When you are discussing compassion you need to understand it’s opposite. I have come to believe that the opposite of compassion is fundamentalism.
Today the battle lines are drawn between those who would adhere to a strict line of rules or laws and those who adhere to love. Love covers a multitude of sin, fundamentalism condemns. Love accepts, fundamentalism rejects. Compassion sees the broken down and reaches out to help, where fundamentalism says ‘if you are broken down, you probably got what you deserve.’ There is no mercy, no grace, no grey area and the driving force in fundamentalism is fear. You see the results of this belief in most mass shootings, in 9/11, in ethnic superiority and in male dominated societies.
There are both religious and cultural fundamentalists. Anyone who believes they are essentially right and shows no sign of budging is a fundamentalist. They claim right to country, to God, to cultural mores, and cannot experience empathy. They cause great harm in our world. And yet the truth is these people need compassion the most. They cling to fundamentalism out of hurt and fear and loneliness. By choosing us over them we are exacerbating the problem. I’ve been trying lately to just ignore the top layer of their rhetoric and picture the hurting child who wants love and can’t seem to get or accept it. I see their actions, though sometimes horrible, as a symptom of a disease and compassion as the saving balm. It’s tough because I despise the racism, Nazism, ethnocentrism, but my negative reaction only accelerates the fire. Only love cools the flames. I’ve been an activist and a hothead my whole life. But at this phase of my life I choose to be a ‘Radical Compassionate’. Which means I am gonna have to love my fundamentalist neighbor. It’s tough but not impossible. Imagine love so abundant it lights the way for those who hate!
Peggy Perry-Hill has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Michigan. She spent many years as a public school teacher. Her goal was always to be a full time writer. She has spent the last 25 years traveling the globe with her husband John Two-Hawks, presenting concerts workshops and retreats. Her mantra has been 'making music and making friends'. Peggy has also written several books with her latest being 'Give Peas a Chance' a nostalgic 60s cookbook which she wrote to hold onto some levity in her life during the pandemic. She has facilitated Women of Wisdom (WOW) retreats for over 15 years. Peggy is the owner of Circle Studios Records and CSR Media Publishing Company. Her passion is compassion and she has stood for decades by another mantra, Love is a Verb, so her main goal in writing is to inspire her readers into action. Peggy Perry-Hill is a wife, mother, and grandmother who loves writing, music, theater and culinary arts.