Some Thoughts On Apathy
Apathy seems to be a common human condition, but apathy should amaze us. Why would anyone be apathetic? How does an apathetic person survive a hostile world? Even if the world is too big for us, isn’t there something we can control? Don’t most people actually strive to control the things they think they can control and ignore (or are apathetic towards) what seems beyond their power?
Then why the appearance of apathy? Well, let’s speculate.
- How well do we understand each other? Well? Not well? Is it possible we just assume that people are apathetic? Don’t we just condemn another person as apathetic if that person does not think what we think is important?
- Do we understand what we can control? Do we know how to control the things we try to control? Don’t we bumble and muddle through at best? Could it be that we mistake apathy for the bliss of ignorance?
Consider Things we know that aren’t so (washingtontimes.com) by Clifford D. May.
It’s been observed — and variously attributed to Mark Twain, Will Rogers and Ronald Reagan, among others — that what gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know, but what we know that isn’t so.
For example, we know that modernity, like gravity, exerts a pull that nations and their rulers, sooner or later, find irresistible. As John Kerry said to Vladimir Putin after the Russian president invaded Ukraine five years ago: “You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion.” Mr. Putin’s non-verbal reply: And why not?
Also widely believed: That the arc of history bends toward justice — or at least in some meaningful direction. Such historical determinism is supported by no evidence whatsoever as far as I’m aware. (continued here)
Where is May headed with this? I think this paragraph addresses his theme.
Americans and Europeans, on both the left and the right, are inclined to believe in homo economicus, a fictional creature who rationally prioritizes the optimization of economic benefits. Even when our adversaries and enemies make clear that what motivates them is ideology and/or theology, we tell ourselves they don’t really mean it.
It seems too many Americans have become ego centric, pleasure seeking, materialists. We look at the world pragmatically and put a price tag on everything. We act as if money solves all problems, even though our hearts tell us that it doesn’t. Why? It is what we have been taught to do.
Because our schools are run by the state governments and increasingly the Federal government, they have increasingly focused upon homo economicus ideological indoctrination. It is puzzling, however, that our Ivy League universities seem to be even more highly infected with this problem. Supposedly, these are private institutions, but they have wandered from their Christian roots. Consider how a student, Aaron Haviland, described his experiences at Yale Law School in I Thought I Could Be A Christian And Constitutionalist At Yale Law School. I Was Wrong (thefederalist.com). He offered this synopsis of his article.
You would think that the number one law school in the country should be a cut above the rest. But it’s actually an environment of intense hostility towards Christians and constitutionalists.
Haviland understands it is a privilege to Yale. Still, he hardly considers attending Yale an unmixed blessing.
Just how far have we allowed the homo economicus indoctrination of our young people to proceed? In Weaponizing children for political gain (washingtontimes.com) Monica Crowley says we have reached a new milestone.
Children are relatively new pawns in the left’s long game. For decades, kids have been sent into literal and metaphorical battle by dangerous regimes and movements, such as the Nazis, the Iranians, the Imperial Japanese, the communists and Islamic terror groups like al Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas and the PLO. In America, however, children have been largely considered off-limits for political activism, even as political combatants often invoked “the children” to argue future stakes.
But kids are now pushed front and center, armed with scripted talking points and coached by adults to agitate for “change.” Their targets cannot forcefully defend themselves, because the activists are, after all, mere children (which is, of course, the tactical point). (continued here)
So what has this post resolved? Not much. Added confusion, if anything. So we need to think more about this.
To Be Posted
- Part 2: The Ivory Tower of Indoctrination. Since we still do not have a centralized education system ideological indoctrination of the young is politically difficult and costly. Nevertheless, homo economicus indoctrination seems to have achieved great success among our most educated. Why? What is the point of homo economicus indoctrination? Who is responsible for it?
- Part 3: The Power Of An Idea. The American Revolution illustrates the success of the power of a shared idea. What does homo economicus indoctrination have to do with apathy?
- Part 4: Providing Incentives For Our Leaders. Supposedly, we live in a constitutional republic? Is that sort of government designed to provide incentives for We the People to do the right thing or incentives for our leaders to do the right thing?
Great post on the varied subject. Look forward to your next post. Hope you include political correctness as a topic which in my opinion adds to mistrust of government.
As for your question, “Could it be that we mistake apathy for the bliss of ignorance?”- perhaps there is an element of King Solomon’s proverbial wisdom in this Ecclesiastes 1:18,
For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.
In ancient times, people were not too inclined to speak out against authority or become involved in government to avoid having their heads chopped off, so I assume being apathetic had a different perspective about control or trust.
Today, with free speech and internet, there might be some value in knowing who to trust in government but many live paychecks to paycheck just to make ends s meet. In other words, they may not believe it makes any difference who is in government is going to change much in their lives, so why spend the time getting involved in politics?
This brings up another issue,. Is it t better or worse for a Nation for an uninformed voter to vote when they have no ideas or interest in candidates or issues to vote on.
Then who even knows what is the truth on issues when a person is not told the truth or the truth is withheld for political correctness.
Regards and good will blogging.
I have no way of knowing just how apathetic various people are. Like most people I don’t read minds. It seems you understand that was the point.
I think we need to realize that as we make our government bigger and more powerful in our lives we become frustrated with our ability to control it. So we make what seems to be a pragmatic and practical decision. We worry about the things we can control.
Your statement, , “We worry about the things we can control” opens a philosophic avenue about apathy in relation to King Solomon’s verse.
One of the blessings of Spiritual Wisdom is trusting in God instead of government or man. This trust in God can lead to a sense of peace and comfort in both good and bad times in life we may experience.
For example, atheists lack this blessing in their lives. And if you consider their perspectives in life, even if they turn out to be correct that there is no God, they missed out in life the blessing of having the peace of mind during their life that a person with a religious faith has to comfort and strengthen them in the bad times in life they may experience..
That might be another perspective or interpretation of the King Solomon Ecclesiastes 1:18 verse about his time in life and folly attempt to understand God’s wisdom vs. the Spiritual Wisdom 1000 years before Jesus Christ.
“For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief”
Trust in God gives a sense of being able to have control in life for a person with faith, However, if there is no faith or trust in God, perhaps this also leads to apathy in life?
Or in other words, if the atheist turns out to be right, their wisdom deprived them in life to be afforded the peace and comfort in life a religious believer may have experienced?
Kind of sad or ironic funny if you think about this interpretation when you have a strong faith and trust in God?
Regards and good will blogging.
Pascal’s Wager is the philosophical argument I think you are making.
It seems to me to be at odds with 1 Corinthians 15:12-19. See what you think.
I can subscribe to both assuming the verse “who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.”
Or in other words, stay awake and practice your faith?
Whether spiritual wisdom leads to trust in God’s love or Pascal’s wager, the result is can in time become the same, to trust and believe in God?
Or the idiom, whether the vase hits the stone or the stone hits the vase the results are the same. So, stay awake in your faith gives you better odds (Pascal) preparing in life to meet your maker?
And perhaps concurring with Pascal may lead you to understand 15:12, one step at a time?
Regards and good will blogging.
An added thought is the comment I made about the wisdom of fear of the Lord on Micheal’s post. Or whatever works to motivate religion in life is okay with me.
Regards and good will blogging.