Re: Confessions about love, relationships guilt and the world from a young sociopath.
Various traditions have posited compassion as a basic human endowment. For example, the Buddhist teacher, Chogyam Trungpa maintained that the deepest ground of our being is characterized by what he called "fundamental sanity," by which he meant that beneath all the fantasy and the endless internal chatter lies a calm center which exists prior to and apart from the endless stream of thoughts, fears, desires, etc. In this view, through intentional effort one can shift attention away from the chatter and self-centered striving and so make contact with the "original mind"--an awareness free from seeking, free from self-aggrandizement--a mind which naturally, according to this view, feels kinship with all sentient beings.
Original mind… I know exactly what that is, and naturally, my interpretation of it is just bare awareness. Everything appears and disappears within it, as it. There’s no compassion that is fundamental to it and neither is hatred. All of it is that. In my experience anyway. Again, not being argumentative. I’m merely exchanging my own view with yours.
…probably the matter at hand will never be resolved.
Again, I can see what you’re saying and you’re probably right. Yet… a possible alternative theory is that the reason questions of ultimate concern remain unresolved is because they simply don’t exist outside of the human brain. The universe simply is. That’s it. Our science tells us the whats, but the meaning factory that sits atop our shoulders constantly beguiles and bedazzles us with imaginary whys. Those whys appear to have no correlates in the natural world. And I’ve seen no reason to suppose that compassion is any more fundamental to… anything. (But then again, how much “crazy wisdom” can we expect from a drunken master like Chogyam was? You’ll have to excuse me doctor, but I’ve got a major case of snark that I’ve never quite been able to get rid of. It runs in the family.) Like you, I lean towards a more naturalistic explanation of things as it makes the most sense out of what I’ve observed, both in my personal experience and in my perusal of history. Still, I admit I could be wrong and I have no problem acknowledging that.
Thank you for answering my questions, btw. So, did my previous sarcasm (admittedly so) about that picture annoy you at all? I ask because of your comments here about compassion. If you are moved to help a hungry person on the street the way you say you are (and I have no reason to doubt you at this point), then I can only imagine that you find people like me difficult to empathize with. After all, you looked at the picture and was moved by it. I looked at it and… well, you know how I saw it. Also, most of the time I’m annoyed when I see people out and about with their little cups up in the air, waiting for me to drop a little something into them.
I think it more reasonable to suppose that human evolution has provided for various kinds of minds—some compassionate and some not—all of which were necessary for survival of the species, which is why those same traits have perdured into the present. That is why I continue, unlike most of my colleagues, to try to understand psychopathy as a natural state of mind and not a "disease" or mental illness.
I can really appreciate the open mindedness doc. I for one don’t consider my own somewhat idiosyncratic world view pathological. I don’t see myself as having some kind of “disorder” just because I don’t have much of conscience. I imagine this expansive way of looking at the world makes it very easy for you to help those who come to you seeking guidance. It must also put you at odds with some of your fellow therapists.
And I’m glad I can contribute something to your forum. And I'm glad you to hear you say that remorse isn't necessary to introspection. I've never understood why people claimed otherwise though.