Friday, April 16, 2010

The Ugly Side Of Caring

Could it be construed as meaningless to not care? I think so. But what if only by not caring can one be at peace, at least in some situations? This then seems to suggest peace itself can be meaningless. Which further suggests that if you care as an ideal, you will be precluded from upholding peace as an ideal.*

This seems to make sense looking around the world. It is only by caring so deeply that people routinely become slaves to madness. For instance, overly convicted people willing to commit unspeakable horrors only because they care so much about upholding their absolute view of truth. Peace in this case must fall by the wayside because it is in the way of their ultimate aim: to further their view of truth.

Many will say that without “caring” the world would systematically degenerate into a cold, cruel place only because there was no caring in the world. But alas, the world is already a cold, cruel place only because people care so much. There is both good and bad in caring and not caring. Lest we forget, everything is a trade-off!

An example of this "caring/peace" conflict follows:

Many might readily admit they are more inclined to care as an ideal thereby consigning peace to a subordinate position in cases where the 2 conflict. But at this point, what basis does anybody have to claim the things he cares about are the very things everybody else must or at least should care about? What happens when somebody else cares as an ideal but has different cares? Conflict will ensue, be it through thought or action. 

There will be judgment, fighting, arguing, name calling, feelings of arrogant self-righteousness, gnashing of teeth, etc. It need not be an “in-your-face” assault. A more subtle, seemingly peaceful response to this “conflict of cares” is passive aggressiveness. Pretending not to be bothered but being immensely so internally. Claiming to respect one's opinions but “secretly” thinking this person's opinions to be “dead wrong”, perhaps even evil. This has a very insidious effect on the state of things when all such feelings are taken into account. 

In contrast, if one's ultimate aim is peace, in situations where it requires not caring, conflict is thereby avoided. But alas, human beings have a seemingly unconscious, insatiable appetite for conflict masked only by their belief that they are upholding truth and righteousness, the most sacred of all virtues! It is only through conflict that the ego becomes fully empowered.

It seems those that embrace peace as an ideal appear weak because it limits or even “castrates” their ego as it were. Or perhaps those that do not embrace peace as an ideal simply overpower those that do making peace appear inherently impotent. Does this make it inferior?

I think of how Jesus might respond to this, with a question no doubt. Are you more interested in winning the argument or the person? Sometimes winning the person requires us to put aside our “cares”. Why do so few people seem to heed this wisdom? One word: EGO! 

*It is important to point out why I used the imperative will as opposed to might. Remember, an ideal is only so if always followed. Why is this? Without it being imperative, who is to say when it must or must not be followed? In this case, I am reasoning that there are at least some instances where not caring is the only path to peace. Therefore, one can not care as an ideal without contradicting peace as an ideal. So caring and peace must be mutually exclusive, at least sometimes. You can aim for one or the other but you can not uphold both ideals. So it is not the case that one might be precluded from upholding peace but rather one will be precluded from doing so if caring is embraced as an ideal. The converse is of course true as well. One will be precluded from caring as an ideal if peace is embraced as an ideal.

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