Apathy is an insidious feature of human nature. It is dangerous because of its persuasiveness to forget our collective memory and forego the wisdom bestowed on humankind over time. As a result of apathy’s principle characteristics, of lack of feeling and connection, we are susceptible to committing evil through non-action. Apathy lines our lives with indifference and when we are indifferent we permit atrocities to ravage the world and our fellow human beings. When we are indifferent we allow the election of a leader who openly talks about banning people based on their faith. When we are indifferent we watch our neighbors be placed in internment camps without saying a word.
Some may say that it is not indifference but fear that leads to non-action. This is misleading. Fear, by its nature, causes our flight or fight instincts. Such instincts are the opposites of inaction. While flight might be seen as cowardice, and fighting seen as righteous, neither bare the characteristics of apathies indifference.
Indeed it is up to us to decide to let ourselves go numb with apathy or to embrace the lessons we have learned from history and understand that mankind is vacillating on the precipice of yet another moral disaster. This moral disaster is perceived in different ways and a result of different causes but it is clear that one aspect remains true no matter ones perception. It is our divisions, the lines we paint to determine ‘the us’ and ‘the them’ that have lead us to condemn others as if they were the devil himself.
It is not our role to condemn each other but to uplift one another, to find common ground and caring for the ‘me’ that lives in ‘you’ and the ‘you’ that lives in ‘me’. So many faiths uplift the principles of loving kindness, of accepting others though they may be different from ourselves. Whether Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Baha’i, Daoist, Buddhist, Confucian, Wiccan, Pagan, and so many more, there are teachings in all of our faiths that tell us to act with love.
The principles of love line the history of our faiths and our humanity. We are moved by acts of kindness and we are rewarded with happiness when we care for others or something other than ourselves. Scientifically speaking acts of kindness, compassion and empathy release feel good hormones. But beyond science there is a deep inert calling in all of us to empathize, to understand others as we understand ourselves. It is why when we see someone in pain we understand that pain as if it were our own. It is why when we see another cry we might be moved to cry ourselves. It is why when we have disagreements we become uncomfortable.
But when we forget these principles of love, and let hate or apathy seep into our being it is us who have invited evil into our own bodies. When we let apathy or hate lead our lives we forget principles of loving kindness. Without these principles, without our connection to others we tend to not care what happens. Without that caring we are destined to repeat history and perpetrate violence and injustice or remain quiet as violence and injustice are committed around us. There is nothing loving about violence or injustice. There is nothing virtuous or loving in remaining a silent witness to violence or injustice. Though we may not be able to prevent violence or injustice it is important to remember that we must never fail to protest it. For if we fail to protest and act with love then we have succumbed to the insidious nature of apathy and are doomed to be part of the evil we fear.
Hi, I'm Liz. I like to write about life and the wisdom I cull from it. I use words and images to inspire empathy and connection with each other and the world.