The Modern Factors of Apathy
Updated: Oct 18
Nowadays, apathy has theoretically become a more serious issue than it was before the industrial and digital revolutions. In order to better understand the potential increase in apathy in our modern times, it is possible to come up with a few assumptions as causes for such a wide, contemporary phenomenon we call apathy:
Today, with infinite amounts of information and intellectual property (photos, videos, books, and so forth), the world has come to a state where there is more emphasis on the maximum amount of products rather than their quality. You could be writing a piece that you may find as original and fine, but in this reality of constant information, it is hard to create unique things.
This is why many movies, for example, are nothing more than varied repetitions of former movies in their basic ideas. Think of how many romantic comedies or action films are out there. Can they be distinguished as much? Even if a piece of intellectuality is to be original, what are the odds of it becoming a masterpiece in the eyes of the general population, which spends its time on lesser quality pieces in large quantities?
People may reflect less on the content they consume, including themselves, and choose to move on to the next piece of content. That is especially true when it comes to reels. Why focus on what you saw or read when you can just move on to the next reel/piece of content? After all, we are not encouraged to do nothing.
Today, productivity is based not on the quality of each of your pieces, but on your overall amount of doing. It is as if we measure our self-worth by the amount of our deeds, thus making us apathetic towards things that may appear finer but are overshadowed by the sea of worthless junk our industries produce.
At Philosocom I wish to rectify that notion, and improve the quality of the many articles I have here, so there will be both high-quality and high-quantity articles. That way, I want to make people feel less apathetic towards philosophy, and make them understand, as a result, its wonderful relevance to humanity.
Another factor that may contribute to apathy is overstimulation. In the past, people were exposed to a much smaller amount of information and stimuli on a daily basis. This meant that they had more time to process and reflect on each piece of information. Today, however, we are constantly bombarded with information from all sides. This can lead to information overload, which can make it difficult to focus and care about anything.
Apathy can also be regarded as a coping mechanism from said information overload; A protective barrier to make us be less emotionally stimulated by whatever things and beings we experience.
The "Rubinshteinic Butcher" knows this more than well.
Apathy may also be a result of increased individualism. In the past, people were more likely to identify with their communities and families. This gave them a sense of belonging and purpose. Today, however, people are more likely to identify as individuals. This can lead to a sense of isolation and detachment, which can make it difficult to care about anything as much beyond oneself.
Hyper individualism may disregard external society as a whole in favor of the self. Hedonism reinforces it by prioritizing our desire for fun and comfort over the concern of other human beings' distress.
Today, not even your closest neighbors may know you or care about you unless you are making noise or affecting their lives in some other way. I have lived in the same neighborhood for 13 years and I barely knew anyone here, let alone my neighbors. I don't have friends here beyond my family (I don't have physical friends at all, but that's another story), and my neighbors didn't like me at all dislike me because I used to play the piano so much in the past.
One time I interacted with my former neighbors was when they were too noisy while I was having an online lesson, and I went to complain while the lesson was still going on. After the neighbor finally agreed to "think about it," they left me in the dark of their building, and I had to go down the building (it had no elevator) while I risked falling down the stairs. I didn't know how to light the corridor, and the neighbor didn't bother to help me. After some time, I greeted them, but they immediately turned their heads aside as if I was slapping them. I felt alienated.
Even our closest neighbors barely care for us, and nobody cares about you when you are walking in the metropolis. I had a friend once who ignored me on a daily basis at work just because I used to be in love with them, and so they ignored me for several years because of that honest feeling. I came to the conclusion that there is no one you can truly trust and rely upon but yourself, regardless of how favorable you are.
The urbanization of the globe has made each individual, (unless they are a celebrity), a tiny, insignificant passer-by who lacks general importance. In this age, we do not need to care for others to survive - all we need is a profitable job and an apartment of our own, and we may be set for life.
Social interactions today, I dare to argue, are unnecessary as means for survival, and therefore loneliness, AKA negative solitude, is a common thing in our daily lives, along with depression and a sense of misunderstanding. I myself rarely feel lonely, but it was only because I got used to being alone, and started liking it.
Egoism may not always be a bad thing. If you do not need certain people to help you function or achieve a certain goal, why would you care about them or bother to interact with them continuously? After all, you need to care for yourself as well and not too much of a people pleaser.
I honestly think that this world can be a better one if we would adjust to this constant state of alienation and social isolation, and start looking after one's own rather than on others who can do that, too. That is the basis of being a one man-army, which could be quite practical.
Too Many Faces
Some argue that humans can know other people distinctively to a certain limit. There are just so many people in the world and, I assume, that lack of balance between population and resources on Earth could be a threat to humanity, caused by itself (this is one of the reasons I don't want kids).
Although it may be an ignored fact in the media, my country (Israel), a very small one in terms of territory in comparison to other nations, suffers from extreme overpopulation. In here, at least, There are more humans being born than residencies being built. External points of view towards my country's population may claim that we are a very warm, welcoming culture. However, for someone who has only left Israel once in his life, I can tell that the general population rarely cares about you specifically, as there are more than 8 million citizens here.
In comparison, Finland, which is much larger than Israel, has just 5.5 million citizens. If you are not rich, extroverted, outgoing, humorous, attractive, or hold certain views regarding politics, culture, religion, and sports, you are likely to be asked the common question: "Who do you think you are?", and be left aside along with the rest of what-their-faces. In general, unless you prove your worth as irreplaceable, you can easily be deemed expendable.
I would assume this is somewhat true in the USA and other Western countries, although I have no idea or evidence based on personal experience besides the British, who actually seem to care about you at least on the polite level.
Far are the days where having friends and forming deep relationships were a necessity for material survival, which is the most basic and important form of survival in my opinion. Friends may be helpful for mental survival as well, but when you're stronger in spirit, you might not need friends as much.
What I can say furthermore about Israel is that there is a lot of hatred towards each other, not only internationally but also inside the various sects of the population, leaving you offended or even put to shame on social media if you do not meet a certain sect's expectations. I am not hating my country; I am telling my alienated, lifelong perspective as an Israeli underground thinker. The warmth and affection described by visitors, never applied to me, a native. They are only so when they feel like it.
Common Unfortunate Issues
On Quora, when I look for questions to answer, I encounter a lot of questions with a common theme: the will to commit suicide. I just don't know how to uniquely give my own efficient answer, AKA answers that are original and were not told before. However, I just can't come with such answers which may lift someone from suicidal thoughts effectively, because I'm a philosopher and not a psychologist (I do have a subcategory on suicide on Philosocom). Thus, with a small grief, I skip over them, not knowing what to reply anymore to such a common issue in our globalized society.
I read once that there are around 160k humans dying every day (don't worry, I also read that around 385k humans are born every day). Just watch the news on a constant basis, and think how many humans are being killed or dying across the globe for days after days. The problem in all of this is not the fact that people die every day, because that can be natural—the problem is that we get so used to murder, car accidents, and successful suicide attempts that many of us do not care about the unfortunate victims and their suffocating.
Unless you're a notable public figure, It's usually that only those who knew about the person, cared for their death. And even then some people might not care if their siblings, or their own parents, died.
(Logic in general can make people careless, because death is inevitable part of life, for instance. It can even make you apathetic in times of war, to the point of being somewhat relaxed at the very least).
Our ability to adjust to repetitive situations made us, arguably, stronger to endure receiving such unfortunate information, and therefore more emotionally immune to them. "It is not like the fact that he killed himself is new," may say a random person. "People attempt suicide every day, and it's not like I can do anything about it, right?"
See how normalization dehumanizes our thinking -- seeing things as "it's just the way things are!"
Let us face the cold and harsh truth, my audience: the media and culture made us apathetic and careless. I argue that today there is more blood and gore on TV and other digital media than there ever used to be; very young children can easily find inappropriate content on the internet, whether intentionally or not; a very large portion of video games, which are highly consumed, are based on combat and war; sex is not a taboo anymore, but a subject widely discussed in the public, and illegal drugs are traded worldwide, being one of the most profitable business industries today.
I dare to claim that our globalized society is immoral and corrupt because of the state of the media in which we constantly consume. Why should we care anymore if we watch or read about someone's head being shot and exploded? Why should we not consume porn if it gives us joy? Why should we stop doing drugs if drugs are socially acceptable in some of our peer groups? Why should we stop cursing if cursing became the norm?
When we view such gore and indulge in unhealthy activities which may threaten our survivability, many of us simply couldn't care less. The general aggressiveness is so normalized that some of us view it as things to be taken for granted. Think of the horrors in Yemen right now due to the civil war, the poverty, the Ebola outbreak in Africa (which ended), and the ethnic cleansings that are going on to the lesser peoples of the globe —a common thought may be: "Why should I care? They are some third world country no one cares about." This habit of unfortunateness made us blunt, arguably immune, and apathetic.
I shall offer no solutions to this phenomenon, because I believe it is not a collective situation but an individual-related one. I would only offer a clue to a possible solution, which I also gave in an article about how I personally became successful: Make people care. Convince them that certain two pennies deserve to be given. Should you fail to convince, most chances people won't care about certain problems, even if they are your own.
Apathy may affect us as a whole, but only we as individuals choose how to react and respond with the information we receive, regardless of this information's nature. It is not necessarily a collective emotion but an individual one. Also a natural one, either way.
I know I cannot control other's points of view, nor their emotional attitudes towards things, and thus I am myself quite apathetic to the general apathy. Whether I manage to convince or not, I know can only offer information, wisdom, and my thoughts. The he decision of what you should do with it is beyond my reach.
My relevance comes from my readership. End of story. If I won't convince you to care about something specific, I might convince another reader. The choice to care will forever remain yours.