I have heard countless stories on the news about parents who abused and then killed their children, about terrorists beheading their victims, and countless other reports of violent atrocities committed against humanity and animals. The perpetrators of these acts have often ceased caring about their victims and much of all humanity, as well, except themselves. Some of them probably think they can a.) Get away with their crimes or b.) Don’t care about what will happen to them in this life, or sadly, the next. My pastor has warned our congregation repeatedly about the consequences of apathy in life and about other people.
Here are some of the dangers that we can put ourselves and others in when we get apathetic:
When we are apathetic towards our lives in general, this is generally a sign of major depression. I have experienced this somewhat in my life during the depths of my depressive episodes. Not only did I have few, if any, close friends, but I also became bored with almost any activity that I tried to do. I was just “surviving,” so to speak. There really wasn’t any joy or purpose in my life at the time. When people get to the point in their lives where they “just don’t’ care about anything,” they need a serious mental health intervention. Even though most people do care about their lives with their loved ones, I know of many people that hate their jobs so much, they just do the bare minimum, with no passion or joy in what they are doing whatsoever, and they wonder why they feel so miserable. When people are apathetic of an important aspect of their lives, or even all of their lives, their performance in that area often suffers greatly. They no longer feel motivated to do their best or come up with new ideas. Sometimes it is because they do not receive the needed encouragement to get motivated, as is in many cases, with people hating their jobs. Another reason they may fall into apathy is that feel that nothing they do is good enough, so they stop trying. Since apathy can be a symptom of depression, if one gets apathetic for too long, he or she can quickly become suicidal and/or self-destructive in other ways.
When we are apathetic towards our loved ones and/or most of humanity in general, this leads to destruction. In fact, as I have heard and witnessed myself, when a person stops caring about others, he or she becomes a monster. I don’t mean the cartoonish ones on television, but the evil, angry menace that is embodied in all true monsters. Apathy towards humanity not only devalues them, but also leads to destruction. In fact, most, if not all, murderers have some degree of apathy towards their victims. Apathy towards humanity and/or our loved ones not only destroys others’ lives, but also our own. When one realizes the destruction their apathy has caused, it is often to relate to rectify their actions. Apathy comes from a heart of selfishness and narcissism. Apathy towards humanity isolates people because it cuts off our ability to have compassion towards another’s pain or misfortune, and this leads to them not wanting to relate to us anymore.
So, how do we avoid being apathetic about life or about other people? How do we avoid this destruction in our lives? Reversing apathy takes hard work, but it is well worth the cost. One thing we can do if we struggle with apathy is to learn how to love others again. One way to do that is to learn how to have compassion for others. We can volunteer in our community or help out where needed at our jobs, not just for our benefit, but for others’ benefit as well. We can also learn about the trials and the struggles our loved ones are facing and know how that will affect our own lives, as it should. Then, we should actively try to encourage and support them in any way we can. Intentionally invest in other people’s lives and try to influence their lives for the better, not the worse. Another way to love others is to be willing to make any necessary sacrifices for them and/or be willing to give of our time, talents, and resources to help them. Learning how to be generous and sacrificial of ourselves is not only a great way to combat apathy, but also a wonderful way to have joy and be grateful for what we already have!
Even if it seems that many people in society are becoming increasingly apathetic about life and/or other people, we can upset the applecart, so to speak, by having a motivation to better the lives of others and our own as well. Apathy is a slippery, steep slope to destruction of all kinds. Apathy can take a while to recover from, but with hard work, renewed passion, and perseverance, it can be done. Let’s live our lives with passion today, because as my pastor has often said, “Time is life.”