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Compassion, the Radicalism of our Time

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While driving down River Road the other evening the car ahead of mine made a definite swerve into the opposing lane in an effort to hit a cat that was sitting in the road. They hit and killed the cat.

It was difficult to ascertain from behind, but my guess is they were in their late teens, early twenties and out for a joy ride. I could see them waving their arms around in the air in a triumphant manner.

Tears came to my eyes, because the death of this cat affected me in an entirely different way.

Why is it, do you suppose, that so many children are becoming less compassionate? What would possess someone to not only senselessly take a life, but to enjoy the act of killing, as if they had earned a game point?

Dr. Albert Schweitzer, Recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952, said, "There slowly grew up in me an unshakable conviction that we have no right to inflict suffering and death on another living creature unless there is some unavoidable necessity for it, and that we ought all of us to feel what a horrible thing it is to cause suffering and death out of mere thoughtlessness. And this conviction has influenced me only more and more strongly with time. I have grown more and more certain that at the bottom of our heart we all think this, and that we fail to acknowledge it because we are afraid of being laughed at by other people as sentimentalists, though partly also because we allow our best feelings to get blunted. But I vowed that I would never let my feelings get blunted, and that I would never be afraid of the reproach of sentimentalism."

Compassion is indeed the radicalism of our time.

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Barbara McGrady

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