Dictionaries on compassion-Re: OK-Re: compassion-
- Dear John,
Dictionaries are made by people. I am one of those. Dictionaries evolve,
based on the ways we commonly use words. The dictionaries we use are often,
not always, but often, behind already by the time they are published. I will
not be enslaved by whatever edition is current, though that edition is often
helpful (helpful, but not master).I define compassion in the ways I have
said. So do many others, and we communicate just fine.
>From: "John Massengale" <john@...>______________________________________________________
>Subject: Re: OK-Re: compassion-Re: [anthroposophy] our materialistic
>Date: Wed, 01 Mar 2000 08:54:46 -0500
> > "compassion" as an emotion. I define it as more than an emotion, far
> > Compassion for me is, as i said, a *deep seeing* of the Divine. That is
> > objective observation, and that is the only science that matters,
> > science included.--
>From the AOL Merriam Webster Dictionary:
>[Middle English, from Middle French or Late Latin; Middle French, from Late
>Latin compassion-, compassio, from compati to sympathize, from Latin com- +
>pati to bear, suffer -- more at PATIENT]
>First appeared 14th Century
> : sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to
> synonym see PITY
> -- com*pas*sion*less (adjective)
>That sounds like an emotion to me. I understand your point, but I don't
>think you will find any dictionary
>that defines "compassion" as a "deep seeing of the divine."
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I don't know you. When I debate something you have said, I am not
criticizing you, I am discussing your ideas.
On the internet, and in all writing (but we are on the internet, where posts
are short and telegraphic and we don't know each other), most people take
words at face value unless explicitly told otherwise. Your idea of
compassion is a very interesting one, but it is not one that you can expect
more than 1% of your readers to recognize until you explain it.
Meanings do evolve, but "compassion" has not evolved to your personal
meaning yet. You will not find it as even the twentieth meaning in a
dictionary, because it is a personal (and I could even say beautiful)
interpretation. The exception, here on an anthroposophy list, would be if
Steiner had discussed compassion as you do. I haven't read that, but that
doesn't mean that he didn't. If I am missing an anthroposophical point,
please say so.
Steiner coined the name "Spiritual Science" because he knew his
understanding of "science" was different than his readers'. If you had
something like "Divine Compassion" or "Spiritual Compassion" I would have
understood that you meant something other than the standard meaning.
Is this partly a male / female communication issue? I don't know, because,
as I said, I don't know you. For all I know, I may be more "female" than
you. Or vice versa. Or that may be irrelevant. Who knows at this point in
- To the ongoing debate between Elaine and John about compassion, I'd
like to insert the following:
"The way to the heart is through the head. Love is no exception."
From: The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, end of Chapter I.
So is also compassion...
'There's a fine line between participation and mockery'.
'My advice to you is to get married. If you find a good wife, you'll be happy; if not, you'll become a philosopher'.
'True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing'.
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