Why You Should Give a Damn

“You can present the material, but you can’t make me care.”
― Bill Watterson

Some say the world will end with not with a bang but a whimper. I say ours may end with the dull and empty thud of indifference.

A blatant apathy lies thick like a hazy cloud over our populist culture. It’s cool not to care. Johnny doesn’t give a damn and the indifferent world doesn’t bat an eyelash.

 

observer tv baby

From the time we are children, society teaches us not to care too much or at least pretend we don’t. To act in such a manner is a  sign of childish insecurity, it’s not only foolhardy but too trusting and stupid. We are encouraged to develop a sense of skepticism and mistrust especially when it comes to people we don’t know.

The world is a scary place. I could write a thesis on how frightening it is. I think we shut off a little of ourselves bit by bit as the inevitable blows of life hit us. By the time we are grown adults we have lost so much of that beautiful trust, that loving nature and natural compassion children feel and openly express.  We are taught to see differences in each other and these differences are not good. This polarizes us.

no one is born racist people together

 

I think people tend to wrap themselves in a protective cloak of apathy. It’s not only easier not to care, it also hurts a lot less. When we care we are vulnerable. It makes perfect sense to want to close off a wee bit and tone down those emotions.

Distractions come easy and going along with the stampeding crowd is understandable given the alternatives.  It’s better to conform.  In many ways it’s essential if we want to live in a civilized society.

It is easier just to go along. Right?

Traumatized and shellshocked children in the village of Aitaroun. Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez.

Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez.

This world is sick and we all know it. My eyes glaze over when I watch the nightly news which I admittingly cannot watch much anymore. I see pics of starving children and burning forests and war. Our brains can only take in so much information. Our hearts can only take so much pain. We become desensitized, it’s a survival mechanism. I think that’s why on a collective whole we seemingly don’t care, or we care more about stupid meaningless distractions. I think we’ve reached a saturation point. It’s all too much and if I don’t notice maybe it doesn’t exist and I won’t have to do anything about it.

 

apathy i dont care

“The world doesn’t end in revolt and revolution…it ends in apathy.” ― Nick Shamhart

 

Why should I care? Why should you? Why should anyone?  We know life is not fair. It’s a hard lesson that still stings. We are savvy enough to realize that fairy tales typically don’t come true and that life is not only not fair it’s a bitch too.

I can see how people especially the ones who get the short stick may get a little angry with the world and society in general.  I can see how easy it could be not to care for someone who doesn’t care about you. I can see how one could get caught up in inevitable feelings of futility; why should we care about a world that doesn’t care about us?  I ask again why should I care?   I know that I am but one small voice in a sea of millions so I better shout it out:

I care because someone has to care, dammit!!

If there is to be any meaning in my insignificant scant-of-a-minute life it’s this: that I made a difference however small on the side of good and that I  took whatever sad, nasty or indifferent thing that came my way and turned it into something wonderful, however small.  I cannot  expect anything more or less. I want to leave this world a little better than how I found it.

I want to live in a world where people care about one another and I want my children…I want all the children and their children to grow up in such a world. There is too much ugliness, too much to tolerate. I suppose the way I cope with it is by not only ranting about it, but living up to the ideals I’m ranting about.

Kindness begets kindness and if more people gave a damn more people would give a damn. We all could use a little more kindness  And so there it is:  My spiel for the day. You can only do what you can do….

 

~NLM

 

 “The earth was overwhelmed with beauty and indifferent to it, and I went with a heart ready to crack for its unbearable loveliness.” ― Josephine Winslow Johnson

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16 thoughts on “Why You Should Give a Damn

  1. Pingback: Out in the cold | Life Is Color

  2. I think caring is very natural in a close community or tribe, of the sort in which we (and our psychology) probably evolved. But with so many people surrounding us everyday–unknown, often threatening–it’s hard to extend that caring to everyone, which is why family and church communities are so important to some sort of sanity. But some people do care about and for everyone–like the religious mystics, and perhaps like you–and they live with broken hearts.

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  3. I think one often gets the wrong impression from watching the news.

    News is, by accepted reporting standards, bad news. Good news does not sell, and consequently yes, we are bombarded by bad news from all around the world.

    And yet, that may be, in fact, an illusion of sorts.

    The world has always been bad, and in fact, much worse than it is now.

    If you can find it in the library, read this book:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Better_Angels_of_Our_Nature

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    • Mainstream news is “entertainment”. Whatever sells, sells. I choose not to watch it most of the time. I usually find better things to do. For instance like reading. I did read that book back in August of last year. I quite enjoyed it. Thanks for the recommendation. 🙂

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    • I liked the book so much I wrote a review of it for Goodreads: Steven Pinker’s excellent book “The Better Angels of our Nature” had me enthralled from page one. This is quite a feat and this is quite a book. The author gives a fact-filled account of much of the history of our very human culture of violence. He contends that we as a species are moving toward becoming a more pacified and peaceful people hence the better angels of our nature.

      The painfully slow pacification of mankind has been a personal observation of mine in recent years, that I have found agreement in this with such a learned author gives me hope this is a true happening. I confess this is what led me to read the book but I am glad I did.

      Being a regular reader of non fiction I know how rare it is to find an author who conveys information some may find dry in a way that made me enjoy reading this 696 page book.

      Well done Steven Pinker.

      Liked by 1 person

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