1: lack of feeling or emotion : IMPASSIVENESS drug abuse leading to apathy and depression 2: lack of interest or concern : INDIFFERENCE political apathy
How Apathy Differs From Impassivity and Indifference Apathy, impassivity, and indifference all denote a lack of responsiveness to something that might normally excite interest or emotion. Apathy suggests a puzzling or deplorable inertness or lack of passion, as in “the problem of continued voter apathy.” Impassivity stresses the absence of any external sign of emotion in action or facial expression, as in “teachers frustrated by the impassivity of their students.” Indifference connotes a lack of interest in or concern about something, as in “the company’s apparent indifference to the needs of its employees.”
The Greek Origins of Apathy There’s no reason to be uncaring about the origins of apathy—though there is a clue to the word’s beginnings in this sentence. Apathy was borrowed into English in the late 16th century from Greek apatheia, which itself comes from the adjective apathēs, meaning “without feeling.” Apathēs, in turn, was formed by combining the negating prefix a- with pathos, meaning “emotion.” Incidentally, if you’ve guessed that pathos is the source of the identically spelled noun in English (meaning either “an element in experience or in artistic representation evoking pity or compassion” or “an emotion of sympathetic pity”), you are correct. Pathos also gave us such words as antipathy, empathy, sympathy, pathetic, and even the archaic word pathematic (“emotional”).
Here are some quotes about apathy:
“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their backs on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their behinds.” — Abraham Lincoln
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. the opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” — Elie Wiesel
“If I didn’t care for fun and such, I’d probably amount to much. But I shall stay the way I am, Because I do not give a damn.” — Dorothy Parker
“The refusal to take sides on great moral issues is itself a decision. It is a silent acquiescence to evil. The Tragedy of our time is that those who still believe in honesty lack fire and conviction, while those who believe in dishonesty are full of passionate conviction.” — Fulton Sheen
“I’m terrified at the moral apathy, the death of the heart, which is happening in my country. These people have deluded themselves for so long that they really don’t think I’m human. I base this on their conduct, not on what they say. And this means that they have become, in themselves, moral monsters.” — James Baldwin
“Scientists talk about dark matter, the invisible, mysterious substance that occupies the space between stars. Dark matter makes up 99.99 percent of the universe, and they don’t know what it is. Well I do. It’s apathy. That’s the truth of it; pile together everything we know and care about in the universe and it will still be nothing more than a tiny speck in the middle of a vast black ocean of Who Gives a Fuck.” — David Wong
“… the opposite of love is not hate — it’s apathy. It’s not giving a damn. If somebody hates me, they must “feel” something … or they couldn’t possibly hate. Therefore, there’s some way in which I can get to them.” — Leo Buscaglia
“Compassion is an unstable emotion. It needs to be translated into action, or it withers. The question of what to do with the feelings that have been aroused, the knowledge that has been communicated. If one feels that there is nothing ‘we’ can do — but who is that ‘we’? — and nothing ‘they’ can do either — and who are ‘they’ — then one starts to get bored, cynical, apathetic.” — Susan Sontag
Do you see apathy in any of today’s images?
I don’t know what I was feeling when I took that selfie five years ago, but I know it wasn’t apathy.
I am filled with the opposite of apathy as I look forward to comments about this “Apathy” post, below.
Non-apathetic thanks to Abraham Lincoln, Elie Wiesel, James Baldwin, Fulton Sheen, Dorothy Parker, David Wong, Leo Buscaglia, Susan Sontag, Dan Rather, people on the front line of this pandemic, Merriam, Webster, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, and everyone else who helps me create these daily posts, including YOU.
If you’re like me, you’ve been having trouble finding great things in the news lately.
Together, let’s look for great things in my photos from yesterday.
Did you find great things? What great things did you find?
Did you notice great things here?
Sometimes we have to look close and hard for great things in order to find them. Sometimes those great things seem broken, but we need to keep looking, feeling, thinking, and acting.
The late great Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said many great things, including these:
“When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best tune out. Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.” — From Ginsburg’s 2016 book “My Own Words”
“I went to law school when women were less than 3% of lawyers in the country; today, they are 50%. I never had a woman teacher in college or in law school. The changes have been enormous. And they’ve gone much too far (to be) going back.” — From a 2019 NPR interview
“I pray that I may be all that (my mother) would have been had she lived in an age when women could aspire and achieve and daughters are cherished as much as sons.” — From her 1993 Supreme Court acceptance speech, about her mother
“I see my advocacy as part of an effort to make the equality principle everything the founders would have wanted it to be if they weren’t held back by the society in which they lived and particularly the shame of slavery. I don’t think my efforts would have succeeded had it not been for the women’s movement that was reviving in the United States and more or less all over the world at the time.” — From a 2013 WNYC interview
“Women will have achieved true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation.” — From a 2001 interview with the New York City Bar Association
“One thing that I did feel in law school was that if I flubbed, that I would be bringing down my entire sex. That you weren’t just failing for yourself, but people would say, ‘Well, I did expect it of a woman.’ … I was determined not to leave that impression.” — From a 2020 Slate interview
“Dissents speak to a future age. It’s not simply to say my colleagues are wrong and I would do it this way, but the greatest dissents do become court opinions.” — From a 2002 NPR interview, on her Supreme Court dissents
“The number of women who have come forward as a result of the #MeToo movement has been astonishing. My hope is not just that it is here to stay, but that it is as effective for the woman who works as a maid in a hotel as it is for Hollywood stars.” — From a 2018 interview at the National Constitution Center, on the impact of the #MeToo movement
“If there was one decision I would overrule, it would be Citizens United. I think the notion that we have all the democracy that money can buy strays so far from what our democracy is supposed to be.” — From a 2014 New Republic interview, on Citizens United v. FEC, which ruled that corporations could fund political speech under the First Amendment
“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” — From a 2015 luncheon at Harvard
Who wants to join me in the fight for the things I care about, like the great legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg?
Here‘s a great 2017 interview with Ruth Bader Ginsburg:
Here‘s a great appearance by RBG on the Stephen Colbert show:
Here‘s Stephen Colbert last night about the great loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg:
I look forward to great things in the comments section, below.
As always, I have great gratitude for all the great things in my life, including YOU.
“Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.” — Václev Havel
“Remember. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” — Stephen King
“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and do the right thing, the dawn will come.” — Anne Lamott
“The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.” — Barbara Kingsolver
“You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.” — Michelle Obama
“It is because of hope that you suffer. It is through hope that you’ll change things.” — Maxime Legacé
Here and now, I’m paying attention to these quotes about paying attention:
“The right way to begin is to pay attention to the young, and make them just as good as possible.” — Socrates
“Pay attention to your enemies, for they are the first to discover your mistakes.” — Antisthenes
“If you’re not nervous then you’re not paying attention.” — Miles Davis
“If you’re not confused, you’re not paying attention.” — Tom Peters
“The difference between hearing and listening is paying attention.” — Ruth Messinger
“If you pay attention to when you are hungry, what your body wants, what you’re eating, when you’ve had enough, you end the obsession because obsession and awareness cannot coexist.” — Geneen Roth
“When you really pay attention, everything is your teacher.” — Ezra Bayda
“All you have to do is pay attention: lessons always arrive when you are ready, and if you can read the signs, you will learn everything you need to know in order to take the next step.” —Paulo Coelho
“The universe is full of noise. True wisdom is in knowing what to pay attention to.” — Debasish Mridha
“Pay more attention to the silence than to the sounds. Paying attention to outer silence creates inner silence: the mind becomes still. A portal is opening up.” — Eckhart Tolle
“Pay attention to the little things. They’re more important than you think.” — Matt Gutierrez
“Don’t beg for attention; pay attention to your dreams and others will pay attention to you.” — Israelmore Ayivor
“People will reveal who they are if you just pay attention.” — Germany Kent
“Pay attention to the gentle ones, the ones who can hold your gaze with no discomfort, the ones who smile to themselves while sitting alone in a coffee shop, the ones who walk as if floating. Take them in and marvel at them. Simply marvel. It takes an extraordinary person to carry themselves as if they do not live in hell.” — D. Bunyavong
“Pay attention to what you don’t see.” — Tia DeShay
“Pay attention to the beauty surrounding you.” — Anne Lamott
“The simple act of paying attention can take you a long way.” — Keanu Reeves
“Difficulties come when you don’t pay attention to life’s whisper. Life always whispers to you first, but if you ignore the whisper, sooner or later you’ll get a scream.” — Oprah Winfrey
“Paying attention is the most basic and profound expression of love.” —Tara Brach
“The greatest act of love is to pay attention.” — Diane Sawyer
“Every single person has a story that will break your heart. And if you’re paying attention, many people have a story that will bring you to your knees. Nobody rides for free.” — Brené Brown
“I understand now that I’m not a mess but a deeply feeling person in a messy world. I explain that now, when someone asks me why I cry so often, ‘For the same reason I laugh so often — because I’m paying attention.’ ” — Glennon Doyle
“But when we observe, we are forced to pay attention. We have to move from passive absorption to active awareness. We have to engage.” — Maria Konnikova
“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” — Mary Oliver
Now it’s time to be paying attention to my latest photos.
If you’re paying attention, you might notice a typo in that job description. What else are you paying attention to?
“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” — Rabindranath Tagore
“I know that I shall meet my fate somewhere among the clouds above; those that I fight I do not hate and those that I guard I do not love.” — William Butler Yeats
” Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.” — St. Augustine
“It is better to have your heads in the clouds and know where you are … than to breathe the clearer atmosphere below them, and think that you are in paradise.” — Henry David Thoreau
“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.” — Edward Abbey
“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” — John Lubbock
“Clouds do not really look like camels or sailing ships or castles in the sky. They are simply a natural process at work. So too, perhaps, are our lives.” — Roger Ebert
“Mirth is like a flash of lightening, that breaks through a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment; cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.” — Joseph Addison
“Let the people on both sides keep their self-possession, and just as other clouds have cleared away in due time, so will this, and this great nation will continue to prosper as before.” — Abraham Lincoln
“I, like everybody else, have a certain fear of heights, and I have to be very careful when I’m in the clouds, but it is also what I love; it is my domain, so when you love something, you don’t have fear.” —Philippe Petit
“Who cares about the clouds when we’re together? Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather.” — Dale Evans
Do you see any clouds in these other recent photos?
I hope I have my readers’s permission to start this post with a definition:
“they had entered the country without permission”
synonyms: authorization, consent, leave, authority, sanction, license, dispensation, assent, acquiescence, agreement, approval, seal of approval, approbation, endorsement, blessing, imprimatur, clearance, acceptance, allowance, tolerance, sufferance, empowerment, freedom, liberty
an official document giving authorization.
plural noun: permissions
“permissions to reproduce copyright material”
I hope I have your permission to wonder this about that definition: Why are so many people so focused on others entering countries without permission? Is that REALLY the worst problem the world is facing? Aren’t there other problems we should be erasing?
With or without permission, I’m going to state my position: we are all occupants of this planet, dammit! Why can’t we all come and go as we please, with more ease?
I know that if I were running for office in my home country with an attitude like that one, my quest for election would definitely be soon done.
Here’s my admission about why I’m focusing on permission:
I took that photo without anybody’s permission. That was my decision.
“When you give yourself permission to communicate what matters to you in every situation you will have peace despite rejection or disapproval. Putting a voice to your soul helps you to let go of the negative energy of fear and regret.”
― Shannon L. Alder
“Quiet the noise around you; soften its pitch. Our deepest stories are our best teachers. Let the weapons of the weak — the poison, the nagging, the gossip — burn themselves to ash. Cast them to the wind. Take back the permission to succeed. Make it yours.”
― Elissa Altman
“Stop looking for permission from other people to do what you know you are meant to do.”
― Adam Smith
“Do you really need permission? Still waiting for that invitation to your life? No one is going to give it to you…only you can do that.”
― Jennifer Ho-Dougatz
“When we give ourselves permission to go wherever our outlandish thoughts take us, we feel that rush of creativity and excitement.”
―Teresa R. Funke, Bursts of Brilliance for a Creative Life blog
Without a permit, here are other photos I’ll submit:
You can give yourself permission, my dear, to let go of future fear. Make a magic incantation without any hesitation.
Yesterday, in my therapy group, I wrote the word “empathy” twice on the white board.
I wrote “empathy” twice because I heard and experienced so much of it from the group participants. I especially noted and appreciated it because I hear and experience so little empathy, these days, from world leaders.
Why do the participants in a therapy group seem to have so much more empathy than world leaders?
Is it because people who have come together to cope, heal, support, and learn from each other naturally have more empathy?
What does your empathy tell you about that?
Here’s a definition of empathy, again:
the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
synonyms: affinity with, rapport with, sympathy with, understanding of, sensitivity toward, sensibility to, identification with, awareness of, fellowship with, fellow feeling for, like-mindedness, togetherness, closeness to
“what is really important about learning a language is learning empathy for another culture”
Empathy is really the opposite of spiritual meanness. It’s the capacity to understand that every war is won and lost. And that someone’s pain is as meaningful as your own. — Barbara Kingsolver.
Sympathy relies on a common experience. If you’re clumsy, you might have sympathy for others who tend to bump into things. Empathy, on the other hand, is the ability to understand another person’s feelings even if you’ve never experienced them yourself. — Joe Gebbia
A prerequisite to empathy is just paying attention to the person in pain. — Daniel Goleman
Human nature is complex. Even if we do have inclinations towards violence, we also have inclination to empathy, to cooperation, to self-control. — Steven Pinker
Empathy begins with understanding life from another person’s perspective. Nobody has an objective experience of reality. It’s all through our own individual prisms. — Sterling K. Brown
Empathy is the latest code word for liberal activism, for treating the Constitution as malleable clay to be kneaded and molded in whatever form justices want. It represents an expansive view of the judiciary in which courts create policy that couldn’t pass the legislative branch or, if it did, would create voter backlash. — Karl Rove
When you show deep empathy towards others, their defensive energy goes down, and positive energy replaces it. That’s when you can get more creative in solving problems. — Stephen Covey
The struggle of my life created empathy — I could relate to pain, being abandoned, having people not love me. — Oprah Winfrey
Empathy is the starting point for creating a community and taking action. It’s the impetus for creating change. — Max Carver
Empathy is a tool for building people into groups, for allowing us to function as more than self-obsessed individuals. — Neil Gaiman
Is there empathy in my other photos from yesterday?
Which of those photos represents empathy best, to you?
When I’m petty, I feel guilty. When I observe other people being petty, I get scared, because I’ve observed pettiness wreaking havoc with relationships.
Here’s a definition of petty:
1. of little importance; trivial.
“the petty divisions of party politics”
synonyms: trivial, trifling, minor, small, slight, unimportant, insignificant, inessential, inconsequential, inconsiderable, negligible, paltry, footling, fiddling, niggling, pettifogging, nugatory, of little account
2. of secondary or lesser importance, rank, or scale; minor.
“a petty official”
My personal goal for today is to make other people being petty of little importance, trivial, minor, small, slight, insignificant, inconsequential, and negligible to me.
Reproof should not exhaust its power on petty failings. — Samuel Johnson
More than jealousy or possessiveness pettiness kills love. — Marty Rubin
Don’t be afraid of failure; be afraid of petty success. — Maude Adams
Be master of your petty annoyances and conserve your energies for the big, worthwhile things. It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out — it’s the grain of sand in your shoe. — Robert Service
The art of giving orders is not to try to rectify the minor blunders and not to be swayed by petty doubts. — Sun Tzu
The constant petty behests of life permit few opportunities for major satisfactions, and when one is offered it should be seized. — Rex Stout
Petty things don’t bother me as much as they used to — Rebecca Lobo
Mankind accepts good fortune as his due, but when bad occurs, he thinks it was aimed at him, done to him, a hex, a curse, a punishment by his deity for some transgression, as though his god were a petty storekeeper, counting up the day’s receipts. — Sheri S. Tepper