In our culture, we are publicly celebrated for caring about issues, especially as they relate to others. If we are a “caring person”, then we are a “good person”.
On the flip side of the coin is the apathetic person. This person makes a point of not tying themselves to ideals that do not hold water for them. These people are quietly respected.
Over the course of my life, I have gradually become envious of the apathetic. Why should I have to display care to others while they walk about only engaging with what they want? If someone should slander them, they just shrug it off and go about their business. If there is a fight that they don’t want to engage in, they find something else to fill their time.
Eventually, I began to emulate this trait that I desired. I was taken aback by the response that I received.
When the apathetic blew off those of their community, people would merely shrug and say, “oh well, that’s just how he/she is”. When I emulated apathy, the same people became alarmed! They couldn’t understand how it was that I would dare to be apathetic to their cause or concern! How dare I!
This got me to realize that one cannot simply dabble with apathy. If you should respond with apathy, you will then be challenged to hold your ground.
It’s my theory that when you give your energy to someone else’s cause, over time their appreciation will wane and their dependence on your energy becomes EXPECTED. This is key. When someone appreciates your response, they are not angry when you don’t provide it. When someone expects your response, they are angry when you don’t provide it. I suppose it’s true that you can only truly appreciate what you cannot control.
Therefore, when I emulated apathy to those around me, I did not give them the energy and concern that they expected. I did not fulfill their expectations of me and thus I was chastised in their hopes of preventing a loss of my energy to them.
It is now my opinion that apathy is virtuous if done when you feel it is appropriate. It will suck for those around you, especially in the beginning. However, once they begin to no longer expect your energy to their concerns, they will begin to appreciate what you do give to them.
In our culture, this realization is almost counter-intuitive. We are taught from a young age that denying apathy was “doing the right thing”. My response is that if you aren’t true to who you actually are, then your help to others is not going to be 100% and the resulting bitterness will outweigh whatever kindness that you wish to bestow through being fake.
PS, this thought is still very new to my head has not fully been sorted through in my mind. Please argue with me where you see fit so that I can have other perspectives.