Compassion, Education and Liberty

It is said that compassion has two parts. The first part is an observation: “There is suffering in the world.” The second part is a decision: “I will do what I can to end this suffering.” For me, compassion forms the foundation of my spirituality. If I simply try to act with compassion in my life, I will experience the positive spiritual life that the wise of all beliefs have recommended. Sin is acting without compassion. Compassion implies, explicitly, a world outside of myself, at least experientially, that I will interact with, and directs with simplicity and elegance how I might interact. The mark of truth is simplicity and elegance.

Thomas Jefferson used the words “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. He could have used freedom, but he did not. Freedom is just that; I am free, I can do anything without restraint. I can take, hurt, even kill, because I am free. Liberty is a higher bar. Yes, I am quite free to kill you, but I won’t because that would be wrong. Jefferson believed ANY government was too much government, he was, at least in the ideal, an anarchist. He also knew that any free society depended on intelligent, moral citizens.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

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