25 April 2007


Apathy. It has been officially classified as the deadliest ailment to compassion, action, motivation, and excellence. It is the antithesis of compassion, and also the antithesis of hate. For to hate, one must care, and to love one must care. Apathy does not care. The future doesn't matter, nor does the past. And what is the present but what is immediate?

I am a carrier of this 'disease' of apathy. Lately I've found some pretty strong antidotes for it such as learning specifics about the layers of politics, society and humanity. Through learning, I can feel. And when I feel, the apathy fades a bit. When I feel, I can search for action. I can break out of my self-pity and embrace a higher calling, if I may use such a term. I can feel compassion for those who are oppressed. I can hate a variety of situations in the world. When apathy is not keeping me willfully ignorant, I can see and feel and act.

Apathy is often closely related to self-pity. I've found that one of the things I do most is whinge. It seems that I can't help but complain about the next paper I to write, or the fact that my fridge is disastrously empty. I have to constantly put things back into perspective. I have to realize that I am here for a purpose. I am here to learn. That includes writing papers and taking tests. Apparently it also includes being so unfortunate as to not have much food. However, I'm not poor. I have opportunities that so many people in the world do not have. I am able to go to school and endure all aspects of it, whereas some do not have such an opportunity. Who knows if he actually was the first to say this, but Bono has been quoted saying "Perspective is the cure for depression." And it's true. As I whinge and moan about my petty woes, I try to think about others less fortunate than I. It is sobering to be sure. It makes me realize my situation in the large scheme of things. I cease feeling sorry for myself nearly immediately.

Throwing off apathy includes seeing situations in perspective. So I'd modify Bono's quote. Perspective is the cure of apathy as well. I now seek to cure, or at least alleviate this deadly ailment in others. I wish to bring perspective and action into the minds and lives of those around me. In order to spread this 'cure' of perspective, I wish to encourage worthwhile discussions. I want to encourage others to think and challenge myself to think with them.

I am by no means cured of apathy. I must continue to strive to stave it off. Part of this cure is finding other reasons to do things than simply because I can. This makes things more challenging and stimulating. It is often very hard for me to put effort into anything. But by implementing this new philosophy, I am able to keep apathy far from me.

Recently the topic of cynicism was brought up for discussion. It is often considered a bad thing. I rather disagree. I believe that seeing many things through a cynic's eye helps them come into perspective. It just shouldn't dishearten one. It needs to be tempered. Cynicism is not the enemy. Again, it is apathy. For a cynic cares, no mater how sarcastically this care may be voiced. And apathy simply does not care.

This concludes my brief observation of apathy, the real killer among the youth of this country. For because of apathy, ignorance, and inaction, the world is affected. Or perhaps it is not affected, and that is undesirable. We need to cast off this blinding apathy and become active in the world.

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