How to be Passionate in an Apathetic Society

Apathy is always something I have struggled to understand. Growing up with parents who took me to protests and demonstrations, I never knew it was an option to not care about the injustices & inequality that were so apparent in society. I saw the power of activism and the beauty and effectiveness of grassroots organizing. As they say: “Aint no power like the power of the people cause the power of the people don’t stop (say what)!” Of course, at the age of 20, it does become a challenge to have such a strong passion for activism in a society where people are often too distracted to speak out and take action. Don’t get me wrong – I feel no animosity or throw blame at anyone with that mindset. In fact, I too find it difficult to find the time and determination to try to fix all the wrongs I see in the world – especially since those wrongs seem so endless.

Yet, it is that conception of hopelessness and defeat that slowly takes the power out of the peoples’ hands. It seems we have forgotten that every major injustice in history was undone only through the will and passion of like-minded individuals who refused to sit by and “deal with it”. We see these monumental changes happen only when people choose to stand up to authority and speak out for the greater good (look at the civil rights & feminist movements).

In my vision of utopia, I see a world where all people in society have the ability and the desire to spend their time and resources helping each other with a clear goal to advance the quality of life for everyone (not just themselves). Though it’s sad to see, we have truly conformed to individualistic lifestyles where we attempt to find success only for ourselves. And this basic philosophy is so widely accepted, that our compassion and love often become clouded and are overcome with greed and hatred.

This is shown clearly through the lack of compassion for the environment, for animals, and even for other human beings. We see the suffering of the oppressed, the homeless, and the impoverished. We see the ruthless destruction of our environment. We accept the exploitation and commoditization of animals. We even stand by and watch as weapons, violence, and wars are used to resolve conflicts. Through all of this, we continuously allow ourselves to be desensitized to things that we know in our hearts are morally wrong. We are very possibly the most rational species on Earth, yet we have become so disconnected from our natural tendency to be compassionate, that we allow all of these injustices to go on while feeling little to no remorse.

This is where apathy attempts to take over and plague our minds, and it is up to us, as individuals and as a society, to go against the system and do the things we know are right and fight the things we know are wrong. As difficult or inconvenient as it may seem to make certain lifestyle changes (going green, going vegan, staying informed), we have a moral obligation to do so in order to shape a more peaceful, loving, compassionate, and happy society. I do not wish to push my beliefs or philosophies onto others, but with mindfulness, I will continue to live my life in the best way I can and attempt to be as selfless as possible through activism. I am far from perfect, so I can only try to better myself in order to lead by example and hopefully make the world a better place one small step at a time.

Jack Kerouac said it best: “Here’s to the crazy ones … the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

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