A Citizen’s Guide to Apathy

I’m going to do something courageous. I’m going to say what I truly believe deep down, and what I suspect the vast majority of others my age do, too.

You are not important. You do not make a difference in your community, let alone the world. Everyone is insignificant.

That’s pretty much the motto I decided upon when I first felt overwhelmed by the millions of problems in the world. Who cares? It’s not my problem, and someone else will definitely take care of it for me. Or they won’t. Either way, one person wouldn’t make that much of a difference.

I don’t vote. Of course I wanted Obama to win last year, but how can one vote make a difference? It never will, and in the one in a billion scenario that my one vote would have made the difference then the vote was so close that I’m sure the right decision is being made anyways since almost a majority agreed with it.

Don’t bother protesting budget decisions. Other people will do it for you. One more face in the crowd is just a speck of dust in the long run of things. I have no power regarding these things.

Iraq? Palestine and Israel? They’re, like, on opposite sides of the world. Come on, people – why give a crap? Anything that happens over there will never affect me directly. Shit happens all the time, and I wish people would care more about all the problems America has before we stick our heads into everyone else’s business. It’s out of our jurisdiction and it’s not like we’re doing much as it is.

People die and hundreds of children starve and are tormented by preventable diseases every single day. To that I say, harden your heart to the ways of this world. If you allow yourself to honestly feel just how fucked up it is, then you’d stay in bed all day crying. And to anyone who claims that they do allow themselves to feel the sorrow for the infinite nameless cruelties that inhabit our world every day, then they’re either a liar or a hypocrite who isn’t trying hard enough.

Yeah, I’m a Christian. I say a quiet prayer every night, and I trust God to watch over me and watch over the world as a whole. No, I don’t go to church. I’ve got better things to do with my life than waste it praying in groups and studying the Bible. It’s all probably bullshit anyways.

I live life with apathy and selfishness. I know society says I shouldn’t be proud of it, and sometimes I’m not, but it is the truth. It’s unfortunate, but you do only live once, so why not make the most of it while you can? Just float through life and experience whatever small bits of happiness that you can grasp as you struggle to keep meeting the challenges of life. I don’t have time to care about the “larger problems” when I can barely get a B in each of my classes and still have time for fun with my friends on occasion.

I don’t want to change your mind either way. I just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone if this is how you think.

Maybe this is a challenge though. I suppose there’s a small part of me that wishes someone could change my mind, to convince me that I’m wrong, that caring can make a difference.

I doubt it though. The world probably doesn’t care enough.

Justin Hong is a third-year physics major. He can be reached at jhongcolumn@gmail.com.