10 votes

On apathy

Hello again!

There have been quite a few posts on Tildes as of late that have rubbed my opinionated brain the wrong way. The purpose here is to have a conversation about apathy in general, less focused on political or social issues and more on why we've seen an increase in apathy. This isn't a public shaming or an attack on anybody in particular. Apathy is at an all time high universally, and we've had several conversations here on Tildes where it has come into play in front of important issues.

...Everything's fucked. We are totally and utterly done for. 2020 is the worst year ever, I want a time machine. We are all going to die. Why does any of this even matter?...

I think we've all seen some variant of that sentiment this year, especially on the internet. It has been rough: COVID-19, the rise of fascism, climate change and ongoing political and social strife around the world. It is quite the cluster! It has been almost impossible for most of us to not look away at some point or another: turn off the news, disconnect the internet, run off into the woods (that's me!), self-isolate (thanks 'rona!) This is all entirely understandable. It's perfectly acceptable to do this for mental health reasons.

Let's be real though, 2020 has been rough, but let's get even more cynical, shall we? In the last two decades we've seen endless war and suffering in the middle east and elsewhere, we've noticed an ongoing rise in extremism all over the world, we saw the towers fall, we've witnessed school shooting after school shooting after school shooting after school shooting, we have (Yes, we. You may have voted for someone else, but we all have a hand in this democracy.) put a fascist in office (yeah, that was going on 4 years ago), we've seen so much horrible shit happen.

2020 isn't the outlier, I'd posit it's a combination of being the culmination of decades of growing strife and the sudden realization that total societal collapse (in a way) and the dangers that much of the 3rd and developing worlds have been facing for centuries can happen right here, right now, in our comftorable first world nations.

So looking at these factors, it is easy to see why apathy has grown, right? I mean, in the face of all of this adversity it'd be hard to not get discouraged. We see the powers at be spins their wheels and balk at solutions; train after train screaming down the tracks, the brake lever sitting right there, we scream and scream, "PULL THE FUCKING LEVER"... they don't. For whatever reason, be it money or self interest or whatever... they don't. So yeah, fuck this system! These people are supposed to do our bidding and they don't. These leaders can't even lead, so why the fuck do we even bother? How many times does this happen? How many people do we need to elect to fix our system? How many votes, protests, rallies, legislative sessions, meetings, politician offices, social media posts? How much effort have we put in, how much does it take? I'm so fucking tired. I give up. Why the fuck do we even bother?

We've all been in this place, and I think some of us don't want to think about it. We don't want to question why we feel this way, why political and social systems are broken, FUBAR. I'd suggest that some people feel a related guilt, they know they could be doing more but... insert excuse here. I'd venture to guess some people just honestly don't care, true apathy. Fueled by a lack of empathy that in my opinion comes from the numbness associated with witnessing atrocity after tragedy after trauma via the internet. This doesn't account for all of the apathetic populations in the world, but I think topically it covers a good portion.

So what do we do? I could rant all day about why we need to be on the streets. I could lecture about how a functioning society is a privilege and that it takes good willed effort to maintain. I could soapbox for the rest of my life about how a functioning democracy is not just a privilege but a requirement and that, it too, takes effort. That's not what I want to do though! Me or somebody else talking to people about apathy most often turns into talking at the apathetic masses. Talking at isn't a conversation and it almost never bears fruit.

So Tildes, I defer to you. What do you think we need to do to reform our society and political system to a functioning point? How do we stoke people to make the effort? As it is currently, that won't happen in America it seems. So what's the solution? We know why there is apathy, how do we beat it?

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