So many people in our society are afflicted by the dreaded curse known as apathy. This is especially true when it comes to political involvement. Does this mean our society is full of a bunch of lazy people? That we just don’t care about the issues and ideas that drive the world forward? While it might be easy to just write of all the apathetic people as too lazy to engage, it is likely there are more complex motivations at play.
“Is it ignorance or apathy? Hey, I don’t know and I don’t care.” -Warren Buffet
While humorous, this quote also gets to the heart of a possible reason for all the apathy- ignorance. Not understanding something makes it difficult to care. This would explain why there is so much indifference among the young. As the old adage goes, with age comes wisdom. The tendency of many young people to show a great deal of disinterest regarding many of the important issues of our time only serves to support this idea. However, it may be a bit elitist, and narrow minded to simply blame all of the world’s apathy on a lack of knowledge. If we can’t use ignorance as an excuse, perhaps we need to delve deeper as to why so many people lack the knowledge needed to comprehend the bigger topics of our day.
Perhaps, the problem lies in the multitude of things in life vying for our attention. There are seemingly limitless demands on our finite time. Thus, we are forced to prioritize our activities in order of personal importance. For some, basic survival takes up the majority of our lives. For others, it is caring for our loved ones that we dedicate our energy to. Whatever it is one chooses to focus on, it leaves little time to gain the information need to truly engage and care.
What then explains the apathy of the thoroughly educated (e.g. college students)? If ignorance and priority is not to blame, then why do we still find a detachment among many of this generation? I would argue past disappointment and frustration may be the culprit. Disappointment caused by constant misinformation. Misinformation spread by leaders and politicians who have lost sight on why they ran for office in the first place. Now there is some clarity on the reasons for our apathetic society, what then is the solution?
No matter what the reason for apathy, it is up to our leaders to inspire us to care. This means doing what is right, even when it is difficult. Maintaining a level of integrity and honesty many of our elected officials have long forgotten. Finally, it means fighting the misinformation and lies so often dominating the rhetoric of our political process. By standing strong on our principals, not only will it help alleviate many of the reasons we find it difficult to care, but it will ensure the world will continue to move forward no matter how much apathy stands in its way.
A true leader overcomes the corruption caused by apathy.