A Meditation on Life: Prudence

Wouldn’t it be lovely if the hardest thing we had to do was “be nice” to each other?

Alas, life is not that easy.

There are plenty of reasons to be cynical… and to live in fear of other humans… who can be petty, covetous, dishonest, lazy, ungrateful, untrustworthy, greedy, and vengeful.

The common parasites who whine, gossip, scapegoat, malinger, and freeload are annoying enough, but the challenge does not stop there. We live among committers of true evil… countless “humans” who cheat, betray, steal, abuse, slander, terrorize, exploit, rape, torture, and murder. Some of them are so vicious and remorseless that an intelligent, compassionate person can ask with all sincerity: Is being kind, forgiving, trusting, and generous really in my best interest?

Next Meditation: Nirvana

7 thoughts on “A Meditation on Life: Prudence

  1. I like this: you do ask the tough questions. Quote: “Is being kind, forgiving, trusting, and generous really in my best interest?”

    That cannot be answered directly, unless it’s done thoughtlessly. For those who believe that life as we know it begins at birth and ends at death, then the question certainly must be asked… perhaps on a daily basis. Why risk; why sacrifice if it makes no difference to me on the long run? For those who understand that life is an eternal and infinite involvement, the question is no longer moot but critical: what kind of “eternal” being do I want to be? Using one life on earth as a template (as below, so above as my Teachers often reminded me – turning it around from the usual human approach which is false by the way, and I could explain) do I want what I observe here to be my lot for eternity? Do I want to share “forever” among “common parasites” as is the case here? If not, then it behooves me to change my nature. Yes, that can be done, perhaps not to the nth degree, but markedly so. Choice, commitment and dogged determination to “do better” no matter how great, or how often, the failure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The question was not intended to be answered in the hypothetical and general sense, of course. The answer is always situation-dependent in practice. My intention was to make the points that it’s NOT all about ME… and that real compassion entails all kinds of very real risks… time and energy wasted, the creation of dependency, even risking one’s own safety and existence, to name but a few. Thanks and peace.

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  2. I have recently asked a very similar question of myself, as I make efforts to be intelligent and compassionate.
    I concluded that Yes, it is in my best interest to serve others and show them kindness, to the best of my ability.
    I realized that I came by my familiarity with kindness because it has been shown to me. I came by my preference for kindness because I have felt how its absence can affect my loved ones and me. Surely at least the mildly unkind are capable of reformation if the rewards are understood.
    Modern science is proving that in many brains, neuroplasticity can grant the individual the capacity for radical change, when the circumstances are right.
    I’d like to do my part to set the stage for success, wouldn’t you?

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    • Of course, Jessica, I absolutely agree…. and work every day to do so. And I sincerely did not intend to suggest otherwise. My intention was to make the points that it’s NOT all about ME… and that real compassion entails all kinds of very real risks… time and energy wasted, the creation of dependency, even risking one’s own safety and existence, to name but a few. Sent in gratitude and peace.

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      • Many thanks, Frank, for the thoughtful response. These risks certainly do make the consideration situation-dependent. Though I fancifully entertain the belief that compassion heals all, I must admit that in practice my safety concerns weigh in equally with my will to do good for others. I hope i did not come across as having doubts in your determination. My floating question was more rhetorical, and broadly intended for any readers’ careful contemplation

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