Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Orlando: Let Me Count the Ways


The people who were killed: May they rest in peace.

Their families and friends, and people who were wounded or otherwise terrorized: May they be healed.

The killer: May he rest in peace.

His family and friends: May they be healed.

The LGBT community: I have empathized with your suffering and persecution and advocated on your behalf for decades, been amazed and thrilled by the growth of tolerance in recent times, but recognize that you are still lightyears from being able simply to be yourselves almost anywhere in the world like everybody else would like to be. I see you as fellow Jews – the world’s pariah and whipping boy whenever any knucklehead wants to blow off some steam about anything whatever (including, apparently in this case, a gay who has been taught to hate himself for being gay).

Muslims: I just want to go out and say a kind word to any Muslim I meet today. There is absolutely nothing, no reason whatever, to single you out because of what some nuts do. It is beyond absurd (just as with gays and Jews and whoever else belongs to some supposed group that some people have irrational beliefs about) that Muslims in particular are any different from Christians, etc. (for better or worse). Again, as a Jew, I can particularly empathize with your situation. So I want you to know I am with you, 100 percent.

Gun advocates: Your right to own an AR-15 is based on absurd and macho motives having nothing to do with the pretexts you put out, such as for hunting and personal safety. You are either lying or utterly unaware of your own motives.

Malaria victims: 438.000 of you (mostly children) died last year. Where is the comparative attention and outrage?

Children: Last year almost 6 million of you died below the age of 5, almost all (99%) in low- and middle-income countries. Where is the comparative attention and outrage?

People who eat animals: You are perpetrating the most massive and horrific atrocity by far upon innocent sentient creatures, by the tens of billions. Where is the comparative attention and outrage?

Everyone: At any time a comet could be discovered that will hit the Earth (typically within nine months) and wipe us all out because we have not made the extensive preparations needed beforehand to deflect or destroy it. We are also currently vulnerable to largescale havoc from asteroid impacts and explosions, which we could relatively easily and inexpensively prevent if people knew and cared. Where is the sense of urgency?

Why can’t people simply be compassionate and rational?

Answer: Because we are the hodgepodge product of mindless cause-and-effect.

What to do: Strive to understand the causal mechanisms that inhibit or could enhance our compassion and rationality, and then apply these insights.