Discussions of apathy generally refer to the normative kind. This kind of apathy is characterized by an indifference to a context that one has the privilege to interface with. There are many reasons one may be apathetic – common arguments propose convenience or indifference Of course, indifference and apathy are synonymous. . More difficult explanations extend medical conditions and social influences; apathy is a consequence of a number of neurological diseases and is propagated by communities that romanticize born heroes I find it hard to believe that apathetic populations are inherently impartial. I argue that societies with strict representations of success model a majority of individuals to be inconsequential. By design, this pressures a feeling of unimportance even for the self-motivated. .
There is a kind of apathy often overlooked. Let’s call it budgeted apathy. This kind of apathy is characterized by an indifference to a context that is orthogonal or abstracted by one’s priorities.
Here’s one example – a low-income family living in an expensive city may not have the time to think about the long-term health effects of the fast food they consume This is not meant to be an anecdotal or accurate example. It’s just an example. . There are at least two reasons why this might be the case: the family values fast food’s accessibility more than it discounts adverse effects, or the family is ignorant of fast food’s adverse health effects. I argue that there is a possible third reason: the family is indifferent to the health effects of fast food. Note that this third reason is characterized neither by an evaluation of priorities nor by ignorance, but by an orthogonality of primary and secondary needs.
Budgeted apathy is subtle; by design, it is equivalent to an orchestration of an individual’s demands. On the other hand, it’s really just a convolution of the idea that an individual focuses on what immediately affects them.
Maybe this is a nice idea, but it’s missing some action. One we all can take is advocacy for and appreciation of others’ contexts. This is a little more abstract than walking in another’s shoes; it requires a trust in individuals’ motivation, no matter how disparate they are from our own. Albeit romantic, this is a simple, extraordinarily compassionate perspective.