Earth Manifesto Insights
Tiffany B. Twain
and compassion are mere words, representing concepts that are full of promise,
caring, and understanding. But these
words are far too shallow to adequately encompass the true depths of
connectedness, conscience, potential sympathetic sensibilities, and potential
vulnerabilities that all people share. Empathy
arises from the deep recognition that we all face the same uncertainties in
life, including unknown amounts of pain and suffering before certain deaths. Yet there are unfathomable differences
between people's individual circumstances, emotional states, formative
experiences, subjective perspectives, personal anxieties, and profound
insecurities. Our government in the
past five years has striven valiantly and remorselessly to divide us rather
than to unite us in empathetic compassion.
a comfortable wealthy person truly comprehend what it is like to have no money?
Can a person who has been well fed for
his or her entire life actually imagine what it is like to starve to death? C an
a person living in a mansion honestly empathize with a homeless person?
an American really empathize with what an Iraqi citizen feels, with his country
being occupied by foreigners? No matter
how well-intentioned an occupying power might claim to be, I doubt that many
Americans would be happy if the shoe was on the other foot, and Islamic
idealists had come in and overthrown a tyrannical leader here, and stayed on to
impose harsh marshal law and invaded people's homes and tortured prisoners and
created widespread fear and suspicion and danger and shortages of energy and
food and water.
Katrina exposed the depth of poverty and inequities in modern America. Yet cogent images fade, and business-as-usual
resumes. Other natural disasters and
calamitous news stories crop up, and sharp understandings fade. Valuable awareness slowly is forgotten with
the passage of time, and partisan politics goes back to the same battle for
special interest perks and privileges that is always disguised as a charade
with conservatism struggling against liberality for ascendance.
politics as usual has resumed in the fading wake of Katrina. Conservatives have resumed their committed
efforts to give benefits to the politically well-connected, to suspend fair
wage legislation (the Davis-Bacon Act), to eviscerate protections of the
environment, and to slash social programs that benefit the poor, even including
child welfare programs, healthcare and student financial aid. The opportunity to address pre-existing
problems like poverty, instead of just short-term reconstruction, is
seems that we would be far wiser trying to make American society fairer, more
sustainable and balanced, and that we should be making committed efforts to
make friends around the world, rather than enemies. We cannot really know what goes on in the hearts and minds of
others, so arrogant aggression is inappropriate and foolish and presumptuous.
cannot control our emotions. Accept
them, and accept yourself. We can
control, and we are responsible for, our behavior. Behave well, and act responsibly. Smile, and have some empathy. Now that's emotional intelligence!
Dr. Tiffany Twain