All posts tagged: Etymology

Week 42 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Crisis

The word crisis brings to mind a dramatic, life-destroying situation.  Yet hindsight reveals that the situations we fear most are precisely the situations that bring out the best in our minds and/or bodies.  For example, an injured athlete outperforms his own expectations. Or surprisingly, the much-feared divorce that forces two people to come to terms with the past allows them to move forward into happiness with new dreams and lovers.

Is there a positive perspective from which we can choose to view dangerous and critical situations we encounter? Let’s rethink crisis.

Sorting out Compassion, Pity, and Love

I started reading a book called The Unbearable Lightness of Being. It’s philosophical fiction and ripe with existentialist themes.  You find it on Library Genesis.  The story is about a womanizer and, at one point, he considers his unusual compassionate feelings towards a woman he is sleeping with. He says, To take pity on a woman means that we are better off than she, that we stoop to her level, lower ourselves. That is why the word compassion generally inspires suspicion; it designates what is considered an inferior, second rate sentiment that has little to do with love.  To love someone out of compassion means not really to love…  (Chapter 9) This passage really caught me off-guard – my intuition is not the same as the author’s.  Does compassion imply a power or hierarchical relationship in which one person has pity for another?  To me, the word compassion has always meant co-feeling and suggests companionship and shared emotions, including joy. Read It and Weep Let’s see what the Oxford Dictionary has to say: Compassion: Sympathetic pity …