“A holy zeal for the cause of humanity in the abstract may sometimes be mere lovelessness and indifference for concrete and living human beings. When we appeal to the highest and most noble ideals, we are more easily tempted to hate and condemn those who, so we believe, are perversely standing in the way of their realization.”
Thomas Merton. Faith and Violence: Christian Teaching and Christian Practice. Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1968: 18-19
My own one liner, which has never caught on, about the same concept, is, “They sacrifice their humanity on the altar of the absolute.”
It is the difference between detachment and callousness. If one is callous and indifferent to the parts one can justify it by claiming to be serving the whole. However, this is flawed logic. You can’t have the whole without the parts — think about it.
Detachment is more like serving the whole without limiting oneself to a particular part, but seeing it as part of the whole.
Extended false ego is seeing my family, my team, my country, my temple, as being superior or separate from the whole and being callous to other groups, considering them inferior or expendable.
“The word kuta-stha, meaning “without change,” is also very significant. There are two kinds of living entities — nitya-mukta and nitya-baddha. A nitya-mukta never forgets his position as the eternal servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One who does not forget this position and knows that he is part and parcel of the Supreme Lord is nitya-mukta. Such a nitya-mukta living entity represents the Supersoul as His expansion. As stated in the Vedas, nityo nityanam.
“Thus the nitya-mukta living entity knows that he is an expansion of the supreme nitya, or the eternal Supreme Personality of Godhead. Being in such a position, he sees the material world with a different vision. The living entity who is nitya-baddha, or eternally conditioned, sees the material varieties as being actually different from one another. In this connection we should remember that the embodiment of the conditioned soul is considered to be like a dress. One may dress in different ways, but a really learned man does not take dresses into consideration. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (5.18):
brahmane gavi hastini
suni caiva svapake ca
” ‘The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste].’ “
“Thus a learned man does not look upon the dresses that externally cover the living entity, but sees the pure soul within the varieties of dress and knows very well that the varieties of dress are the creation of nescience (avidya-racitam).”