3 minute read

Abandon and Apathy, II

If you’re interested in reading part 1.

What about apathy?

What is it to me?

Apathy is defined as a lack of enthusiasm, care, or concern. In colloquial terms, apathy is the numbing of our senses and feelings in the face of reality. In modern times, apathy is extremely common in the general populace. One only has to look at voter turnout in most north american cities to see the phenomenon of apathy in practice. People don’t care anymore. They have been let down or misguided by their peers, role models, and support systems.

Honestly, it is much easier not to care. Why not let the world burn down if it doesn’t affect your day-to-day? Many of my contemporaries live out this approach. It keeps the world black and white and much simpler to make decisions.

What is it to me?

However, apathy is misguided. Yes, it is most certainly harder to care. But living life looking out for number #1 is not living. No man is an island, right?

Personal history

In my teenage years, I thought I had it all figured out. Stop caring and you can never get hurt. Decision-making is trivial. Yes/No. I laughed inwardly when I saw others expressing deep emotions and struggles about their place in life. In my mind, I wondered why it all mattered. Nothing mattered. I went away to university and I remember a particular winter afternoon.

It was quiet. I looked out my window and saw the birds alight from the trees. It was a fairly barren landscape with a few tracks of footsteps leading away from the dormitories; probably some early-risers headed off to the library to keen. The hum of the space heater clacked on in the background. I pondered to myself: what’s the point? Off to another day of trudging through education that I have no care for, to work for people I don’t like, and to think that all I had was this view outside my window. Was I burning through the time I had left over this? And what was this? At this point, I had slid to the floor with my back nudged up against a wardrobe. Given the cramped living quarters for students, this was about expected. And as I sat there stewing and spiralling in the futility of it all, I realized I couldn’t get out of it. Life sucked and there was nothing I could do about it. I had two choices, true to my simple decision-making: end my life or find something worth living for.

A solution: Abandon as a cure to Apathy

What is worth living for? My recent study of philosophy has helped me to reflect on this question more. Is it wealth, power, fortune, polyamorous relationships? Suffice it to say, the early philosophers debunked all of the above and I’ll give you the long and short of it: a life of virtue. I’ll leave the discussion of virtue for another day.

Let’s say you decided to choose to live. Similar to a life of apathy, we understand that there are certain things beyond our control. We have our locus of control and everything beyond that is outside of our choices. It’s not something we can do, but we can leave it to abandon. Similar to apathy, but we care. We care deeply about what surrounds us, but we also entrust the results to fate and to God. It is a hopeful attitude, dissimilar to apathy in its very ethos.

Revelation! Divine abandon can be seen as the holy form of apathy.

Sorry for the all-over-the-place. Write to you soon.