29 December 2006

Or in the heart or in the head?

Jim Putnam says that this blog "is often about ideas of love and compassion". That inevitably triggered a splatch of introspection in disparate directions: is it true? should it be true? if true, how far do I live up to it outside the blog? am I an insufferably priggish bore?

Of this flurry, one thought remained standing after the others had spent themselves in laziness. In the sense in which Jim uses the word "love" (as in "love thy neighbour" and "love thine enemy", the sense translated at "agapi" in the Greek texts but explicitly expanded to a global world view), is there any difference between "love" and "compassion"? Do they become the same thing, or is the distinction between them vital to their integrity? If distinguished, is there overlap - and , if so, to what degree?

I shall have to think on that one for a while.

One thing I don't have to think about is disagreement with Jim's view of himself as not being a thinking person. Perhaps it's true when he says (as he did three weeks ago) "For much of my life, I didn't even think about questions" - I can't say, I didn't know him then. I can only say that for the eight years (exactly, today) that I've known him, a less thoughtful and thinking person would be hard to imagine.

I don't agree, either, that thinking is necessary to compassion or love. No doubt it often enhances or extends them - but both occur spontaneously and frequently without it.

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