Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Passion vs. Apathy

What are you passionate about?

We were asked that at my young adults group recently by a visiting missionary. He got us to go around the circle and name some of our passionate about. I instantly had a few passions come to mind, but as we went around, surprisingly most people in our group couldn’t list one. At the time I didn’t really think much about it, but since then it has played on my mind a lot. This isn’t meant as a personal attack to those people in any way, but it just bought up an issue that I haven’t particularly noticed before then. Apathy…

According to Wikipedia (and we all know that it’s always correct!) apathy is defined as “a state of indifference, or the suppression of emotions such as concern, excitement, motivation and passion.” More and more people these days are becoming more apathetic towards most social and environmental issues. The more we hear about it, the less we want to know. A general “meh, whatever” stance is taking over.

Passion has a few meanings which include, ‘A powerful emotion, such as love, joy, hatred, or anger’, ‘the object of such love or desire’ or ‘an abandoned display of emotion’; however the definition that I’m talking about is ‘the object of such enthusiasm’. Ok, I’ll be honest here. The other reason that I got onto the apathy topic, stems back to one of my passions (fighting against depression and suicide) and how apathetic people in general are towards the whole issue. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that everyone should be super passionate about depression and suicide prevention just because I am, but I am saying it is a huge issue facing our society today and it’s not something that we should become apathetic towards. As the old saying goes, apathy breeds contempt.

"A lot of people don't realize that depression is an illness. I don't wish it on anyone, but if they would know how it feels, I swear they would think twice before they just shrug it." - Jonathan Davis

I know I stated these facts in my last blog, but I think it’s something that needs to constantly be brought to our attention. Remember that 65000 people in Australia alone try to commit suicide per year and a fifth of the population will suffer from depression at some point in their life. I personally can’t believe people could be unaffected by those sorts of statistics. That we are so blinded to it that we can’t even help each other through a crisis that a lot of us are going to face. We can’t stick out head in the sand and hope that the issue will just rectify itself, that’s not how emotional and psychological issues work. It’s a real problem and our indifference towards it is only making it worse. You cannot combat loneliness and rejection with apathy, it only enhances the isolation.

What are your passions?

I learnt today that passion comes from the Latin word ‘pati’ which means ‘suffer’. That surprised me a little at first, but then I started looking around at different definitions of the word and one website I read defined passions as ‘your own personal cross to bare’. The more I think about it the more it makes sense, its rarely ever easy to stand up for your passions or get people to understand why you are so passionate about those issues in the first place.

By far the most dangerous foe we have to fight is apathy - indifference from whatever cause, not from a lack of knowledge, but from carelessness, from absorption in other pursuits, from a contempt bred of self satisfaction.” - William Osler

What can we do to overcome social apathy? I don’t have the answer. I wish I did! I just have a lot more questions, but all I want to do is get people thinking about it and become aware of how they act to different issues.

So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. Revelations 3:16

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