2007 Seventh Grade Forth Place

Jennifer Grogan, Massachusetts.

Compassion or Violence:

Which has a greater impact on society?

One cannot measure the result of an act if compassion. One cannot measure the result of giving a homeless man a dollar. He could use that dollar to invest in something wish that makes his a millionaire, or he could spend it on a sandwich. Violence on the other had is easily measure. Someone or something either gets injured, killed or destroyed, and therefore can be measured by the amount of violence committed. Both compassion and violence can have a ripple effect on thousands of people. One person gives a little girl a hug when she is had, so she then becomes happy. She gives a complete stranger who is down a smile, wave, and hello. That stranger foes and commits another act of compassion, and so on, creating a huge ripple effect. Violence though, does the same thing. 9/11 for example was an act of violence. It then spurred a whole war to happen, a gigantic act of violence, with thousands of people hurt and killed.

To really understand one must see different points of view. If Benedict De Spinoza were to answer the question before us I think he would have said violence, because all the mathematical information is there, while as I have said, compassion is much harder to quantify and see. Albert Camus, on the other hand, I believe may have said that opposite. In his life he was greatly affected by violence, since his father died in war, but that made his a more compassionate person.

Violence obviously gets more publicity. Not many stories on the news are about compassionate people and actions, but rather they are about who was shot, or who shot someone else. Violence affects many people everywhere. If one person gets shot, it affects their family, community, and town, but also the shooters family, community, and town also. Violence often triggers compassion, so without violence there would be barely any need for compassion, except for cases of poor or homeless people. Some eras are even named after violent times such as the WWI period, WWII period.

Many compassionate people have been overcome by violence, such as Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King Jr. They were compassionate people who changed millions of lives by being compassionate, but were unfortunately killed in horrible acts of violence.

Compassion usually only affects the person being compassionate, and the person they are being compassionate to. On a smaller scale I think compassion had a greater impact on a single person, or people. Everyone usually commits a least one act of compassion everyday. In many places no act of violence is committed any day, week, even month.

When it comes to which one has a greater impact on society, I would like to say compassion, and may be able to some day, but I have to say violence has the greater impact today.


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