“A long while ago I was on facebook saying something about missing my father after he died. Someone came on the thread and said that there is really no such thing as death, it just appears to be so, and that I shouldn't be sad about my father's absence since he wasn't truly absent. After a wee tit for tat on this, in order to make a point, I deleted one of her messages in which she 'proved' that there was no such thing as death. She got extremely upset that I deleted her message but I explained to her that her message was not truly deleted, it just appeared to be so. She continued being upset and defriended me at which point I suggested that she might want to look at why she is so upset with the death of her facebook comment while saying that I had no reason to be upset about the death of my father.”The poster who re-posted it commented, “A brilliant example of how to deal with a person stricken with the being an ------ syndrome brought on by spiritual bypassing.”
While it is clever, what happened here is gravely problematic, and should not be held up as an example of how to correctly go through the world.
It’s clear that the commenter was behaving inappropriately. Yes, she was being a jerk. Yes, she was violating this guy’s boundaries, being inconsiderate, rude, terribly offensive and insensitive. But this guy’s response was also these things equally, to her. That’s not right. Both actions are wrong.
We cannot live in a morality of eye for an eye, fighting fire with fire, you hurt me so I get to hurt you. That is no way to build a society, and no way to live an ethical life. Injuring one who has injured you is not justice, it’s revenge. It’s an impulse that comes from a low version of ourselves, not the highest we are capable of. We have to be better than that.
What’s the point of fighting the injustice, if, in doing so, you commit the same? If the hero of the movie behaves as bad as the villain, then what’s the difference? Who cares who wins? Whoever wins, it comes to the same thing. Morality only means something if one way is better than the other. This was an example of two wrongs. Neither was more morally correct. They both deserve to be seen as inappropriate actions.
When your fear touches someone's pain it becomes pity; when your love touches someone's pain, it becomes compassion.
- Stephen Levine