Today Producer Paul and I plan to have a conversation on what seems a deep and yet pervasive onslaught of apathy both culturally and individually we are experiencing today.
Apathy is a strange bird. Psychology Today calls it the “emotionless emotion.” Jimmy Buffet, said it best, “I’ve been wondering if what I am feeling is ignorance or apathy. Hell, I don’t know and I don’t care.”
In Psychology Today I read, “Paradoxically, what makes the feeling of apathy unique is that it’s essentially the feeling of not feeling. And doubtless, it’s something that at some point in your existence you’ve encountered. We all have. For whenever you feel that something vital is missing from your life, yet lack the motivation or drive to pursue it, you’re afflicted with this curiously “emotionless” emotion.”
So at the heart of apathy, is a feeling that “something vital is missing from your life.” You feel you have nothing worthy of your effort to pursue. There is no anticipation of hope, and without hope life becomes almost pointless. In Victor Frankl’s brilliant book documenting his psychological state in a Nazi concentration camp he clearly stared that it was only HOPE that kept people going.
All of the drivers of meaning and fulfillment have dissipated to a point of a profound disinterest in all that motivated you in the past: a cause, your job, your most meaningful relationships, your worthiness in pursuing something essential in your own estimation.
In my observation apathy occurs in two conditions: First is what Paul is most intrigued with and that is an a culture of apathy regarding politics and religion and the second is what I am calling personal apathy and that is when you get a case of the “I just don’t give a shit.”
Let’s deal with the second one first.
Personally, for a few weeks now, I have been in the doldrums of a bit of apathy. Activities that once inspired me I find rather unexciting. As a very passionate person this feeing is rather disconcerting. “I just don’t care about what I desire to care about: I no longer paint, I spend less time writing, and even my volunteer commitments have suffered. I still do what is required but I am not currently satisfied by it.
My feeling is that I just want to quit everything. But, obviously, that is not the solution because somewhere deep inside I still love all these activities.
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