“There is something really mysterious, something for which Reason can provide no explanation, and for which no basis can be found in practical experience. It is nevertheless of common occurrence, and everyone has had the experience. It is not unknown even to the most hard-hearted and self-interested. Examples appear every day before our eyes of instant responses of this kind, without reflection, one person helping another, coming to his aid, even setting his own life in clear danger for someone whom he has seen for the first time, having nothing more in mind than that the other is in need and in peril of his life.” Schopenhauer.
There was an article in the New York papers a few months ago about a kid who dove into the Hudson River to save a drowning dog and then had to be saved himself. When asked why he’d dove in, he said. “Because it was my dog.” Then there was the girl who went into a buring building – twice – to save her little brother and sister, and when she was asked why she’d done that, she said, “Because I loved them.”
Such a one is then acting, Schopenhauer answers, out of an instinctive recognition of the truth that he and that other in fact are one. He has been moved not from the lesser, secondary knowledge of himself as separate from the others, but from an immediate experience of the greater, truer truth, that we are all one in the gound of our being.
That’s the power. These people didn’t know if they had the strength or not. It’s not duty, not reckoning. It is a flash: a breakthrough of the reality of this life that lives in us. At such moments, you realize that you and that other are, in fact, one. It’s a big realization.
The key to the Grail is compassion,
suffering with, feeling another’s sorrow
as it it were your own.
The one who finds
the dynamo of compassion
is the one who’s found the Grail.
…what’s meant by the image of the Grail, since the thing that effected the healing of the Grail King was the spontaneous act of asking that question and not withholding it. Often you feel that such a spontaneous act will make a fool out of you and so you don’t do it – I will look like a fool if I do that. That’s the failure in the Grail Castle.
— A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living, Edited by Diane K. Osbon, 1991
The psychological pain and dis-ease former franchisees feel that have betrayed a stranger is caused by denying this larger reality (everyone is one).
- When you sell someone down the river, you’re only really deceiving yourself: the Devil always returns for his payment.