Haley Galliano: We Are Not Our Fathers: Generational Value Change, A Case for Compassion
From Emily Bush-Clark on April 14th, 2020
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I have been wrestling with the concept of generational change recently. I’ve been wondering about our capacity, as a collective human-kind, to not repeat the detrimental cycles of those who came before us; whether or not we are capable of the level of self-awareness it takes to diligently and continuously weed out bad practices, forgive and progress. Generational growth in this sense is certainly not linear, but is it cyclical in a way that cannot be gotten away from?
I wanted to research this question in the hopes of inspiring younger generations, my peers included, that we are not condemned to repetition, should we be diligent. It is our responsibility to learn the lessons which were not learnt before us, to not become stagnant; there is evidence to say this is not a hopeless pursuit. We are not our fathers; we must use this to our advantage.
What I find to be particularly compelling about the research I have thus far conducted is that compassion as an emotion human beings feel that pushes them to action has, against Kant’s speculations, a significant evolutionary purpose, if nothing else. It would appear that human beings collectively value compassion in each other and themselves more so as history progresses. The value change of compassion through new generations has significant impacts for international and interpersonal relations. It is something I want to continue analyzing and something I will continue talking about, because I have seen it first hand: the domino effect that can result from one individual stepping away from the more hateful and divisive beliefs of his family and ancestry in order to connect to the humans he previously believed to be unforgiveable—it is not idealistic or utopian, what I speak of. It is my hope to help instill in my generation the value and strength there is in looking past the different religions, worldviews and backgrounds another person practices and possesses in order to say: You are human, just as I am. I will not hate you for it.