Originally Posted by The Rev
I had this weird idea the other night when I was smoking some vegetarian marijuana, and it goes something like this:
You don't really see compassion in the wild. People are really the only ones who show much compassion. Although I've seen dogs concerned for each other, etc., it's more about empathy than acting compassionately. My dog, for example, has gotten upset when one of our other dogs has gotten hurt, but will then turn around and try to hog the food to display dominance.
Anyway, I started wondering if the development of the empathy which leads to compassion isn't some sort of genetic anomaly past a certain point (like being extremely tall, or having a really high sensitivity to certain allergens, etc.). We all feel a bit of it, but some feel it more than others.
The reason I started to think this is because of a few related facts:
1) Vegetarians/Vegans tend to be more intellectual and intelligent than the average person. I know I sound like I'm tooting my own horn here, but you don't have too many people advocating veg*nism who aren't pretty sharp. Just look at the list of famous veg*ns, and advocates of veg*nism, and you'll see what I mean.
2) It seems like, no matter what you tell some people, they just don't make the connection. Everyone knows meat comes from slaughtered animals, yet many don't care at all, and most of those who do make rationalizations like, "It's mean, but it just tastes sooo good."
I wonder then if empathy (and the compassionate acts it compels) aren't like intelligence and other sensitivities like creativity, musical ability, etc., and has some kind of genetic link. It would explain why some people just can't be taught to feel more compassionate.