#88 – Feeling the Lash

Society approaches a respectable level of civilization only when it develops an active spirit of compassion. – Bruce Catton

Compassion is the highest human expression. Lack of compassion indicates a lack of self-awareness or being out of touch with one’s True identity. A community that treats the other as if they were inferior and not deserving of compassion is committing an act of violence unto itself.

One such act of self-inflicted violence occurred in the American community when it failed to acknowledge the injustice of slavery. Only a very unconscious society could condone such heartless behavior. “Speaking of a man who could see nothing really disturbing in the institution of human slavery, Abraham Lincoln once remarked that this person was so constituted that he could not feel the lash that landed on somebody else’s back. Only if it hit his own back could he understand that a flogging was going on.” (1)

Have we made progress in being able to feel the lash felt by our darker-skinned brothers and sisters when the promise of the 1960s civil rights legislation remains unfulfilled and the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter is ubiquitous on the internet? Is our community less divided over religion, politics, sexual identification, economics and foreign policy than we were in 1860 over the issues of states-rights and slavery?

Can humanity learn empathy and compassion from history? Perhaps not because America is not the only nation unable to embrace diversity in its population over time. A terrible famine afflicted Ireland in the 1840s. It killed one and a half million people and drove a million more to emigrate to avoid starvation. By 1847 the British government decided to withdraw support for the people of Ireland by requiring them to rely on the Irish poor laws which meant that Ireland would have to support the famine victims.

“This put the burden on the local landlords, some of whom had been making a good thing out of Ireland for many years; and led directly to mass emigration, because it occurred to the landlords that it was cheaper to ship a pauper to America than to continue to support him in Ireland.” (1)  Both Irish immigrants and black slaves were “feeling the lash” at the same time on the “coffin ships” that were taking them to America. Cecil Woodham-Smith the author of The Great Hunger “estimates that in 1847, fifteen thousand of them [Irish immigrants] died on shipboard, and twenty thousand more died shortly after they disembarked.” (1)

What with the Brexit controversy today (2019), immigration again comes to the fore as the British community surrenders to fear and division. Will the European Union be able to hold the 28 European nations together as the world’s best hope for building a Global Village?

For a community to be sustainable whether it’s a hockey team or the Global Village it must come to the realization that it is one indivisible whole, it must come to believe in and practice the principle of Oneness.

Click on the link below for guidance in finding the path of Oneness.

Insight # 88:

But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
    — Robert Frost



  1. Catton, Bruce. “Reading, Writing and History.” American Heritage. February 1963, pages 104-105.

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