, about loyalty, about the west, about the Baath Party and the Soviet Union (or its ghost from 22 years ago) play a role in impeding the development of an effective and true Syrian people’s army. Moreover, but along similar lines, the three sides — Assad; more secular revolutionary forces; and, of course, the al-Qaeda types — have found themselves trapped in the immense shadows cast by the glorious wars of yesteryear, which for each is different: Bashar al-Assad has been trying to fight his father’s war, an armed insurrection against the state; the battles in mind, perhaps literally, for the al-Qaeda affiliates need little introduction and would seem to be expressed in battlefield and political behavior; and the moderates who seem to be carrying around the load of combined internationalist and Islamist hate for Israel, Jews, and “The West” just haven’t found their way to daylight.
I don’t know where to change that “Jew hate” that signals so much else about the three parties sewing Syria with destruction, and I’m not sure it’s my job alone to locate those cognitive switches in the languages alive on the fields of battle, but finding that would be a good place to start.
Syrians needs Syria — I know of no culture free of a relationship with its land and landscape — and they need to own it for themselves in peace.
To obtain that ownership and peace, the defense Syrians may need most of all, the defense most absent in the three years of continuous and brutal fighting, is not defense from Israel, which is treating Syrian wounded today, but defense from those among themselves who would seek their own excessive aggrandizement at the costs now well displayed in death, displacement, and suffering.
Related: If Britain were Syria: charity releases ‘brutally powerful’ ad – Al Arabiya News – 3/5/2014.
Related (updated 3/18/2014) from The Torah, Exodus 31-32:
31The LORD did as Moses asked, and removed the swarms of insects from Pharaoh, from his servants and from his people; not one remained. 32But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go.
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