*Buys a round of drinks*
Is it just me, or is the country sliding into a state of apathy? It's as if 'war', gas prices, and nuclear development just isn't enough to keep things kicking anymore.
I think it's less a case of apathy, and more the insidious growth of laziness and a sense of entitlement. More and more, the world is prepackaged and delivered in small, easy to slurp chunks which require less and less chewing. As a result, I think people are less inclined to make an effort outside the comfortable little boxes they build themselves into; either in action or even in thought.
A fine example of this can be found in the aspirations of the young. It seems that more young people want to be a 'celebrity' than anything else. Note the term; they don't want to be a famous writer, or scientist, or actor, or so damned good at something that the world can't avoid noticing, they just want the world to notice them, and to be inducted into what they see as a life of ease consisting of little more than parties and opulence.
Now a look around the table shows a fair number of creative people. We're not in it for the fame, or the money (although royalty cheques do bring a smile to my face): we want to do what we do well. If we gain some notoriety from this it is because of that quality, not because we appear almost naked in public or discuss the intimate details of our lives in the tabloids. But there is the theme that we must work to achieve our objectives, and the knowledge that to us celebrity is a by-product of hard work from which we may well never suffer no matter how well we perform in our chosen spheres.
In a world that relies more and more on convenience, and less and less on effort, apathy is a natural side-effect. Laziness is a natural side-effect. It makes us all poorer, but at least it clears the field a little for us to get in. I just wish the public would read more books as they slide ever further into their self-induced comas, but then I can't help but wonder if the general decline in literacy is cause or symptom.
Which country were you talking about, by the way?
I purposely failed to define which country to make sure I got a response from others not living in the United States; where I am. I wanted to see the opinions from around the globe.
I believe that apathy and laziness go hand in hand, you can not have one without the other in at least some form.
As for the 'aspirations of the young' I too see that those just a few years younger than I are content with abstract careers and refuse to pinpoint what exactly they wish to do with their lives. As if the status of 'celebrity' will be handed to them by some shadowry benefactor delivering them from hard work.
It is almost as if the world forgot that greatness can be achieved so why bother with striving towards a station that does not exsist. This mind set is the most dangerous of all and will deliever us (society as a whole) into another Dark Ages. I'm fairly certain that the youth once believed in greatness, but after realizing that the only way to get it is by working hard and toiling endlessly, they just simply gave up, sat back, and waited for thier T.V. Dinners and ten minute news broadcast.
This can be applied to why the major issues of the world have seemingly no effect on the general populace. By taking notice of them they; the general populace, might feel obligated to do something about it; to cry out, speak up, or make a stand against something. Which will take effort, and will; not be worth doing.
A part of me wishes that the "field" was packed full of ready to act voices striving to greatness, aspiring to something bigger and better than themselves so that I would have to fight through them and past them. Than now, where I merely have to walk around them, or step over them as they snooze.
A major result or cause of this apathy is that people don't even bother to read anymore -- not even a daily newspaper -- and as a result they have absolutely no critical thinking skills. All of the critical thinking is done by others and, yes, handed to everyone in 10-second sound bites that are typically entirely off the mark.
The second factor is that it feels to me and maybe to most people that the world is spinning out of our control entirely. Like you get a dopey leader and all of his power-hungry ego-centric spin-artist minions running everything from behind the scenes. What can anyone actually do to change this. So even the educated, critical thinkers among us feel a certain sense of apathy: what can we actually do when everyone votes for the bozos?
The bozo is just a result of the larger problem. And yes it is partially due to the fact that no one reads anymore. But to say 'what can we do' is contributing to the problem. What we can do is to sway the public, to educate them and to reveal to them the true nature of life. Society needs to be reminded that great things can still be accomplished. This can be done through literature, classic and modern, by art and by music.
Everything is made to be so simple, that society fails to find reason to live in a complicated manner, that manner is aspiring to greatness.
Why read when there's TV, why become intersted in the issues when there are people to tell us what to think, why create, when so many great things are already in existense?
You know despite the feeling of apathy, ennui, and hopelessness -- the artists continue to create. Perhaps underlying it all there is no apathy afterall -- though the citizens are deadened by a winter-like brain-freeze, there are some of us underground and alive, still kicking and creating. More than ever, really. We'll go on insisting that our children read instead of watching TV, writing our letters to the editor, painting subversive things like botanical still-lifes, insisting that there is beauty in the world that can still make one cry. Oh it just makes me want a fresh g&t.