Wondrous Words #243

WWWEvery week word-lovers post new words they’ve discovered while reading. It’s called Wondrous Words Wednesday and was created by Kathy at Bermuda Onion’s Weblog.

Today I am deviting from a search for new-to-me words and simply celebrating one I already know. I was inspired by a quote from GoodReads Quote-Of-The-Day. Here’s the quote:

Compassion is the basis of morality.” 

Arthur Schopenhauer

Wow – the basis of all morality? That makes compassion a rather powerful word. Maybe I don’t really understand what compassion is. When I say I have compassion for someone, I usually mean I feel sorry for them.

A quick check of the dictionary defines compassion as sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. That seems to fit  my idea of “feeling sorry” for someone. But it seems as if our philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer’s quote meant something a bit more than that.

I decided to check Wikipedia to see what they might have on compassion. Ah-ha, here we go. A full page devoted to the word. There’s a look at various aspects of compassion as well as a look at how all the major religions in our world view compassion. Here is where compassion takes on more than an emotion. Now we learn that compassion also involves some activity on the part of the person who is truly compassionate. The person now has a desire, a call to action, to alleviate the suffering of others.

All that might be more than you wanted to know today. However, I bring it up as both a word and a quote to be pondered. With so much negativity in our culture, I feel the need to cultivate and celebrate compassion when I see it in others and, perhaps encourage myself to do more than show concern.

I hope you too found some words worth celebrating this week. Feel free to join Wondrous Words Wednesday. Be sure to visit Kathy for the details.


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5 Responses to Wondrous Words #243

  1. I love this post! Compassion is a powerful word if it spurs someone to action. I think I need to act more on my own compassion. Thanks for making me think about this!

  2. Julia Tomiak says:

    I love this exploration of a wonderful word. I do think that great compassion includes some action. Great post!

  3. Booketta says:

    Yes, I like that word.

  4. JNC says:

    Yep. “Compassion” is so much more than a warm fuzzy. If you’ll pardon a Biblical reference, I always think that the best example of fully-expressed compassion is the passage where it says that Christ, “when he saw the multitudes,…was moved with compassion for them” (Matthew 9:35-38)(KJV). As you said, “moved” implies action. A lovely post.

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