I was once in a class where the lecturer asked for the meaning of Apathy. No one answered, so I put my hand up and said “Don’t know, don’t care”. Which was funny and also ironic at the same time.
But now, as I’ve grown older (and more mature, I hope!), I see that my flippant reply may have been rooted in ignorance and naivety.
Why? Because Apathy is the greatest weapon of mass destruction the world has ever seen. Never mind wars or crime – what you don’t stop, will continue. What you ignore, you condone. What you don’t speak out against, you approve of by default.
Jane Goodall stood up for primates. And it’s thanks to people like her (and Dian Fossey) that wild primates and gorillas even have a future today. Someone has to care, otherwise these creatures will go the way of the black rhinoceros.
So, take up a cause or a dozen. Fight against injustice, cruelty, greed, oppression, discrimination. There are hundreds of just causes out there. You just have to care.
There is really no excuse for anyone to say “But I’m just one person, how can I make a difference?” Because you Can. Look at the image above…what do you think will happen if you, and all the other “little people” refuse to listen to the voice of insanity, and just leave?
Some may consider the works and words of Dr Seuss childish and aimed for an audience under the age of 6. But in reality, just like the stories of Winnie The Pooh by A.A Milne and my favourite, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, there are many, many nuggets and gems of good Life’s Lessons to be learnt from them.
The sad thing is, most of society today have been conditioned by TV advertisements, billboards, the internet, radio etc to do only one thing – BUY. Consumerism is the biggest occupation or pre-occupation on earth, subscribed to by 90% of the population. We go about our daily lives purchasing things that we hope will make our lives more fulfilled…not realising that material things will never fill an emotional void. We ignore what goes on behind the scenes – slave labour, child labour, sweatshop scenarios, etc etc etc, or, if we are not ignorant of that, we convince ourselves that all that suffering is for the greater good.
You wouldn’t buy a Blood Diamond, would you, where innocent lives are killed for the sake of increasing the wealth of a few uber-powerful families? So why do you queue up around the block to buy the latest Apple iPhone?
Yes, the gleaming skyscrapers of Dubai are wonderful feats of architecture. I’ve always wanted to visit that city for its buildings. But recently I found out, to my utter horror, exactly how these wonders of the modern world are constructed. Slave labour. That’s how. Here’s Wikipedia’s entry about it, there are dozens more articles about this atrocity.
Imagine thousands of foreign workers from poor countries enticed by false promises of good pay, job prospects, clean housing…and when they arrive, their passports are taken away from them, they are forced to live 12 to a room in hovels, forced to drink unclean, salty water, forced to work up to 16 hours a day in the searing desert heat, for mere cents.
And up above, in the dreaming spires, a few thousand feet closer to heaven, the rich and beautiful flaunt their wares and eat, drink and make merry. Without a care about the plight of the people who built the very floor they stand on.
Ask yourself – in a city that is so full of wealth, where millionnaires abound, why must their buildings be based on the sweat and blood of poorly paid servants? Can these millionnaire Sheikhs not afford to pay their workers more for their labour? Oh, don’t tell me they’re too poor to afford a few dollars more per hour per worker, too poor to provide clean and hygienic housing, too poor to provide desalinated drinking water?
And what are we doing about this? People say these rich Arab countries are too powerful to go up against. So must we just accept the bullying that goes on? Or must we speak out and continue to speak out, until our collective voices are too many to be stilled? I’m speaking now.
Another great quote by a great man. Ignorance is not bliss. Neither is Apathy. If you want to see a change, you must first BE the change. Even if you think your voice is too small to be heard, speak out anyway. Someone will hear you. Someone will agree with you. Someone will show you the way.
And we stand by and watch wars being fabricated by governments, in the pursuit of material gains (oil, diamonds, minerals), and swallow the false background stories they dish out to us?? Why??
It happened in Plato’s time. It happened in our grandparents’ time, our parents’ time. It is happening to us now. And it will continue to happen unless we stop it.
This quote is by far the most powerful I’ve come across. And it is by the most hated man on earth. But it is 100% accurate. We are like the proverbial frogs in a pot of slowly boiling water. If we don’t take action now, it may be too late. And sadly, for a lot of people, Apathy has already won.
Remember, what you allow, continues.
I will leave you with this quote I found on Google, that made me smile and at the same time acknowledge its double-edged sharpness.