Society has had its share of issues since time immemorial. The forties has seen the world nearly tear itself apart amidst a second war. The sixties through eighties have seen everything from the civil rights movement to near nuclear annihilation. The new millennium, on the other hand has been bombarded, both figuratively and literally with the war on terror, the subprime mortgage crisis, and more. All of these issues take on different forms, whether geopolitical, economic, environmental, or anything else. Despite this, it is possible to root out a cause – apathy, the single biggest problem of our generation.
Apathy, simply put, is the lack of empathy for one another. It can be summarized by the line “why should I care?” At this point, I would assume that you may argue, “if people are apathetic, then how come more and more people are vocal on social media, especially regarding politics?” In this case, empathy was used selfishly. Empathy, in this case, is often only used on the side which we would support. Divisions stem from this selfish empathy due to a lack of which for the other side. Furthermore, we tend to seclude ourselves from others’ opinions hence, leading to even more division.
The same issue abounds when it comes to social justice. The ideology that a man has the right to rape a woman because of how she dresses is still trumpeted even within families. This victim blaming further deepens their wounds; have they not suffered enough? Misogyny stems from this apathy for the rights of the female gender.
Another issue on which apathy is rampant is on climate change. The world has seen sweeping environmental deregulation; all in the push to squeeze out every ounce of profit available from mother earth. Where is the empathy here? Only the accountants of the oil and mining companies know.
Knowing the root of our problems, how are we to address it? Unfortunately, apathy is much harder to solve than we may think. Whether we like it or not, certain aspects of apathy are part of human nature. Prioritizing our own needs has been a foundation for our survival as a species. Furthermore, apathy is also deeply rooted within culture. Eastern culture, once renowned for their community-centric practices, have now fallen victim to the influence of apathy. Hope is not completely lost, however. Every single change adds up and I believe that a simple change of perspective for one, can be an impetus to change seven billion lives. Voicing out through social media is good; however, taking action in the real world is exponentially better. How pathetic of a species are we, if we care not for our community.