Monday, October 24, 2011

Something to Think About . . .

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5 comments:

Sage said...

Excellent, excellent, excellent!

Closet Boy said...

Careful, love! People are already sick and tired of seeing the picture on the right. (Like it or not, "compassion fatigue" is real.) It's only a matter of time before they start to get sick of the other picture as well.

Sage said...

I am unaware of any conclusive evidence put forth in multiple and replicated peer reviewed studies appearing in reputable scientific journals that unequivocally prove that "compassion fatigue" is in fact "real."

The mere fact that it is referred to by so many different names in the literature---secondary traumatic disorder, secondary victimization, vicarious traumatization, secondary survivor, a form of burnout, etc. may be an indication that what we call compassion fatigue is really mostly a figment of the imagination of those who feel compelled to try to create an illness that may really just be the result of the medicalization of contemporary culture. Medicine is a demigod in most western societies and because of this there is a desire in such cultures to mask conditions that may more accurately be social or personality conditions under the cloak of "medical" science.

I personally believe that in reality what we refer to as compassion fatigue is in reality the combination of a social and spiritual disorder resulting from a persons or even an entire cultures failure to deeply understand how inseparably interconnected all human beings are and the subsequent desire to address this dishonestly.

When an individual or an entire culture suffers from this type of "ailment" it is easy to see why it would be preferable to come up with some pseudo medical condition to explain it away because the same mentality and consciousness (selfishness, individualism, disconnectedness) that wishes to believe there could *truly* be limits to human compassion would also, logic would inform us, desire to fool itself about any number of other things.

This is not to say that everyone needs to believe they can help every single person in need. I believe this is another thing that is going on with so called compassion fatigue. People don't know how to set appropriate limits when faced with real life difficult situations. The remedy, in my opinion is to teach people coping skills and how to put their own "oxygen masks" on first when appropriate rather than simply manufacturing something like "compassion fatigue" which means they can go through life from an external locus of control, blaming everything on forces outside oneself instead recognizing internal locus's of control when those are called for.

brian gerard said...

@sage - great job taking apart the incomplete notion of "compassion fatigue". It is much appreciated. I think the picture is right on point.

Closet Boy said...

'[T]he combination of a social and spiritual disorder resulting from a persons or even an entire cultures failure to deeply understand how inseparably interconnected all human beings are and the subsequent desire to address this dishonestly'? Sounds like a pretty good definition.

I also sounds a lot like being a fallen human being.

J G Ballard wrote presciently about the pornography of violence. Western TV audiences got hooked on the pornography of "compassion" during the 1980s, when the likes of Bob Geldof got them to feel good about themselves by watching pictures of starving black children on the evening news. For comfortable, middle-class, "liberal-minded" First Worlders it was like all their favourite gruesome, mawkish, sentimental Holocaust movies put together, only better, because the TV pictures were in colour, and you could pretend the people in them were actually real!

People have of course now got bored with black babies starving and moved on to gay rights. But eventually they'll get bored with that as well and move on to something else. It's the way the media work, I fear - by speakig to the dark side of man's soul.