Something today made me think of despair, and how helpless we are when it comes to helping someone get over it. Whenever we see someone in pain, our first reaction is to offer empty platitudes like “It’s going to be OK”, or “God has a plan for you”, or a simple “Buck up!” How utterly unhelpful and meaningless these phrases are!
Empathy is believed to be trait we evolved over time because it is useful. Consider this — your fellow “monkey” had no food, you gave it to him, and in return he would help you when you needed it, thereby making sure that you both survived tough times together.
When it comes to the physical needs (food, water, and, in the present times, money), this all seems objectively applicable; but somehow when it comes to our mental needs, empathy of our fellow monkeys seems worthless. I believe no one can truly help us reach our mental/spiritual/philosophical goals. It is a journey we must take alone. Books, teachers, and/or elders might be our guides, but truly, the quest of fulfillment is solitary.
Darkness, ineffable, though somehow known,
Heart, beating, though filled with stones;
Your hand, extended, seems far away,
Sun will shine, you smile and say;
Your platitudes, well meant, are empty inside,
To the end of this, alone I must ride.