It is important to understand that nature creates in parents affection for their children; and parental affection is the source from which we trace the shared community of the human race … As it is obvious that it is natural to us to shrink from pain, so it is clear that we derive from nature itself the motive to love those to whom we have given birth. From this motive is developed the mutual concern which unites human beings as such. The fact of their common humanity means that one person should feel another to be his relative. – Cicero, On Ends, 3.62-3.
The human faculty for empathy and sympathy are quite unique aren’t they? The power to reason is not simply about being logical, but it’s more about listening to the voice inside, with either Nature placed in us, or if you beleive: just how humans evolved. Either way it’s inside of you, I choose to believe it is special, unique, and placed within us.
Being a parent is tough, but my love for my daughters is a single great source of joy in my life, and yes it all seems to come so natural and obvious (as most parents can relate). Being someone who grew up without a father who chose not to be there, I have to wonder that he heard that same voice inside and simply ignored it, or likely struggled with it. Or was it taken over by fear (we all know how that can go)?
Either way, it reminds me that the ability to listen to that divine light of reason within is equally as special as it’s presence.
This week has all been about Justice (the virtue) for me. I’ve always summed it down to being fair, or performing the golden rule. But I’ve never really looked at it from the point of view of benefiting myself. As I have been explaining in my other writings this week, seeing service to your community as a benefit to yourself, and ultimately your character, gives it new meaning. Not only am I working for the benefit of others (just from the sheer nature of e.g. compassion, empathy, and sympathy — as I explained this morning), but also for my own benefit.
It feels wierd to take that angle, almost a selfish one, but if what you are looking for is happiness, I think understanding that your community needs to be happy in order for you to be happy just makes sense.
Today I felt that especially at work. Our community is pretty great. Someone, just the other day, commented (and I’m paraphrasing):
Just the fact that I feel like we have each other’s backs is a great feeling.
And, that’s true, it is.