Synopsis : Apathy comes from the lack of interest in others due to social isolation and loneliness that go together. Often people find themselves apathetic because they cannot find someone like them so the mistrust of others who are different is the cause of apathy. It is curable if only people make an effort to get to know others who are not like them and find common grounds.



Source : Google photo

This is a topic that is universal in nature because it exists everywhere. I have seen it in educated people and in uneducated ones. While it is understandable in uneducated people who have other pressing problems to contend with, it is less so in educated people who you expect to be more aware of the issues facing the humanity be it food, shelter or discrimination based on skin color or ethnicity or religious biases.  There are many pressing issues that confront the humanity but apathy should be considered as an important one.

Now more than ever the world is connected in more ways than one so what happens in Africa, middle east or elsewhere has direct consequence in other parts of the world. Just the threat of closing the strait of Hormuz sends shivers around the world and the oil prices start rising that starts a chain reaction leading to higher food prices, higher transportation costs, higher cost of raw materials to build houses, roads, and hospitals, higher cost of everything that is tied to oil. This makes lives difficult for the ordinary man who sees his income decrease with the loss of the value of money and increase in inflation so to say that it does not matter what happens to the strait of Hormuz to me is as idiotic as it sounds.

But this apathy is widespread worldwide because people can not see beyond the well where they live just like the proverbial frog. I had earlier written about the old American woman who was more interested in the trending hair color than anything else but just ask any middle class Indian or Filipino what concerns him or her the most and you will get a reply like ” well  I missed the last episode of the soap opera or I have not eaten dry fish for a while.

But this apathy goes far beyond the food or hair color. A woman gets bullied in a bus or train while others just look the other way. A man lies in a pool of blood in an accident while some people try to steal his wallet and cell phone  and not at all interested in calling for help to save the poor fellow.This is apathy at its worst form when a fellow human being has absolutely no feelings for another being who is in dire need of help. Once we brought an American woman home to care for her after she was found in a dirty hospital in Haiti but the American missionaries asked us why we helped if we did not know her. This kind of apathy was more shocking than simply looking for a new hair color.

People forget that someday we may find ourselves in a similar situation and no one will come forward to help because they are apathetic and have no feelings, care or concern for another human being. The same people buy fur or ivory not caring how many majestic elephants are killed for it or buy clothes that are made using child slave labor. A small girl begs for food by the side of the road and people just pass by not caring if she is hungry, homeless or an orphan who needs love and compassion.

I have seen apathy in many forms worldwide and have always wondered what makes people so. The Canadian visitor in Mali carelessly asked the help of a gentleman for direction and kept him waiting not bothering to give him a ride back or an American who kept the driver of his car waiting the whole day and not asking if the poor fellow needed lunch or rest. May be this was outright racism in its naked form but it was hard for me to watch. I could not tolerate it and brought the poor driver to a good restaurant and paid for his meal.

So what makes people apathetic? Why people feel no empathy for their fellow human beings? What is it that makes people look the other way when they see someone in need of help? The padres say everyday that you are your brother’ s keeper but who listens? Filipinos  nod at each other carefully avoiding eye contact and say “piss be wit yu” at the end of the church service because it is a ritual and they do not mean what they say. Just like the Americans who say”how are you ” without meaning to know how are you .It is an automatic action just like the “piss be wit yu”.


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