I have to credit President Bush with precisely conveying our present concept of compassion. He was trying to describe the massive relief effort headed for New Orleans. He said, "The gulf coast was hit by a mighty wave from the ocean and now was about to be hit by a tremendous wave of compassion.
Already the engineers have begun repairing the levees and are preparing to pump the water out of New Orleans. Just as certainly as New Orleans will be pumped dry, the wave of our compassion will recede. It will be contained once again by the financial levee on which President Bush was standing when he told his "fellow Americans" the government can not afford to give everyone the level of health care government employees enjoyed.
Indeed, we can not afford sustained compassion. We need every cent we can get and then more in our effort to fill the void. Were it not for the fact our materialistic reaction is just our dominant and not our sole reaction to the void, we would have no compassion at all. Fortunately, there is still some, albeit schizophrenic, religious thread in our fabric of existence. While it considers the fortunate blessed, it does preach a conditional measure of compassion toward the less fortunate.
The decrease in our religious threads is well documented. This means the waves of compassion we are still able to generate are diminishing in step as we focus increasingly on our materialistic reaction. If we can still prevent the resulting self-destruction it will be with the ideal reaction to the void. As we add more ideal thread to our fabric of existence we will find compassion no longer being generated in waves but simply filling the space between us. (see poem)