Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Quantifying Compassion

Martin in St. Louis is their non-smoking guru. He wrote an email about efforts by the casinos to allow smoking in the casino tavern. He mentioned that smoke would be worse for the employees than the customers.

Something didn't sound right about that. I started comparing the compassion one might feel about one thing vs. another. Imagine a mother loses one child, and another loses two. Do you have more compassion for one of the mothers than for the other? And suppose your friend loses her wedding ring (not intentionally). Do you grieve less for that than for something else? Or take joy. Do we really have levels of joy? Or are joy and compassion states that we put ourselves in? Places where we feel for the other  to our limits.

Back to the employees vs. customers. It is conceivable that an employee might be injured more than a customer, but because of the number of customers vs. the number of employee, the total injury for each group might not be so different. I think we'd want to advocate equally for both groups, feeling empathy to each as they coat their lungs with non-friendly vapors and particulate matter.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are getting a trifle to mathematical for me on this one. H.