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Thread: Degrees of Compassion

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by dev View Post
    There is a beggar that has been sitting outside my local supermarket for a long time. Recently it has bothered me that I have been ignoring this person, not even looking at him. Just plowing along doing by chores. So today I decided I was going to talk to him, befriend him even.
    Same situation for me... there are 3 beggars a around the corner of where I live. I brought them food, I cooked food.... and then I made some investigations.
    The 3 of them are eligible for a government plan to pay a rent for homeless people (they won't give them a mansion, but they will pay their rent and give them an apartment).
    I spent HOURS with them going to offices... but during the process a "paranoia" feeling was triggered inside their head with unreal fantasies about WWII.
    (They decided that I am Russian and that the Nazis were going to imprison them... so they speak to me about my sufferings as a Russian man and encourage me to defeat the Germans).

    I had to deal with that mostly trying to bring them to a more realistic situation... but finally they REFUSED to go on with the bureaucracy to get an apartment.
    It is quite a frustration, because I spent HOURS with them visiting offices... but they willingly boycotted everything.

    Even with $1,000, you are improving their situation for a short time... the KEY is to improve things for the long term, but it's not always possible (and in my case the situation has not been material limitations or lack of options, but their refusal to be helped and that they are a bit out of their minds -i.e, their fantasy that I'm a Russian Communist helping them against the Nazis).


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    Last edited by Andro; 11-25-2016 at 07:09 PM. Reason: Quote Fix.

  2. #12
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    Every situation and possible act of compassion is different and it can't really be one answer for them all. Also I don't think we need to keep confusing compassion with long term help. Those two are different things (sometimes not). Sometimes a friendly smile can save someones life.

    You avoided my question?

    Let me rephrase it in very basic terms, because this is getting sidetracked.

    Simplified example:
    1. I want to help someone with 10 bucks.
    2. I could help them with more and I don't.
    3. Am I a cheap cunt? Or is the act of 10 bucks enough?
    4. Is it real compassion in this particular situation or is it pseudo-compassion because I could have given 20 bucks?

    Last edited by Awani; 11-25-2016 at 07:26 PM.
    Don’t let the delusion of reality confuse you regarding the reality of the illusion.

  3. #13
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    I'm not saying this the case EVERYWHERE, but when I spent some time in Canada (around 2003) I noticed there were many homeless people on the streets of Toronto, often asking for money but in a 'polite' way, usually offering something in return, like directions, or where the nearest shop/cafe is, carry my bag, etc... I always cooperated...

    Later, after making friends with some locals, I found out that for most of them this is a preferred 'lifestyle', because Canada has (or at least had in 2003) extensive housing and welfare programs. In short, one doesn't HAVE to be homeless or beg for money or food in Canada, as the state has/had it already very well covered.

    Although it was difficult for me to understand why someone would prefer to be on the street (especially on those -20°C winter days), but I can also relate to the possibility that not everyone is willing to live with the conditions of government housing and welfare.

    What also surprised me was that most homeless people I saw on the street were relatively 'young' and (at least on the surface) appeared rather fit to do some kind of work. Perhaps the concept of 'work' clashes with some of them psychologically or ideologically.

    I once saw a video about a woman who 'lived and traveled the world without money'. That statement was misleading, because she DID use money - just other people's money... Basically telling her story and asking for cash... But I guess this can also be labeled as 'work'

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by dev View Post
    Let me rephrase it in very basic terms, because this is getting sidetracked.

    Simplified example:
    1. I want to help someone with 10 bucks.
    2. I could help them with more and I don't.
    3. Am I a cheap cunt? Or is the act of 10 bucks enough?
    4. Is it real compassion in this particular situation or is it pseudo-compassion because I could have given 20 bucks?
    Let me reply in basic terms

    1. You want to help someone with 10 bucks. This is the 'line' you have created and the budget you have allocated.

    2. You could help with more, but that's not what you have set out to do initially (see No. 1)

    3. If you wanted to give 20 and only gave 10, you are a 'cheap cunt'. If you wanted to give 10 and gave 10, you aren't

    4. It is compassion if you WANT to give 10 and actually give 10. It's pseudo-compassion if you WANT to give 20 but only give 10.
    ________________________

    Simple enough, I suppose

    And an example of my own:

    Some years ago, I offered free (and continued/prolonged) shamanic support to someone who was in a very bad mental/spiritual/emotional shape and also quite broke (I won't go into details of the case because it would start a 'conspiracy' debate )

    At some point I felt that this person was taking me for granted, (skipping sessions, etc...) and I also started to get the impression that he wasn't as broke as I thought he was - but I had no actual proof for this. Nevertheless, I found myself 'cutting corners' in the support I provided to this person, in a way giving him 'less' (less value/attention/priority) than I would normally give to a paying client.

    I felt really shitty about that. I was the 'cheap cunt' in this scenario. I had set a goal and I failed to properly deliver the goal that I myself had set.

  5. #15
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    Ok that makes sense. I never had an amount in mind. I just took out 10 from the ATM next to the guy not really thinking. The aim was to give something. So guess that is not pseudo-compassion then.

    Jesus never said it was this fucking complicated.

    Don’t let the delusion of reality confuse you regarding the reality of the illusion.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by dev View Post
    Jesus never said it was this fucking complicated.
    Have you watched the video I posted earlier, with the Jesus/Judas 'ideological differences' regarding 'the poor'?

  7. #17
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    A summary of this issue at this point (for me) would be to just have a general GIVING consciousness - and focus less on quantity/amounts/where the line is... It should just come spontaneously, like you felt you have to extort the ATM for a tenner - no more, no less. It was highly likely the exact appropriate amount for those particular circumstances... In other words, perhaps it's better to simply 'play it by ear'

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by dev View Post
    Every situation and possible act of compassion is different and it can't really be one answer for them all. Also I don't think we need to keep confusing compassion with long term help. Those two are different things (sometimes not). Sometimes a friendly smile can save someones life.
    Of course, I OFTEN spend some 30 minutes talking to these 3 persons and I do my best to follow their narrative... I often buy food for them... and I wanted to give them a long term help, but it's quite impossible (they boycott such thing themselves, but they are a particular case, not an universal example).

    My GF has a patient living under very similar conditions (she's a psychologist at a public hospital, this means that the patient pays $0 to be attended). A strange person because he's quite erudite (also quite crazy), but his references are Pythagoras, Plato and Iamblichus... his favorite musician is Ennio Morricone... and he knows quite well the best film directors (a big fan of the French Nouvelle Vague -Godard and his friends). She can't give him money or food because it would work against the therapy. She is her therapist, but also the ONLY person with whom this person talks. Other than that, she did all she could to help him by contacting social workers, but this man WANTS to live in the street. So it's hard to help him. She simply managed to convince him to visit some doctors at her hospital who helped him by giving him medicines against some illnesses he had (tuberculosis).

    I prefer concrete examples rather than "theories". Other than that, I strongly believe that trying to provide long term solutions is the BEST thing to do... but it's not always easy.

  9. #19
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    I remember someone saying you cant help everyone, so just help those who the Universe puts across your path. So when I was traveling in India I budgeted about $50 and loaded one pocket with low value notes, so when any begger crossed my path I gave them a handful of coins - worthless to me but enough for them to eat for a day or two.

    There is someone I admire greatly here who I think is quite saintly. They devote their whole life to looking after the poor & homeless- mostly young homeless males, but they surprised me when I heard them on the radio recommending people not to give donations to beggars - especially young able bodied ones, as that can be quite lucrative (relatively), and so it only encourages them to remain in that dead end life. I know that might sound harsh but thought there might be some logic to it.

    There is the part of giving where one expects gratitude from the recipient, and I wonder am I giving to make me feel good, or because its the correct thing to do........

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by thoth View Post
    There is someone I admire greatly here who I think is quite saintly. They devote their whole life to looking after the poor & homeless- mostly young homeless males, but they surprised me when I heard them on the radio recommending people not to give donations to beggars - especially young able bodied ones, as that can be quite lucrative (relatively), and so it only encourages them to remain in that dead end life. I know that might sound harsh but thought there might be some logic to it.
    Most homeless people, this is a generalization, have some mental issues and are quite isolated. Alcoholism is not uncommon.
    The 3 beggars who live a few meters away from the supermarket with whom I am in touch with are alcoholics... and somehow convinced that I'm a Russian Soviet helping them and that they may have troubles with the German Nazis (a hallucination). I have to deal with that "reality" as to talk to them. i.e, they often express their gratitude to me by saying that as a Russian soldier I am helping them a lot and that we'll win the war against the Nazis... and ask me how the war is going. So I have to invent good news about the war and accept me role of the "Russian soldier".

    Giving $$$ is not as good as giving dignity... which is what they have lost. It's also GOOD to help them to know which ones are their rights (I do remember a day in which I found out that the government had a program to distribute blankets... so I phoned and I asked for 3 blankets... the 4 of us waited for 3 hours and the car with the blankets never showed up... so I ended up phoning some 10 times and waiting with them).

    On a different day one of them told me that it was his birthday, that I had to congratulate him, which I did. I went to the bakery on the other corner and I returned with a chocolate cake, a candle, coca-cola and some vegetarian sandwiches (I know... Coca-Cola... it doesn't sound good, but I didn't want to buy alcoholic drinks for persons who have problems with alcohol)... and we celebrated a birthday party, sitting there in the street. The one who was celebrating his birthday told me that he didn't have a birthday with a cake since he was a kid... These things are important, it is stupid and important at the same time: giving someone the chance of celebrating his birthday in a similar way than non-homeless persons do.

    There was a different situation with another person, he was lying on the floor and people passing by. I was with my girlfriend and we asked him what happened. The people passing by told us that he was drunk and that we should better walk away and simply leave him there. he explained to us that he got his by a car (he was also drunk), and that he thought that he had a broken bone in his hips and a broken bone in his legs. The marks of the tires of the car were visible on his trousers. We phoned an ambulance and kept him awake (we knew that he didn't have to fall asleep)... and spent some 60 minutes talking to him about life. We asked him his name, he asked us our names, he had a daughter with the same name of my girlfriend so we talked about the names of the two of them... He decided that his daughter sent us because my girlfriend and his daughter had the same name. We agreed with the idea as to please him.
    A police car stopped and asked us what was going on... we explained the situation and the police said that he was probably drunk and that we should better leave. We told the police that we were not going to leave. The police talked to him in a very rude way, we stopped them. One of the police officers pushed him with his feet as to see if he could move... we told him that he may have his spine broken and that he could be causing a permanent injury by such thing and told him that if he did it again, we were going to denounce such thing. The police who did it freaked out and began to shout at us, we began to threaten to police (though without giving them ANY excuse that could lead them to arrest us)... and finally they told us that the ambulance was NOT going to take him to the hospital unless he requested it (of course, the ambulance CAN'T take someone to the hospital without a request if the person is conscious because that's a crime similar to kidnapping someone).... so they tried to persuade him that he didn't need an ambulance or going to the hospital. We fought with the police (verbally) and told him that he needed an ambulance (he got confused about such thing). The police kept on causing troubles and told us that he was probably a thief and we should better leave him there... we refused again. Finally the ambulance showed up and the police went directly to speak to the medics and say that he was drunk and that they could leave... my girlfriend and I walked towards the doctors and told him that he was drunk AND hit by a car and that he had an extreme pain in his hip and his leg, and probably broken bones. The medics decided to ignore the police and my girlfriend and I helped them to get this man into the ambulance and he was taken to a hospital (the public hospitals are free here, they don't cost money)... the police kept on asking him if he wanted to go to a hospital, trying to convince him not to do it (they somehow wanted him to die). We are not saint... we would have been true murderers if we had not done such thing... BUT the morale of the story is that homeless persons are "second class citizens", treated as "Untermensch" (as to use a horrible expression), "untouchables"...

    It was quite similar to this situation (the atmosphere, not the situation itself, since that man is neither drunk nor injured):



    My point is that there are several ways to help... and some of them do not even involve money... the myth that a homeless person is homeless because he's "lazy" is bullshit to me... and remember that what you have to give is DIGNITY and sometimes protection. In many places the police has the idea that homeless people are not people.

    The thread needs a song!!!

    "Ganglord, the police are
    Grinding me into the ground.
    The headless pack are back
    Small boy jokes and loaded guns

    And I'm turning to you
    To save me,
    And I'm turning to you
    To save me! Save me!

    They say to protect and to serve
    But what they really mean to say is
    "Get back to the ghetto! The ghetto, the ghetto
    Get yourself back to the ghetto!
    The ghetto! The ghetto!"



    $10, $100 or $1,000 is not the answer (in my opinion).

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