Criminality and Compassion.

Do we all a mental illness, condition, variation?

In a recent episode of This American Life you can hear the story of a good doctor, and by all accounts an exceptionally good doctor who – ‘Murdered his Father’, then (obviously) to be found guilty and go to prison for the rest of his life.

No spoilers – Listen to the story to find out what happens.


It’s easy to initially lay blame on Vince but as we discover, just like William Chester Minor he’s not responsible. His brain chemistry was out of kilter.

If someone is mentally ill and not responsible for their actions they’re not seen as being criminally responsible but at some level (even if not to this severity), aren’t we all like this from time to time?

If we have compassion for the mentally ill, what about people who have a brain tumor causing them to behave inappropriately or someone who’s been brought up in an abusive family or any of the millions of ways we can compare ourselves with others and say… But for the grace of God go I.

Conditioning & Compassion.

We are all the sum total of our genetics and experiences. This leads us to where we choose every action based on our understanding of the world through the filters of our conditioning. In which case, how can we choose, other than as we do?
Everyone is acting in the only way as they can, with only conditioned decision making.

Everyone has a back story, in the case of many challenging personalities in our society… A story that is tragic. With this understanding shouldn’t we all have a little compassion for why people do odd, dangerous and criminal actions rather than just judge them based on superficial, biased opinion.

“I’ve never meet anyone I didn’t love, once I heard their story” – Annon.

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