The Art of Compassion: Relational Bureaucracy
There exists within my mind two realities; The world set before me, and the one from whence dreams may come.
In order to grow we must know where we want to go. What I dream of is a reality that we cannot realistically achieve in a single generation. I desire to see humanity expand and unify under equity through compassion.
If you will permit me, as we move forward, I want it to be recognized that I do not have the answers to explain exactly how we might achieve this impossible dream. I have theories, but most of them are unrealistic on their face, I recognize this. But humor me, consider the bigger implications. When we chase impossible lofty dreams hard enough, robots start walking and talking, and amusement parks get built.
I want to invite you to chase an impossible dream with me.
Our current world paradigm reasons that the sacrifice of the few for the sake of the many is an acceptable loss. This is often masked with the notion of compassion for the “masses.” The problem here is that “sacrifice for the greater good” gives way too easily to the justification for corruption in government. As long as leadership can justify their representation of the many, then they can justify any action that they take as a small sacrifice for the greater good. Eventually however, the few become the many, the balance of power shifts, and the cycle begins anew. Should we continue to accept the idea that we can sacrifice others for "the greater good" then we are doomed to continue the patterns that have broken humanity. Compassion takes a different stance. Compassion seeks to suffer with others; to understand, and not to condemn. Rather than sacrificing the few for the many, compassion seeks to sacrifice the self for the other. I have clearly asserted before now how compassion seeks equity between individuals. I want to take a moment here to expand on this idea. My understanding of compassion seeks unity through equitable relationships. I will asset here that true equity cannot exist between a single individual and an entire community. Communities may participate in equitable relations with other communities, and individuals within various communities can seek equitable relationships between each other. However, equability cannot exist when there is a fundamental inequality of scale, i.e. between a group of people and a single individual.
So, in order to organize and design governmental systems based on compassion you cannot define legal precedent based on relationships between the government and any one of its citizens. Compassion begins first by building equity between individuals, developing a network of support within a localized community. Each member of the community must first participate in balance with the others. As compassion seeks equity in relationship, it must be a calculated choice that demands mutual self sacrifice. This also requires a great deal of self confidence; for an individual who is paranoid that their interest isn’t going to be protected will seek self preservation out of fear; Unable to risk self sacrifice in honest pursuit of compassion.
With compassion as the driving force, each member of a community should find an equitable balance between the energy they contribute and the energy they receive. Labor must therefore have the highest value in a compassionate society. It’s value not based solely on the level of skill, but also by the level of necessity for survival first, and for comfort second. Each member of a communal system should possess equitable purpose and shared expectation of responsibility. We should all be willing to take turns doing the least desirable jobs that make our societies function properly or offer alternative services with the goal of fostering equity.
Individuals need not be limited to a singular community either. Relationships between different individuals will result in each individual connecting with different communities, their level of involvement should then be determined based on those personal relationships.
Communities would still require resources to settle disputes. We are all still human, arguments and basic disagreements are to be expected, even with compassion as the core drive for the community. There would need to be members of the community who can be trusted to help maintain balance. Those who would lead must be exceptionally self-sacrificial, with their desire to see others succeed outweighing their craving for any personal benefit. They would hold authority to measure judgment with priority for compassion over the letter of any recorded law. These judges would need to operate with understanding that power wielded without willing self-sacrifice for the benefit of others is more destined to fall subject to corruption.
Should we learn compassion as a society, government control would transform into a system for community collaboration; with the biggest decisions happening at the lowest levels of government, not the highest. For compassion to rule we must focus on resolving local concerns before trying to heal the world. In other words, compassion suggests that dictating terms for how others should live cannot be determined outside of local communities as established through equitable, and personal relationships.