Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Apathy

So recently I’ve given a lot of thought to something a friend put on her blog. She was asked in one of them there “interviews” what she thought was the biggest problem in the world. Her response was apathy. Granted had she not have explained what that meant, I’d been hitting www.dictionary.com like I find myself OH too frequently visiting (I’ll admit, I’ve always sucked with big words…HA!)

So…apathy…well she said, “people do not care… about anything…Just get an opinion! If you are for something, be for it! And if you’re against something, be against it!” I’m not completely sure if this is what apathy means, but my interpretation of what she says is that people who are apathetic are people who don’t pick a side in issues, such as people who don’t claim to be against abortion or for abortion, people who don’t claim to be for guns or against them either. I suppose people who claim the middle ground, they don’t pick a side.

I could be wrong, and maybe that isn’t what apathy is but if it isn’t, then I’m not going to be talking about apathy in this blog anymore…I’m going to be talking about the middle ground syndrome…HA!

I’m a middle ground person a lot of the times. And I suppose I think it is this “apathy” business that she was talking about because many times I find myself when confronted with these topics saying to myself, “I don’t care….just whatever.” I suppose a lot of times I just figure if it doesn’t directly relate to me, then why get in others ways. Like for example…with gay marriage. I’m not gay, so it doesn’t directly affect me. So why should I get in the way of gay people and say I think they shouldn’t be able to get married if I don’t have an overall problem with the whole idea?

I don’t really pick sides in a lot of those “big controversial issues.” Gay marriage. Guns. Politics. Probably most of the other ones that I just can’t think of right now.

The one that I can tell you I do take a side in is abortion and that is just because I have a passion for life and so I’ve always been pro-life.

I think the idea that I’m a not so passionate, over-the-top, type of person who is normally laid-back keeps me from being so “into” issues.

About the only times where I’ve gotten frustrated with the idea that I’m a middle ground kind of person is when I’m faced with papers I have to write for school when I have to pick a side…HA! Even with those…I just argue one side and appear to claim it, whether I do or not in real life…HA!

I was thinking earlier while in the shower and I came to the idea that I’m not really the kind of person to go around saying something is “right” or “wrong.” I mean who am I to say what is right or wrong? Yes, there might be activities or behaviors that I would choose not to do, or that I don’t agree with, but even then, that doesn’t make it “wrong.”

In a sense I suppose to me, I view taking a side when looking at an issue is almost like saying the other side is “wrong.” And normally, that is what many of the passionate protestors for issues say, “It’s wrong to believe _____,” when they are referring to the other side.

Whatever the case, in addressing this individual’s earlier blog comments and her response to apathy…I think it all boils down to the idea that middle ground people just drive strongly passionate people insane…HA! As can be seen from her words, “Just get an opinion,” it is apparent that one not choosing a side is frustrating. Those who are totally passionate about something don’t understand how someone can not be so passionate about such an issue. In a sense it is kind of like trying to get a person who is a firm believer in God to try to view life as if there wasn’t a God, it’s hard for them to do and to understand how someone could not believe in a God or how someone could live a happy and hopeful life without God.

So, is apathy, or I suppose the real question is, is being in the middle on issues all that bad? Is that what one of the biggest problems in the world is?

7 comments:

julesforstenholm said...

Alright, well, I haven't read the blog you mentioned. If I did, I missed the apathy part, but here's my "comment". Appropriate, huh?

I agree with the blogger in one respect. Apathy is a terrible problem nowadays, especially in the western world! Many people just don't care. Moreover, we don't care that we don't care! What a conundrum! However, you can definitely care and not have to pick a side. So many current issues are very divisive, and I believe are intended to be so... I hate taking sides, but I still care very much.

As you mentioned, gun control... I don't know about that one. I feel very strongly about it, but can't decide. My boyfriend is a hunter and only keeps his guns for that purpose, but recently a 21 year-old kid in Lubbock was shot at point-blank range with an assault rifle, by accident. So, should responsible gun owners pay the price for those idiots that can't make a good decision if it's made for them?

I sit in the middle. As I do in politics. I'm an independent. I am not a Republican. I am not a Democrat. The two parties have become tools for our Congress to act ineffectively.

Anyway, Kim, I agree. You can be indecisive and not apathetic at the same time. I wish more people would actually take the time to think about issues before jumping to one side or the other. Good blog!

Jennifer said...

Apathy is a lack of interest or emotion, especially about big issues, or indifference. I think, though, that most people aren't apathetic. I think most people are either lazy or they feel powerless. Most people would care that thousands of people are dying of AIDS, malnutrition, and genocide in Africa. The question is, do they care enough to really do something about it? I care about it very much, but I don't know what I can to stop it. Then, when I stop to think about my attitude, I have to question if I REALLY care about it. I believe that if I really cared as much as I say I do, I would find something to do about it. When you really care about something, you get up, get moving, and do something about it.

I think that sitting in the middle of an issue is different than apathy. If you're in the middle, you agree with some things from both sides. And that's totally okay. At least you care enough to know that you aren't totally one way or the other.

Brandi Jo said...

Warning: the following has religious statements in it. They are personal opinions, but I do not wish to offend anyone.

I do think that apathy or however else you want to define "not taking a side" is a problem.

My response stems from a religious point of view, however. I am called to be salt and light to the world. I cant do that if I am apathetic (or complacent even) with the world and it's many problems. Do I know/have answers or positions on everything yet? NO. I am just beginning to realize the problem of not caring. I used to not care, I used to be pretty apathetic. "Whatever works" or "if that's what works for you" was my response. However, I have come to realize that an attitude like that can potentially lead to serious problems. People dont take the time to understand issues, evaluate them, and then take a stand on an issue. (i.e. in the religious aspect, Christians are not taking time to love God with their mind ... isnt there a commandment about that?)

I would agree with those who might say that some people might go too far with some issues and blow others out of proportion. I dont know that every single "issue" out there might need to be a battle. Gay marriage, abortion, genocide, etc...these I think deserve and demand positions. Once again, am I ready to defend a position on each one?.. No, not yet. Does it mean I dont care? No, just that I havent gotten myself informed about it to be intelligent in my decisions.

I think that people should have positions...especially Christians (of which I am aware might not necessarily include all who frequent this blog) ... :) It does include me however. And our (Christians) opinons should reflect that of our Father's.

Sorry for the lengthy comment...I suppose I am one of those "passionate" people (on certain things).

FeedingYourMind said...

I must say--I appreciate each and everyone of y'alls comments! And I can agree with many things each of you said, so thanks for saying them.

As for my opinion on all this...I think this blog successfully clarified that apathy is one of those big words that I don't know what it means...HA!

I guess we'll have to go with the idea that I mentioned that this blog is about being in the middle ground on issues and apparently not quite apathy.

Maybe now that I'm apparently informed that apathy means something else I can blog about that one another time! (I'll add it to my list of topics to blog about! HA!)

Let me make one comment per person though that commented:

Julie--yeah, I've always known you were one that hates to take sides! ;)

JWalk--I love how you put this part, "If you're in the middle, you agree with some things from both sides. And that's totally okay. At least you care enough to know that you aren't totally one way or the other." I must say I agree!

BJ--First, as for loving God with your mind...yes, I'm pretty sure that is in the good ole book somewhere, but I want to say that I think loving God with one's mind is one of the hardest parts to love Him with. I think the mind is one of the hardest parts of the body to get into "synch" sometimes. For some it comes easy, for others not as easily, but that doesn't mean one should give it all they got. Also, I just wanted to say I totally agree that people need to get themselves informed on issues before they run to take a side. It's so frustrating when people say they believe one thing, but you can tell they don't know a lot about it...HA!

Thanks again to everyone for their thoughts!

FeedingYourMind said...

Oh gosh...i just remembered another one of those really controversial issues that I tend to find myself in the middle on....

Assisted suicide...or in a nicer term euthanasia.

I think unless you found yourself in the situation where you were dying and in total pain, you really can't know what you'd do. So this makes this one a tough one to me....

julesforstenholm said...

I'm not going to sugar coat this and it will probably ruffle some feathers, but I have no problem with euthanasia. Sorry, I just don't. In fact, I believe that sometimes our technological advances keep people around longer than they should be kept. I am not talking about people who improve and are helped by these advances - technology can be a wonderful healer, but it can also interfere with many natural processes...

Funny story - when my mom taught health at Texas Tech, she asked some of her students their opinions about euthanasia, and a kid seriously asked her why she wanted to know their opinions about kids in Asia. It really happened! Wow! (What does that say about my current school???)

Katey said...

I appreciate the discussion on apathy. When I posted on that I was terribly frustrated with some people because I wanted to discuss something, and they had no opinion because they didn't care. My point with that post though was that we are in a time in our country and world where we have the luxury (if you want to call it that) of not having to make many important decision based on our beliefs. There have been times in our history when apathy was scorned. In WWII, everyone cared about the war, whether they had someone in it or not. (that is just an example, not meant to be a current political statement) The point is, I believe the apathy of our generation and our time is simply because we have gotten so lazy, and in some ways, unwilling to make a decision. If we think we can slide back and forth to suit however we feel at the moment, we can always be on the popular side or keep ourselves away from the controversy. That is what frustrates me. I would rather decide how I feel about an issue and then stick to my beliefs however unpopular they might be. I didn't mean to make it sound like choosing sides was the result I was after, because there are some things I am on "middle ground" about as well.