compassion and not hating people

Humans have a habit of seeing things as cause and effect. You drop a dish, it will shatter. You close your eyes and wake up at a different time, you were asleep. You say something rude to person A and they are angry.

Emotions are wild entities because while they usually have some manner of correlation between cause and effect, the proportions don’t always fit like we want them too. When a person is under an incredible amount of stress, sometimes something as small as a sad puppy picture can make them cry. Furthermore, even when we know it’s selfish and unrealistic, we can find ourselves angry or frustrated that things don’t work out the way we want.

No human is the center of the universe, and yet getting that into our skulls is another matter entirely. We want things to go well, even when we realize that the bumps and swerves and mountains in the road are necessary to feel that things are going well.  It’s a dangerous habit to claim a thing is part of human nature, but it is easy to feel that we all want the best for ourselves, in some form.

I feel like the more I learn about humans, mistakes, crime, and every other bad thing we go through, the more I feel that we largely have a cooperation and interaction problem. Many, yet not all, diseases come from our inability to care for ourselves and others. Both psychological and physical problems we face are often the result of not having the necessary social support, whether that be financial, emotional, etc.

People lash out because they are hurt. It doesn’t mean they should have lashed out, it just explains why they did so.

When it comes to cause and effect, we can simplify the situation down too much. We can point to A, B, and C, but we might miss the emotional reality of a person altogether. It’s not so simple. Events and actions add up over time. Experiences can remind someone of another experience.

When we look at ourselves, we know how it feels to be in our own shoes. However, being compassionate toward others is important. Communication and balancing out complex interactions is a tightrope walk with the whole circus making a ruckus around you, and it’s a tightrope for everyone.

There are so many things we don’t know. Being loving towards both ourselves and others begins with realizing that. Everyone is doing the best they can, as messed up as they may end up. The only way any of us gets to something approximating normal is by depending on others and letting others depend on us.

how do you like your coffee?

We best understand things when we understand the context. An abstract work to a mideval peasant is meaningless; they have no reference to know if it’s composition is well balanced, or to know the details of the materials. Two people can watch the same like, with only one person “getting it”. They both saw the movie, the same events and imagery were shown. Yet when we “get” something, we have a set of expectations and criteria to compare it to, thus feel we can form an educated opinion about it. The difference in appreciation is largely due to the situation and frame of reference the person has.

When we communicate with someone, we are building a mental picture of them. They hate Elvis, drink their coffee with a good amount of sugar but no milk, adore history but hate physics, joke about their physical apperance: these are all basic, rather meaningless facts. And yet, when we learn those meaningless facts, when all put together, it doesn’t seem so meaningless. The more you know about the person, the higher chance you have of relating to them.

That’s why they say the opposite of love isn’t hate but indifference. The apathetic friend isn’t a friend at all. We don’t often reveal our deepest fears and desires to people who don’t care about our opinions on chocolate cake. Communication and connection, these things are vital to us social creatures. That’s why small talk isn’t as pointless as some might assume. Learning what other people desire and hate and are bothered by, these are evident when you are there for the smaller interactions. That’s why spending time with people is so important. You build up the frame of reference when you communicate with those you adore, and then can understand where they are coming from. It makes a difference.