Sunday, 23 September 2012

How do we define the age we live in?

We're apparently in the post-literate age, as I said yesterday. Now I discover we're in the post-authentic age also. 

And recently I heard former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, in conversation with Frank Brennan, suggest Australia might be in the post-Christian era.

It seems the prefix post is very popular these days.

I wonder what age we're actually in? Are we in the pre-something age? 

Maybe we're in the pre-compassionate age. How lovely. I look forward to a time when we can be judged by how we treat the defenceless and weak amongst us. 

The following quotes, collected by PamPerdue at Askville, give a history of great thoughts about compassion to humans:

Our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members.~Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973), My Several Worlds [1954].

The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children. ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

A decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilization.~Samuel Johnson, Boswell: Life of Johnson

The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities.~John E. E. Dalberg, Lord Acton, The History of Freedom in Antiquity, [1877].

"...the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped. " ~ Last Speech of Hubert H. Humphrey

"A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." ~ Mahatma Ghandi

"Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members -- the last, the least, the littlest." ~Cardinal Roger Mahony, In a 1998 letter, Creating a Culture of Life

The greatness of America is in how it treats its weakest members: the elderly, the infirm, the handicapped, the underprivileged, the unborn. ~Bill Federer

"A society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members and among the most vulnerable are surely the unborn and the dying," ~Pope John Paul II

Are we, perhaps, approaching an age when we realise our fellow creatures also suffer if we mistreat them?  

Another respondent at Askville gives a different quote from Ghandi, and this is the one I had previously heard:
 "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man."

I look forward to The Age of Compassion! 


proud womon said...

oooh, is the world changing? i, like you parlance, also look forward to the age of compassion!!!!

parlance said...

proud womon, you are much more advanced that I am towards the Age of Compassion, which is why I read your blog. I learn such a lot from you. Thank you.