November 11, 2019

Indifference: The Societal Plague of the 21st Century

One of the biggest dilemmas in the social structure of our day is not an ideology proclaimed from the throats of policymakers nor yelled at from behind pulpits. It is an often unspoken essence which has crept its way into the day-to-day existence which we accept as life and which, in reality, does not constitute the fullness of what it means to live.

This subtly creeping laxness of character can be described as an overall lack of interest or a lack of care where it should be displayed. This indifference signals that there is a faulty work ethic, a missing desire to fulfill the needs of others, and a deeper disassociation with our fellow human beings.

We see this indifference on virtually every level of social magnitude and across numerous fields, from the most insignificant things to the most life-altering procedures. Many people in the workforce today showcase a lack of care about their labors, often disposed to the ideal that because one is not enthusiastic about his work, then he does not have to dedicate his best effort to the task at hand.

I am certainly not exempt from falling into this category. I have had a number of jobs which have not set well with me on account of what I was doing. Nevertheless, as fallen human nature has made me prone to doing, I easily notice this same lack of enthusiasm in the world of workers around me.

People can appear to be peppy in their work, to some degree, and simultaneously lack any care for the final result of what they are working toward. A waiter might simply put on a facade of hospitality while maintaining an internal disposition of indifference. That same waiter’s only real thought or care might be to deliver the meals to the restaurant’s guests. Beyond that, he might not care how the food tastes, how comfortable the guests are, or how prepared they are to eat those meals.

Similarly, on the more extreme end of the spectrum, a doctor – the ultimate icon of caregiving – might come into her office and discuss necessary treatment with a patient. But again, as she examines so many people on a daily basis, she might easily fall into a mentality of carelessness. This is not a carelessness toward procedure per se, but rather to the acknowledgment of another human being. And as a human being, the patient deserves to be treated with the dignity which is due him or her.

Continuing with the example of medical professionals, there are many of us who can attest to the absence of care which has been displayed to ourselves or to our loved ones. Nurses overlook details that could potentially be quite serious. Doctors trade off patients like hot potatoes, leaving them with a feeling of being deserted and left to yet another doctor who could frankly care less about their health issues.

Even when it comes to simply being a courteous human being, our current society falls short of its calling. Our eyes do not seek to peer into the soul-windows of others, instead gazing always downward. Indifference on an individual level and a broader social level has become widespread. There are documented cases of individuals getting injured on city streets in the middle of the day, flocks of people walking by, and no one lifting a finger to help. It’s a 21st-century version of the Good Samaritan; only we can’t seem to find any good Samaritans. People just keep passing their brother by without a single care as to the other’s wellbeing.

These are a few specific instances in which it becomes clear that there is a depressing atmosphere in modern society; this is that we just don’t care. It is scary to think about, especially in regards to safety and health and the future. We have lost a work ethic, but we also seem to have lost the human connection.

If we do not seek to polish these skills, endeavor to develop these virtues, then humanity will collapse into a slithering society incapable of love, incapable of great works, and incapable of standing up for what is right and wholesome.

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Written by
John Tuttle

JOHN TUTTLE is a Catholic man on fire for beauty and truth. His journalism focuses on secular and faith-based coverage alike. A regular writer with the Catholic magazine, Culture Wars, his writing also appears in The Prehistoric Times and on sites such as Those Catholic Men, Hacker Noon, and Movie Babble. His short film "The Amazing World of Insects" won 1st place in the youth film category of the 2017 SkeenaWild Film Fest.

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1 comment
  • Yes, now that you mention it and bring it out into the open, I recognize that I have often seen this. I’ve asked people who exhibit such indifference to the results of their own actions and the answer I always get is, “I don’t care”. They don’t care that what they are eating, drinking, & smoking harms them. They don’t care that they are irrational. They don’t care about Truth. They don’t care about Right and Wrong. They don’t care about the future of their descendants. They just seem to want to get thru life with as little bother as possible and then die. They are like that young 700 pound man who said he planned to spend the rest of his life eating and playing video games.
    So there is a SPIRITUAL PROBLEM here – perhaps this is the result of their REJECTION of God? Now that I think about it, I don’t see this mindset in those who actually believe in God and accept Him as Lord.

Written by John Tuttle
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