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Imperator Majora

A Commodian Wit - The Insidious Apathy

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Yes, Apathy.

A personal addendum to Flinn's less word soupy and more understandable read The power of fear..., this is my response in blog form to introduce the concept and its effects upon society in all things, and why people should care about it.

Apathy is a much less renowned beast than Fear. It is harder to pin down and blame. Fear has a generally clear source, or perhaps a mystery of a source, and clear victims who may work through it or shrivel on sight. It can be more insidious, but this is the more known form. Apathy is a collective state, instigated by various parties, perpetuated by all. It is a thing to overcome, yet only when you concentrate on it or see it a certain way can you truly feel it. It spawns when nations spend their days in dusty rooms deliberating their nuanced squabbles instead of agreeing on common troubles and their solutions. It spawns when the local club organizer tells you there's going to be a meeting Soon™ and you only remembered it was said when a year has passed without contact. It comes when the difficulties of action and resolution are abandoned in favor of continuing as is, to wallow in one's own sameness when the opportunity to fix or progress is before you.

It is my greatest enemy, and that of anyone who would see it, that which keeps me typing here instead of making money or at least doing something more useful. Yet it is not procrastination. That is a shorter term, indeed more understandable concept, that applies with fairly clear cause and effect on simple, universal reflection. Apathy is perpetual, collective. When the whole would rather do nothing than make difficult concessions, investigate and implement action, or address core, underlying problems in a particular Thing as those issues drive the whole to the brink of existential peril. Its true presence is marked when it is perpetual, and to be aware of it in some form magnifies the effect tenfold when it is ignored. My apathy is not marked by doing this instead of making money, but by doing things like writing about this instead of making a drive towards a particular idea. By spending years mastering niche elements of video game roleplaying instead of using that time to make money, eternally finding excuses to not improve my micro in RTS games or my aim in an FPS, or allowing my needing Discord Server to decay in favor of chasing my tail of whim. It is subject to my apathy and that of everyone else who would care for other things than bring it to its potential.

It is not something you can haul individual blame at, either - not easily, though some perceptions might refute the following more than others depending on the individual. One should not blame the members for erring towards places more active or more wild or suited to their needs, even if their activity would make the place just as worth contributing to as any other in a structure with a psuedo-roleplay element to keep it interesting. One could honestly not blame the staff for living their lives, participating in places that do more for them, or feeling unguided when there is little in the way of direction even if their more active presence would speak well to the site's activity. One could certainly not blame the few that do their routines in the community because that is all they know, wish to partake in, or are allowed to do, as it is time they are still spending on the community, even if theoretically they could be doing more or differently (what more can you expect? It's their time!). One probably shouldn't heap it on the administration for similarly having their own lives, an inability to grasp or execute the changes they think may bring the place to life, or simply finding that kind of deliberate time and effort better spent on other things - even if they are in the strongest position to clear the table, identify the issue, and strike it down. Can one truly blame the top of the spectrum (which isn't necessarily me in the example, but therin lies the complication) for finding the rest of their lives more important than going through the rounds of process to execute the change needed to make the community thrive in the face of growing difficulty making the subject the discord is for appetizing? It could be said that the top is the most responsible for identifying and eliminating it, yet to be at the top is still to be a man, or woman, like any other. It does not oblige you to live the thing you associate with, especially if your goals are much more direct and even compartmentalized than the 'muh vision!' of ambitious individuals, who themselves often fall pray to thinking too much (and of themselves) over using subtlety and action to establish their position and change.

But though you cannot heap individual blame without falling into a loop of counter-arguments at every level, the problem is still there. The community ebbs, and infrequently does it flow. Its membership find it better to spend time on other things. The few who continue to come in may see little problem, for they get from it now what they could always get. Or perhaps they do see it, yet it is easier to continue and have it for what it's worth as long as it remains standing. And the price of reversal may drive those with not just the initiative, but the means to madness. And is it really your job, the individual, to fix something beyond you, the club, the city, the nation, the world? Should the administrators in such a place not do it? Well, insolent one, should the administrators not live and do as they see fit as well? Why don't you tell us what you want and we'll think about it! But are you, sir admin, looking at this from the perspective of deep breath APATHY?!

I see the Insidious Apathy, and have made much of my online experience in its identity and elimination. I despise it, and really, only it, for every individual has their reasons for being and acting as they are that make it exist. I despise my own role in contributing to it, my lack of foresight in making the decisions I know I could physically make to do something different, my crashes in logic as I attempt to grasp the scope of the issue and what would be needed to attract a wider group. Should I talk about it, or change it? Should I not do other things I see are worthy of my time and sanity? Is anything I want actually the right way to to about it, let alone where it ends up? Do I care to do any of it at all?

I joined that server and sifted through countless hours of nonsense to restore order to its staff and bring peace to the community after working up because I made myself look mildly smart from the beginning when the community didn't do a great deal of vetting. That peace became its death. In chaos did it thrive at its peak, did it hold interest, even as users of honor and good spirit left as the issues became toxic. Perhaps it is merely an accident when great activity and interest truly manages to intersect with a fine community and fine activity - all things have reason of course, but perhaps it is beyond Man to grasp them. It was like that too in its earlier days, before the flaws of the system overcame its strengths. It worked once. It achieved that perfection. Why should it change, and is it merely change for change's sake? Is that really an answer? Must I ask so many questions when presenting my own thought?

It is a cycle, really. The growth, the apex, the chaos, the death, occasional shifting of the same variables as they repeat time and time again from place to place at every level of society between that one project in the yard you haven't gotten to, to the runnings of an increasingly dilapidated town I call home, to the functions of my country to the complacent reactionary nature of the world - and all things in history as they seemed timeless in the then and are now referred to in the past tense. The individual can change everything, but only if everything else happens to fall into place and they capitalize on it. Some are better at shifting their destinies than others. When this does not occur, many things may happen. The worst of them is Apathy, for it hardly even quantifies as a journey, and one can certainly argue that lives are all about the journeys. As a wise old video game character said, Apathy is Death. Order and Chaos, rigid as they are, stand in the way even if both can result in their own fatal ends. But so many things are involved that even such a take is too narrow.

What can you do against the great beast? Well, you can certainly be that individual who syncs functions together, or be among the lucky crowd that, knowingly or not, is fighting against the effect. You can recognize it, oppose it, avoid being driven insane by it, for it, like fear, is a matter of concept, and concept is a matter of perception.

It is unhealthy to dwell in any particular perception, but if it applies, and all goes well in its addressing, it can be eliminated for the good of all. But I would say this - the inability to change a path of inaction and slow the fall of the whole, caused by every individual reacting to their perfectly understandable circumstances - it is a killer more great, more dangerous, more powerful than any form of Fear.

Like anything else, that is simply a matter of perspective.

An overly dramatic one, at that.

But I'm sure a good number of folks reading this recognize my flair for the dramatic, overly serious, and the contradictory cycle of self awareness. It could also be me losing it, having a narcissistic complex, and executing a juvenile attempt to seem smart. You decide.

Comments

  1. Imperator Majora's Avatar
    And, uh, I was going to be witty and respond to a quote at the start, then I forgot to add the quote. So, please see "Apathy?" from the comments of the linked blog.
  2. Turkafinwë's Avatar
    After years of being subject to apathy, and still am for one can't entirely escape from this slow, insidious killer, I found that in my case (and I'm sure for lots of other people as well) it was mainly in answer to my fears. It's only since I entered my twenties a couple of years ago that I rediscovered the passions of my life and it has been a change for the better, whatever pain they may cause.

    The way I pictured Fear and Apathy was that Fear is indeed like this monstrous creature ready to devour you while Apathy is like a siren calling you, back to the comfort zone, a place where you can't get hurt, a place where it's easy to stay. Both dangerous in their own right.

    People always make judgements on things they actually aren't able to make judgment on (well you can do that but that doesn't mean you're right). Anything can be explained as anything if one tries hard enough. What I think? Nothing really, I'm quite apathetic about it. :tongue:

    This blog certainly is food for thought.
  3. Imperator Majora's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Turkafinwë
    After years of being subject to apathy, and still am for one can't entirely escape from this slow, insidious killer, I found that in my case (and I'm sure for lots of other people as well) it was mainly in answer to my fears. It's only since I entered my twenties a couple of years ago that I rediscovered the passions of my life and it has been a change for the better, whatever pain they may cause.

    The way I pictured Fear and Apathy was that Fear is indeed like this monstrous creature ready to devour you while Apathy is like a siren calling you, back to the comfort zone, a place where you can't get hurt, a place where it's easy to stay. Both dangerous in their own right.

    People always make judgements on things they actually aren't able to make judgment on (well you can do that but that doesn't mean you're right). Anything can be explained as anything if one tries hard enough. What I think? Nothing really, I'm quite apathetic about it.

    This blog certainly is food for thought.
    That's a very true statement; Apathy is indeed a form of escapism, often manifesting as welcome comfort in the face of Fear, Difficulty, and overwhelming 'Stuff' (poor term, just having a lot to do and you wouldn't really be arsed to do it). I mainly refer to it on its latter connections, but its parity with Fear is distinct and not to be overlooked.

    At the end of the day of course, Apathy is perception, as effective in the little things of now as it is on global change (perhaps more so). To be curtailed, but omnipresent. Thanks for the food for thought, ei?
  4. Flinn's Avatar
    lol now I got what you meant with your comment

    Excellent points about apathy, and I totally agree that it's a circle, what one needs to do is to break it, one way or another... fill your day with stuff, plenty of it, give sense to every single day .. as for me, you know I'm a Dudeist, for someone like me everything has a meaning and nothing is really important, so I found my balance in having plenty of things to do, they are not important per sé (I mean I don't give a crap if tomorrow my vineyard will burn down or if they'll kick me from the Town Council), but they are all important as they keep me busy doing stuff. It's really just about that, less thinking, more doing, at every level.. after all life is just but a passing experience, which sole purpose is to live it, any other consideration is futile IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turkafinwë
    The way I pictured Fear and Apathy was that Fear is indeed like this monstrous creature ready to devour you while Apathy is like a siren calling you, back to the comfort zone, a place where you can't get hurt, a place where it's easy to stay. Both dangerous in their own right.
    Fantastic definition, really
  5. King Athelstan's Avatar
    It could also be me losing it, having a narcissistic complex, and executing a juvenile attempt to seem smart.
    Now that happened at least two years ago, sorry. Too late for that


    Quote Originally Posted by Flinn
    but they are all important as they keep me busy doing stuff.
    This is the important bit - Comm, if we're adressing this on a personal level, which I feel we can since that's what's blogs are. You're not apathetic. You care, and you keep busy doing stuff. Sure, they only almost get completed, but you keep busy, come with new ideas for old fish and you work on. Whether it be the wiki, administering the finances of some people who like to look at rocks or simply adressing past issues to gain a larger light on then, it's not apathy.
    It's easy to think that oneself is just apathic to everyone, I know I've been but yet we keep doing stuff. Even if it's just to do stuff, it means we're not apathetic towards having nothing be done, if that makes any sense. Small steps and all that, but it's still something