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“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.”

Apathy is a state of indifference where nothing bothers you anymore. It is a frame of mind free from happiness and unhappiness at the same instance. Simply put, apathy is a state when you feel nothing about everything. People often associate apathy with depression. In reality, they are two different things.

One can experience apathy without having depression. Depression does not always involve apathy necessarily, even though people living in depression often show signs of it. These signs include – lack of motivation, lack of interest, and lack of energy. Irrespective of the similarities between the two, they are fundamentally different. The key signs of depression are feelings of despair and guilt. While for apathy, the key signature is being neutral or indifferent to both pleasure and discomfort.

Do not get the wrong idea here. Being indifferent to conflict and catastrophe does not make someone sadist. They don’t find solace in suffering and at the same time, they don’t find solace in peace either. They are neither barbarous nor benevolent. They are neither Buddha nor Satan. They are neither loving nor hateful. It is a phase where they have evolved beyond right and wrong.

Now the question arises – what causes apathy? Well, it may not always have a crystal clear cause. It can happen as a symptom of many psychiatric and neurological conditions.

What I wish to highlight in this article is Situational Apathy.

Situational apathy is a response to the circumstances where feelings become excessively overwhelming and, in some cases, traumatic. Detaching oneself emotionally is a very natural human instinct to protect our well-being. Another significant seed of this syndrome is emotional exhaustion and burnout – witnessed especially in teenagers and adults in the younger side of their 20s.

Adulting is one of the most challenging phases in life. It’s a phase when teenagers try to establish a sense of self by narrowing down their future goals. Discarding innocence and childish interests, and at the same time accepting responsibilities and accountability for your actions, does not come naturally to teenagers. While many undergo this transition with utmost grace, few struggle to cope with this momentous change.

It can either relate to the frustration of not being able to make their own choices or boredom with a life that feels tasteless and mundane. Taking the COVID situation into account, the second reason is not at all alien to anyone. At one point, I am sure we all felt like our life was circling in a never-ending loop of Zoom meetings and WhatsApp shenanigans.

On a personal note, I have been going through this similar patch for quite some time now. With more than a couple of dozens of unread messages on Instagram, a half-century of archived unread chats on WhatsApp, inevitably skipping every college club/society meeting – nothing fazes me anymore. Nothing to feel proud about but at the same time, surprisingly, I am not even remotely ashamed of it. If you are one of those lucky and rare people I continue to text, you probably do not know this side of me. But the ones on the wrong side of it do consider me rude and, for that, I am sorry and, at the same time, I am not.

Wars, scams, pandemics, new corona variants, exams, assignments, team meetings, interviews – there is so much going around at the same time that it is just not humanly possible to care enough and invest oneself in all sectors. Why bother about things you cannot control? Why exert yourself in the process with the ultimate result amounting to – zero, nothing.

Maybe being delusional is the right way to go about it cause, at this time, it does feel so.

Just to make it clear, I am not trying to glorify apathy as a state of Nirvana and enlightenment. On the contrary, apathy is an indicator of an underlying disease that robs humans of the very essence of being human. Superficially, this ‘NO-damn giving attitude’ may sound ‘cool’ to many. Unfortunately, the reality is it makes humans empty and purposeless.

“Apathy is a disease. Nobody thinks or feels or cares any more; nobody gets excited or believes in anything except their own comfortable little God damn mediocrity.” Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road

If you are here to seek a remedy for this underlying disease, sorry to disappoint you cause I still have not figured it out myself. For that, you may surf through other articles on WWW for the same. In fact, I still have not figured out why I penned down this write-up. Maybe it was my way of expressing that if you think I am rude, trust me, I am not. I just don’t care enough, that’s it.

“If I did not care for fun and such, I’d probably amount to much. But for the time being, I shall stay the way I am, Because if truth be told – I do not give a damn.”


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