Barbara L. Ascher's On Compassion

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In “On Compassion”, Barbara L. Ascher addresses the necessity for compassion. The definition of compassion is the sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. Specifically, she suggests that compassion is necessary in today's society since we cannot restrain ourselves from the presence of the homeless. “We cannot deny the existence of the helpless as their presence grows. It is impossible to insulate ourselves against what is at our very doorstep” (48). Barbara uses scenarios of the less fortunate, that she has witnessed, to illustrate this. Her point is that she believes the homeless people we see is what brings out our compassion that we have for other people. “And yet, it may be that these are the conditions that finally give birth to empathy, the mother of compassion” (48). Ascher also argues that for one to be compassionate it must be learned, that one is not born that way. In making this…show more content…
Ascher’s states, I think the mayor’s notion is humane, but I fear it is something else as well. Raw humanity offends our sensibilities. We want to protect ourselves from an awareness of rags with voices that make no sense and scream forth in inarticulate rage. We do not wish to be reminded of the tentative state of our own well-being and sanity. And so, the troublesome presence is removed from the awareness of the electorate (48). I completely agree with what Barbara Ascher says here. The mayor moving the homeless off of the street shows his sympathy he has for them. But, removing them from the streets also helps the people walking there every day. No one wants to be reminded that the lifestyle we live today is not guaranteed, that being on the side of the street could happen to anyone. So we remove the homeless from the everyday environment and the minds of the people passing along on the

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