The Satanic Temple has seven core guiding principles called the tenets. This series of posts explores them, which may include what it means to me in my life, comparison to other belief systems, and so on.
One should strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures in accordance with reason.
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Funny how this is the first tenet because, quite simply, the business world’s take on empathy pisses me the fuck off and I’d be thrilled to never hear this word again. Ever. Work also ruined another word, passion, which is the root of compassion.
As far as I’m concerned, these two words can just effing die.
Which probably means I’ll be digging into these terms again after the other tenets. My brain needs time to process them within the context of TST. Or better yet, after reading The Compassionate Satanist. For reals. It’s a book. I own it. That’s enough, right? I don’t, like, ya know, actually have to read it, do I?
Anywayz, let’s start with empathy. This word is troublesome for me on a few levels. As mentioned above, cuz, work. And then there’s being an empath versus having empathy. Plus there’s this new buzz-phrase, dark empath, and another new-to-me phrase, cognitive empathy.
Anyone else confused?
- Empath: feels the feelings of others, oftentimes to the extent that one doesn’t even know which feelings are their own
- Dark Empath: feels the feelings of others, knows which are their own, and manipulates other’s emotions and/or actions, usually in their favor over the well-being of others
- Empathy: the ability to self-manifest how others might feel in a certain situation
- Cognitive Empathy: the ability to understand that others may experience certain feelings in a specific situation
- Work Empathy: the stupid people hampering a company’s effectiveness should feel valued and supported, and a lousy boss needs to feel trusted and respected
I’m an empath. I’m also what some friends call a social sadist, which in essence means it’s fun to fiddle with someone’s emotions. But that’s about the extent of it. I almost never try to direct people into an unsafe place physically, fiscally, mentally, or emotionally. In fact, usually toward growth and healing.
Now, helping someone get flustered and indignant by guiding them through the illogical stupidity of incongruent beliefs, on the other hand, is hilarious. Say, like, someone who decries, “all lives matter,” and “comply and you’ll be fine,” but then screams, “I will never submit!” Yeah, that’s a person practically begging to be toyed with, right there.
Kinda like my boss who said, verbatim, “I will always root for the underdog, and you will never be the underdog.” Granted, to paraphrase an endearing family memory she’d shared at a staff meeting, “we didn’t have an elf on the shelf. We had the whore in a drawer, because we could just use Barbie dolls instead of buying something new.” Definitely not enough of a challenge to make toying with her emotions any fun.
But this might be a bit off track.
My take is that TST would think either Empathy or Cognitive Empathy are sufficient. Given their predilection against supernatural gifts, I doubt they’d require empathic abilities. And quite frankly, being a Dark Empath is utterly unreasonable, as is needing to use Work Empathy.
I understand compassion as concern for others’ suffering. For example, my rescue dog obviously had an abusive past. It’s clear when she’s having a PTSD moment and reacting out of fear. I believe that it’s my job to help her emotionally heal to live her happiest possible life.
She clearly suffered at the hands of others. I’m sufficiently concerned about her welfare that I want to minimize her fear-based reactions and treat her physical pains.
When it comes to humans, however, work taught me that having passion meant loving a job for it’s intrinsic value to the point of not needing to be appropriately compensated for my skills or time. After all, the poor widdle owner or CEO who’s barely a billionaire clearly deserves financial security far more than I ever will.
This kind of blatant abuse puts the pass in passion, which is the root of compassion. Essentially compassion means, “with passion,” or “with care.”
Creatures vs Humans
Yeah, I’m probably going to get myself into some trouble here. See, I love critters and plants, but dislike most humans. As such, I can watch movies all day with white men violently attacking each other. But you hurt a dog, wolf, lion, eagle, bunny, whale, etc., and we’re done.
For reals, I stopped watching Game of Thrones after the second episode when they killed a wolf-puppy. Based on how many people despised the series’ ending, it seems like this was a good call.
Ok, ok, so I still watched John Wick after Daisy was killed (by a guy who’d been in Game of Thrones, I might add) because I trust Keanu Reeves to mete out justice. And he did. In fact, I kinda wish he’d said, “Hello, my name is Jonathan Wick. You killed my dog. Prepare to die.”
Having empathy and compassion for critters is easy, whereas giving a shit about purposefully stupid people’s feelings isn’t reasonable.
I need to suss out whether my current beliefs and actions meet the intent of this tenet, or if it’s a goal to work on. And quite simply, I’m going to have to do a lot more digging to figure that out.