APATHY - human disorder? 

''Science may have found a cure for most evils, but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all    -the apathy of human beings,'' Helen Keller  [1880- 1968]

According to Helen Keller, apathy is the worst possible evil for which no cure is available. It must be remembered that Keller was deaf and blind lady who, overcame her disabilities to become a famous writer, political activist and a lecturer.

Having led a tough life, it seems understandable that she received not only innumerable compliments but also had to face many adversaries in her struggle in trying to make America a socialist country.

In her biography, ''Story of my Life'', Keller observed the newspaper columnists who spoke highly about her courage and intelligence, before she started professing her socialist leanings, began to hold her physical shortcomings responsible for her 'mistakes' in harboring her socialist views. Talking about a particular editor of the ''Brooklyn Eagle'' Keller writes :

''At that time the compliments he paid me were so generous that I blush to remember them. But now that I have come out for socialism he reminds me and the public that I am blind and deaf and especially liable to error.

I must have shrunk in intelligence during the years since I met him...... Oh, ridiculous Brooklyn Eagle! Socially blind and deaf, it defends an intolerable system, a system that is the cause of much much of the physical blindness and deafness which we are trying to prevent.

This clearly highlights apathy prevalent in our society where non-conformism is attributed to mental or physical deformities where there is nothing else to lay the blame on.

We do understand apathy as a state of mind where there is a loss of interest or emotions - a sort of  'I don't care' attitude towards anything in general, and something in particular.

This could be on two accounts. Either there is a physical ailment because of which people are unable to respond or are incapacitated on account of some mental disorder because of which they are unable to perceive a volatile situation.

For example a child who accidentally falls down the stairs would be quickly picked up by a sympathetic person but maybe left crying by someone who is both blind and deaf or one whose absent-mindedness may prevent him from proactively reacting to the child's tribulation.

However, empathy syndrome would be explicitly visible in the case of normally fit person who chooses to simply look away without coming to the rescue of the child.

With due respect to Helen Keller who considered apathy as evil and despite the fact that for majority of the people, it is most distressing to have around them persons with extremely callous attitude, apathy can be taken with positive stride.

The honor of  serving of the operational research on Apathy, continues. the World Students Society thanks author and researcher Lawyer, and Adjunct Faculty at Lahore University of Management Sciences.


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