The Insidious Nature of Apathy

Posted: April 16, 2015 in Our Broken World

Many people mistakenly state that the opposite of love is hate, but for me the true opposite of love is apathy. Sitting here in a Starbucks, watching people walk out with their $5 lattes while a homeless man tries to get on with his day – and no one cares. They stare, they laugh, they shake their heads in sadness, but not one person has stopped to say hello, or offer him food, or do anything at all of a loving nature – not in the past 20 minutes that I’ve been watching him for. He is not bothering anyone – he is just quietly going through the motions. And we are – apathetic – to his situation.

Why is it that we look at homelessness as someone else’s problem and not our own personal problem? Even if you don’t agree with the truth that we are all one being; temporary participants in a single combinatory field of consciousness, energy, and matter; can we at least acknowledge that all human beings are worthy of love and kindness? Apparently we cannot – and this is the insidious nature of apathy in action, or apathetic inaction if you will. Not only do we continue to ignore the homeless man on the street, but we also revel in supporting the system that put him there in the first place.

You could look at this man and say hollow things like ‘but he could just get a job and contribute to society’ or ‘I don’t want those no good bums on the dole’. ‘If he’d just pull himself up by his bootstraps, take advantage of all the programs, and get himself to work’. But you only say such things when you are so completely disconnected from the realities of the world that you have no idea what it is that you are talking about. The problem isn’t the homeless man – it’s you allowing homelessness to exist! It’s you participating in and contributing to a system that destroys lives and crushes spirits.

You might blame the homeless, you might blame the politicians, or you might blame the corporations. But the homeless are not really in a position to do anything. The politicians are supposed to represent the collective will of the people and market forces are supposed to govern the power of corporations. We all know this isn’t how it works though. Corporations use psychological warfare to influence our sense of wants and needs, they send lobbyists to Washington in order to control the politicians, and they take and take and take. But you my friend are a willing victim – and that’s the problem!

So long as you remain attached to your $5 latte and every other sense of comfort and convenience that you are buying into on a daily basis, you will remain trapped on the hamster wheel of giving your power away. This is why I advocate for the spiritual awakening of society as the only real way to solve the many problems we have in the world today. Until you realize the truth that Jesus tried to teach you, that the Buddha tried to teach you, that all truly enlightened spiritual teachers throughout the course of history have ever tried to teach you, we will continue to experience the same broken results.

Most people prefer to pick apart scriptures and use the bits and pieces that just reinforce their own belief systems. Like those people who say ‘God wants us to be prosperous’ and use it as their justification for getting rich – ignoring that the line before and the line below such a statement make it clear that the context was not monetary. They also ignore statements like when Jesus said that it would be easier to thread a camel through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. This is right in line with what the Buddha taught as well.

What all enlightened beings have taught is quite simple though. We are all one – one with each other and one with God. If you don’t agree then you simply haven’t done the work that really needs to be done. You are clinging to your own interpretation of truths that you cannot even begin to comprehend in your current conditioned mental state. If you do agree and remain apathetic, then you are falling short of God’s hope for you. Jesus and the Buddha aren’t there for us to worship, but rather – they are the examples that should inspire our daily life decisions. Actually do what they taught!

When we blame the government and corporations for our problems we fail to recognize that they can only take the power we give them. If you’ve chosen to submit to them rather than to the will of God, then you will indeed suffer – ohhh sure you’ll enjoy your minor luxuries. You’ll have the illusion of freedom and safety, the perceived comforts of warmth and satisfaction; but you know deep down that when you turn on the news, what you see pains you. You just aren’t willing to admit that you are the one responsible for the doing the damage. Until you do, nothing will change.

And that’s the insidious nature of apathy – apathetic inaction.

  1. Bob says:

    One time, back in the late 1980s or maybe the early 90s, I was hitch hiking back to Wyoming. I think I was coming from Seattle, but it might have been Oregon. I was on Interstate 84, going through Idaho. One ride dropped me off at a junction where I could just see the tops of the trees along the Snake river, several miles to the south, and I could see the Bitterroot Range of mountain far to the north. There was the freeway and a little two lane road going north and south. Other than that, it was sage brush as far as I could see in every direction.

    I slept under the bridge and the next morning I woke and walk down a stuck out my thumb. I was thinking about how I got there and that it had to be my fault. Most people had jobs and lived in houses and I was out here living under a bridge. I couldn’t blame society.

    I wished that there was some kind of organization that could restore people like me to society. Soon after that I got into hard core inner city Narcotics Anonymous in Denver and kicked my drug addiction. I started studying every detail of human nature and addiction and recovery and every religion and all kinds of spirituality.

    I can remember one time I was reading a Star Wars paperback in a Twelve Step recovery clubhouse. I woman came up and asked me what I was doing. I said learning how to use the Force. Another time I was reading Linus Pauling’s, General Chemistry. Several women from one of the colleges at Auraria Campus in downtown Denver asked me if about a chemistry question in their work book. The complicated chemical formula took up one whole page. It took me about ten seconds to notice the imbalance and point it out. They just left without saying another word.

    Anyway, I thought I would be a teacher. Knowing that I have no credentials and a bad reputation at work and bad credit, I figured I would have to develop some kind of desk top publishing business. Well, the Linux and the Internet both came out about that time and my idea has evolving along with those circumstances.

    Probably the most important thing I learned in my recovery is the freedom is the antidote to addiction. I have spent a lot of time investigating the nature of free agency, liberty and freedom. One of the most important and obvious features of freedom is personal responsibility. Taking responsibility for yourself and teaching/ allowing/ expecting other people to do the same thing is the first step to recovery from any addiction.

    Now, freedom is lawful, not lawless (Hegel, 1770-1831). The difference between wild and free is the rule of law. The difference between and animal or even a barbarian and a civilized human being is the rule of law. Submission to the rule of law is the very essence of freedom.

    I hope and believe that Baha’u’llah is Who He says He is, the Source of the divine rule of law, for this time and this planet. Natural law is very much like language. It is not invented. It is not man made. It evolves organically, partly as a result of our interactions with each other and our natural habitat. Civilization is a result of that divine education revealed by the Manifestation of God. Our constitutional rule of law is an imperfect reflection of the divine rule of law, just like our personalities are imperfect reflections of the names and attributes of God.

    I could go on and on and on. Peace be with you.


    • Anonymous says:

      Religion is not the answer!

      Spirituality is about the human experience of discovering our own personal connection to God. There is no mediator to this process, only guides that can help – people who have moved through the eye themselves. Any being who says ‘worship me’ has already failed himself and all of mankind. Religions are based on worship – on dogmas and systems of belief – on rules established my men who wished to be seen as divine.

      I will argue to the ends of the earth with any being who thinks that someone else can do their work for them, or can give them serenity. We MUST do the work within ourselves, looking inward instead of outward and upward to find the truth of God within ourselves. If you believe that Bahaullah is this ‘manifestation’ and Buddha was also a manifestation, I suggest you read the words of the Buddha and consider his philosophy of personal introspection, experiential learning, and training the mind.

      A true teacher will tell you to love and trust yourself, to honor your own journey, to find the truth within yourself. Only false teachers elevate themselves above the teachings that elevate all of humanity. I am sorry – believe as you will, but your beliefs will never outweigh the experiential truth that I have found within myself through the personal realization of enlightenment. Knowing that it is nothing and everything – and that God has called me to lend aid to awakening this world to the truth!

      May the love of God and all beings be with you now and always… And may you discover this love within yourself. Amen.


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