Barbara Lazear Ascher's 'On Compassion'

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Frederick Buechner once said, “Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin.” Similarly, an author by the name of Barbara Lazear Ascher wrote an essay called “On Compassion,” in which she states that people learn about compassion when they experience hardships and begin to put oneself in another’s place. Along with the idea of compassion being learned, Ascher also tries to make us wonder what our motive is that leads us to being compassionate. Ascher tries to make us question why we feel the need to be compassionate towards others throughout her essay. In the beginning, the author describes a man who looks to be homeless and how the man stops in front of a baby. When the baby’s mother sees this, she seems to get a bit tense, so she searches inside her purse to find a dollar to give him. The author later questions the mother’s motive for giving the man the dollar and whether she gave it to him because she cared or she was frightened by him. Ascher later writes about an experience she had at a coffee shop. She describes a man, who is dressed poorly and has an unpleasant smell, being given a hot cup of coffee and a paper bag with something inside from the owner of the shop. The author, again questions the motive behind …show more content…

In one circumstance, we may feel the need to give to those who are poor to keep them from getting in our personal space; and in other circumstances we feel that we give to others out of the kindness of our heart. I completely agree with Ascher and her views on compassion, because I have been in similar situation where I have questioned why people give money, and whether they give with a whole heart or out of necessity. Furthermore, this essay can teach us plenty of lessons that can be utilized throughout our lives so we can teach others and make them aware of the need to be more

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