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Beyond the superficiality of apathy…


Beyond superficiality of the mind… may exist the profound depth of insightful, direct, compassionate perception.  Perception that is not (often) compassionate is the kind that is not (often) the result of keen and profound awareness or insight.  Such perception — without compassion — is often rather callous, machine-like, indifferent, limited, and therefore, superficial.  In order to be indifferent, apathetic, and unconcerned about the feelings and well-being of others, one must be psychologically bound in a limited, constrained, and fixed  frame of mind.  Such a frame of mind is little and small… because its concern involves only one little square within the entire chess-board… not the entire field.  One does not care much about what happens to others… because, for one thing, one is likely to be concentrating almost entirely on oneself (as what is important).

All limited fields, including the limited field of merely concentrating on oneself, must be curbed by narrow, fixed demarcations.  Such demarcations and boundaries often are not fluid; they are not dynamic, nor are they all-encompassing.  What is heavily bounded often does not have a lot of depth.  Not to be judgmental, but there are all too many people who are quite content to remain fixed in limited fields of concern, having little regard for the well-being of the whole (i.e., well-being of the earth’s many life forms).  Being separated from others involves fragmentation… a fissure and a disjunction  from them.  This separation can be learned (such as via barbaric educational or primitive parenting practices) or it can be the result of certain biological qualities of the brain (as a result of biological/genetic inheritance or by cerebral chemical malfunctioning).

Some very social animals, such as monkeys and higher apes, tend to (at times) be rather compassionate (to a limited extent) to members of their own group or pack.  This sharing within the group tends to benefit members within the group, and it extends order and mutual survival for all.  Even some insects (such as ants) engage in instinctual sharing and group consciousness; they even create ladders (constructed out of many of themselves, as bodies clinging to bodies) so that other members can transversely move across difficult crevasses/chasms.  Bonobo  chimpanzees, a subspecies of chimps, have a brain anatomy that is significantly more developed, with larger regions assumed to be associated with the process of feeling empathy; they easily sense distress in others, and “feel their anxiety,” which makes them less aggressive and more empathic than their close relatives (i.e., the regular chimps and some of us humans). Bonobos have a thick connection between the amygdala, an neural area that can spark aggression, and the ventral anterior cingulate cortex, which helps control impulses. This thicker connection enables them to better regulate their emotional impulses, and to get a better grip on their behavior. I love how Bonobos are so full of empathy for other animals.  One, for example, lovingly held an injured bird and kept it warm, until it was able to fly over the enclosure fence.

For us humans, to be shaped (mentally) by the edicts of society allows only for a very limited depth of insight and true compassion.  Although there is sharing… society, currently, incorporates a lot of separative, competitive, and rigid views.  Dynamically transcending these views may be necessary for a profound depth of insight, and for real compassion, to manifest.  Society, currently, often deeply admires the man who is very financially successful, competitive, and dominant over others; such success often involves a rather ruthless, cutthroat, and machine-like mode of affairs.  Real compassion crashes through the superficial perspectives (of normalcy) and intelligently goes where recognition and awards are of little value and meaning.  The immature need to be “recognized”; the need to be given “awards”… involves ostensibly concentrating on a little, limited, fixed self.

Photo below… by Thomas Peace (Left click on the photo and scroll down to see it enlarged; left click on the “middle” of it again to enlarge it more; hit left return-arrows, twice, to return.)

Lily with Ant photo by Thomas Peace c.2013

Lily with Ant photo by Thomas Peace c.2013

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My Blog primarily consists of close-up nature photos (that I've taken locally) combined with original holistic-truth oriented prose and/or poetry involving mindfulness/awareness. I love nature and I love understanding the whole (not merely the parts and the details). I'm a retired teacher of the multiply handicapped. I have a number of interesting hobbies, such as fossil collecting, sport-kite flying, 3D and 2D close-up photography, holography, and pets. Most of all, I am into holistic self-awareness, spontaneous insight, unconventional observation/direct perception, mindfulness, meditation, world peace, non-fragmentation, population control, vegetarianism, and green energy. To follow my unique Blog of "Nature Photos and Mindfulness Sayings" and for RSS feeds to my new posts, please access at: (On my regular Blog posting pages, for additional information and to follow, simply click on the "tack icon" at the upper right corner... or, on my profile page, you can click on the "Thomas Peace" icon.) Stay mindful, understanding, and caring!...

10 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. Always love your articles Tom. (Warm smiles) Very eloquently put. 🙂

    It is hard to break out of certain mindsets especially when it’s on a subconscious level which takes an incredible amount of what I call mind processing power to see at a deeper level…

    P.S. I wasn’t ignoring your comment on one of my articles, I unpublished the
    entire article. 🙂


  2. I don’t see this new post in any of the topics that I posted it in. Why is it not showing up in them for me? Is this another malfunctioning going on with WordPress for me? Not sure if I should repost it or not. Pining… you saw it somehow… but what is going on?….?


    • I think it’s because you used too many tags. I wouldn’t go over 9 tags. I think what happens is wordpress views too many tags as spam and will block your article from the global tags sections. Keep the popular tags and maybe drop off the tags people aren’t really ever going to search for. 🙂 Try that and then check if your article shows up in the tags you selected. Your article did appear in my reader though because I’m a follower.


    • It’s there now. I just went into the global tags section and looked under “Spirituality” and it is now there. You just have to scroll down far enough. As other people use that tag when they write articles, by nature it begins to shove your article down further, a chronological time line. 🙂


  3. Thank you for the comment and follow.

    This is a thought provoking article.

    The individual is the primary emphasis in American society. Empathy is for choir boys and has no place in American business. This is a disturbing trend. You call it shallow, but if you look at how individualism is rewarded, you must ask yourself, is shallow bad? If an individual is heavily rewarded for being a money grubbing degenerate, are they really a degenerate? If we reward bad behavior isn’t the bad behavior being fostered? Capitalism is a predatory system, there are no ands, ifs, or buts about it. You can not be empathetic to your meal ticket. What lesson is really being imparted to the youth. You say shallow, and I agree, but given the monetary compensation, perhaps we should all take a walk in the shallow end. After all, there is plenty of time to practice empathy whilst sitting alone on a beach sipping on an umbrella covered beverage. Wait, can you practice empathy alone? Whatever, its a hell of a beach and the drinks are stiff. .


  4. One can function in a capitalistic society and be compassionate, caring, while not just being indifferent. Many workplaces are finding out that cooperation and concern works quite well. Empathy is not something for choir boys (and something not for businesses). That is the absurd notion of some so-called successful capitalists. However, are they “really” successful? I could easily have gotten a higher paying job… but I went for teaching the multiply handicapped.

    The deep is splendid, but a lot of people are afraid to go there; they would rather stay in the safe, easy superficial, shallow domain (which may reflect the status of their minds).


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