It is often said that enthusiasm is contagious but rarely is the opposite said to be true. Apathy is a state of boredom, dread, and retreat from positive moral value. People become apathetic when their good moods are squelched by authority figures. They also become apathetic when virtuous behavior in their social environment is punished. Why do good things when you get punished for them?
“We are doomed” is the mantra of the apathetic person. Why try? Others, who are weak, see this resignation and confuse it with maturity. A person who is removed from the troubles of the world through apathy appears to be undisturbed and therefore has self-mastery! This couldn’t be further from the truth. Yet, the novice looks at people who are troubled by affairs or struggling to work through them and this kind of excitation is too raw, too vulnerable, etc. People who struggle with actual real moral forces are too difficult to grasp! They are socially inaccessible. They are roundly maligned. Ooh, stay away!
Giving up on moral challenges requires a lot less energy from people. A person who gives in to apathy takes up a holding pattern in their personality. They give up on growth. They stagnate over time. Since they appear untroubled, they can use their personal gifts with less stress but always, they contract. Always there is a contraction in their artistry and their ability to articulate the truth. They may become profitable as the years add up, but business success is not to be confused with existential maturity. Some clever apathetics will lie and say that business growth is personal growth but virtue is more than just GDP. It’s something different, altogether. Apathetic people worship false gods and when the false gods are in their youth, the apathetics appear to know “the way”. An example of this is the allure of the early “atheists”, who were adorned with pomp and circumstance by the media machine. As time marches on and the clever tricks wear off, the real face beneath the mask is revealed. Apathy is the path to death. The nouveau atheists were killers. They were vampires.
Apathy is one of the great killers in this world. It leads people to lives of quiet desperation. It shrouds the formerly talented in a veil of self-referential egotism. It saps the spirit. It leaves people to wither and die on the vine. Misery loves company. The apathetic are forever looking for others to join their ranks. These often are people who offer “free advice”. These are critics, cynics, bureaucrats, controllers, and especially those who have access to the youth through the state. We all know a high school teacher or “administrator” who gave up on their dreams and now consume the energy of young people in a show of “tasteful custodianship”.
Beware the man who isn’t in the arena, the man who devises an alluring side show of puppets and grandiosity in order to fool others. Only the man in the arena, contending with forces greater than himself, is immune to apathy. Such people are rare.
The way out of apathy is heroism.