Brilliant! Thanks for the quote and food for thought.
Perhaps the value of abstractions is that they can be the vehicle for good to get better and move on to being the best. In other words, even though there is no compassion outside of a compassionate act, to entertain the idea of compassion can have the effect of supporting and propagating ever more lofty compassionate acts. This in turn informs a more open ended idea of what compassion could entail within the activity which is its very substance.
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332