[Hpn] Apathy

Anitra Freeman anitra@speakeasy.org
Sat, 29 Apr 2000 00:42:18 -0700 (PDT)

An essay written Thursday for StreetWrites ...

I have long held the opinion that apathy is overwhelm: people become
apathetic when they believe that a problem is too big for them, or that
they can't do anything about it.

On Good Friday, I walked the Seattle Stations of the Cross event with
my friend Michele Marchand.  We were encouraged to use the walk for
silent meditation, and I found myself contemplating one of the central
themes of Christianity -- the weakness of human beings, and the power of
God.  This idea is very easy to misuse, to justify surrendering all
human responsibility.  Yet I have also found it a very empowering
idea: I am able to function fairly cheerfully in spite of all stress and
obstacles because I just focus on doing what I do and leave the results
up to the Universe.  I accept that I cannot do everything: I just do
what I can.

But, I found myself wondering, how does this make me any different from
the Seattle City administration.  They also say "We are doing all that
we can about homelessness.  We can't do everything."

Michele said that the difference is where each of us draws the line of
"I have done all that I can."  And Seattle City administrators draw it
far too soon.  They have more power than we do, and can do so much more
-- yet we are doing more, in many cases, than they are.

Ultimately, perhaps, apathy is underestimating yourself.

Write On! / Anitra L. Freeman / http://www.speakeasy.org/~anitra/
"Never doubt that a small group of imperfect people can improve the
world--indeed they are the only ones who ever have." Not Margaret Mead