Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Age of Apathy- The Sunday Collage

It's no secret that I put a little extra effort into my Sunday blogs. As my life unfolds and I rewind my historical observations and compare them to my current observations... some things come into sharp focus. I love to study all things human. They fascinate me.

So today I shall ramble with a purpose. As we approach the finish, it will all make sense. I think.

Frustrated by the lack of quality leaders or politicians back in 2006, I asked a friend of mine who was also a police chief, why we had such crappy political leadership and why quality people- of which there were hundreds- never seemed to run for office in Moonbat Valley. Indeed, many positions go uncontested, to this very day.

My friend responded with this. People come to Moonbat Valley to escape the rat race, the pressure of the city and to have a good time. They are rich liberals who really don't care about government. They may have at one time- but they have now secured their own little fortunes and government is no longer a concern to them. In fact, politics is one of the very last things they want to discuss. People don't care. You cannot make apathetic people care either- because that by it's very definition is apathy. That's why government sucks. People don't care about it anymore.

I pondered this for some time and I came to believe that it was true. That answered the first part of my question and today I hold the same belief. The majority of people in this country are either ill informed or simply don't care about politics at any level. They would rather floss their teeth with sandpaper. My ex hated politics. She refused to vote in order to escape jury duty. She has never been called.

So what about those good people? How come they never run? The answer to that question took several years for me to discover. First stop was Shakopee, Minnesota, circa Aug 1 of 2007, the day before the bridge collapse in Minneapolis.

I had pulled into a gas station as I toured the US on my Honda Valkyrie. I caught a Mexican man staring at my bike which was fully loaded. "God I wish I could do that" he said to me. That's what he used for openers. We talked for 45 minutes. Toward the end of the conversation I mentioned that I was going to spend the winter in New Orleans. He told me that I wouldn't like it. When I asked why, he said you will hate the black mentality although black is a much kinder word than the one he used. When I asked why... he said,  (and although I don't have it verbatim this is damn close) "They are missing the American dream. They think they are entitled to government handouts because they are the grandchildren of slaves. So rather than do anything with their lives, they sit around and bitch about the government and white people. They are professional victims." Then he said the kicker.

"They have no idea what it is like to be dirt floor poor. No gratitude whatsoever."

His comments were directed at blacks but as I left that place I wondered about me. Had I become a victim? And if I had, what was the solution? In New Orleans that fall, I met many unemployed blacks. I didn't see it that simplistically- they simply had no means with which to compete in a competitive environment. Lacking any kind of preparation may be a symptom of being poor- but I am not convinced it is a symptom of skin color.

So I think for a guy lacking spirituality, my spirit guide sent me to New Orleans. A miracle happened to me there. I had arrived in New Orleans while still hating the world. I had isolated and pissed off everyone I knew and I had recently become divorced. Miraculously, as the alcoholic and self centered fog that had been my life lifted, a miracle happened. For the first time in my life, I developed an incredible sense of gratitude. Gratitude is the foundation and the polar opposite of pity, of being a victim, of being self centered, of whining about your problems. In New Orleans I saw real problems. People diseased and dying. Stealing from each other, living under the bridge. There weren't going to be any retirements for them, no Chief of Police gigs, no Harley Davidsons, no Ralph Lauren sweaters.

When I heard a guy say he was grateful for clean socks, a guy living under the Claiborne bridge, it changed my life. At first I went huh...I just stared at him. When in my entire life had I been grateful for anything...let alone clean socks? I had found the solution and solved the riddle. The solution was perspective, humility and mostly gratitude. Some Mexican guy in Shakopee had said that. I guess I just needed a demonstration. I became profoundly grateful after that day. It changed my life. I took stock. I had some money, some toys, a decent resume, decent health. I eat well. I can string a few words together. I have clean socks. For the most part, I forever parted company with self pity, victimization, blaming others, and to some degree, self centered-ness.

Gratitude cures all of that?

Yes, it does. Show me a consistently happy person at work or a consistently happy person in a wheelchair and I will show you a grateful person. Show me a person focused on all of the gifts that they have received instead of that "forever wanting sickness" that seems to plague and infect our society- and I will show you someone who has found the solution.

So what does this have to do with apathy? I told you I'd get ya there...

Apathy is a symptom of self centered-ness. Self centered ness is a spiritual disease wherein the patient is only concerned with himself. Self absorbed or greedy people don't help others out of a profound sense of gratitude that life has given them abundance. Instead they are forever wanting something else. They are focused on what they don't have and how to acquire it- rather than what they do have or how they could put that to good use.

It's not that these people are stupid. They are just unconscious. This is something they may, or may not learn. They are on a journey of their own. Giving freely of oneself, without expecting anything in return, is a higher order of thought. It is selfless and it flows out of a sense of gratitude. That is the only genuine source. It is spiritual.

Unfortunately, we entered the age of apathy some time ago. Most people care very little about others. It is evident in the way that they talk, in the way they behave, even the way that they drive. Apathy has infected them. They are focused on earning more and more money, acquiring more and more things, coveting bigger houses and faster cars, credentials, boob jobs, and cellphones. Entitlement is what these folks possess. They deserve these things and you will hear them say that. The idea of helping people beyond their inner circle is seen as something wasteful and nebulous. They cannot see a larger picture or a potential ripple effect because they are forever focused on the micro view. What's in it for me? Our politicians run for office not out of a profound sense of helping others- but with some hidden agenda that benefits nobody other than themselves.

I can't deny the age of apathy exists- because the evidence is all around me. I can't really fight it because the other side doesn't care and I'm not here to change their minds. All I'm left with then.. is acceptance and some hard earned knowledge that gratitude is the spiritual key to caring about somebody other than myself. It's odd and I can't explain it fully but a sense of entitlement seems to have the opposite effect.


Anonymous said...

Thought provoking. The only questions I ask myself as time goes by and I grow more aware of how truly ignorant and pitiful I am as a human being is: would I live life over again if I could? And what would I change, if anything? So far, no answers.

Brian said...

I remember feeling that level of confusion just prior to traveling to New Orleans.
Let's hope you find some answers soon.

Anonymous said...

Thank you.

conservativesonfire said...

You do much more than string a few words together, Brian. I've told you before that you missed your calling.

The term professional victims in reference to blacks is something I have said many time. The difference I have with the Hispanic gentleman, is I always used i to describles blacks that did escape poverty and were living the good life. I'm talking about those who succeeded in professional sports, or in music, preashers who have garnered national fame, but mostly those grabbed the golden ring in Hollywood. They have everything they could ever want yet they became professional victims. Blame everything on whites and they haye this country that was built by rich white men. They do nothing to help those from the neighborhoods where they came from, how to learn skill set they will help them succeed in the world. Instead they tell the poor blacks that all their problems are still due to the white man and his govrnment. It is very sad.

I agree with you, Brian. Beinggrateful is the key. Fantastic post, my friend.

Brian said...

Thanks Jim. You have been a nice supporter and an all around good guy. Maybe some day we shall meet...

BDR said...

I just stumbled upon your blog from another site and your thoughts are resonating with mine at the moment. I've been thinking upon what it means to be rich. I have a house, food, shelter and toys but am I rich? Why yes, yes I am in many respects. Do I have a difficult time thinking that I'm not rich enough? Yes, yes I do.

The thing is I've lived poor once upon a time and I never want to be there again. It is hard to admit that I covet wealth out of fear of being poor again. Is that greedy and self centered? Most certainly, but is it wrong? I give what I can to charity and I am grateful for what I have now. But memories of an aching belly and the desire to never have my son experience that feeling keep me grasping for more.

Brian said...


I really liked your comment. I think your questions are fair and sincere.

I don't think there is anything wrong with possessing a few things. I also don't think there is anything wrong with wealth storage and preservation. We all fear finding ourselves broke and powerless over our lives.

Maybe we cross the line when...

In my case, the problem occurred when (a) I thought I was entitled to all of those things (b) and I was not satisfied. The damage occurs when you are so busy fulfilling your own needs that you neglect the needs of everyone else around you. (excluding immediate family) You become fully self absorbed as you want and covet more. You begin to rationalize that somehow you are better or more entitled than your peers or co-workers. You are never satisfied- or worse, obsessed. You seek every advantage.

It is something you have to ask yourself. Only people that practice self examination and honesty, can do this. The vast majority of people will take care of their own needs exclusively, lying and rationalizing that it's ok Usually it is about acquiring money and things but sometimes those are only symptoms. Some people crave power over others- it makes them feel better about themselves. It is a sickness. A spiritual malady and the people who possess it often don't even know they have it. The part I don't understand is why some people get it and others do not. Maybe the self absorbed see nothing in it for them.

Thanks for stopping by...


Anonymous said...

Like being born left handed, or with curly hair, or gay, my own belief is that the arrogant, the conceited, the narcissistic...are born that way. I believe strongly that nature has the upper hand 9 times out of 10 and that nurture (or environment) can either heighten or diminish what a person is, but can never completely eliminate the core of what a person is. Show me the child at 7 and I'll show you the man at 70. A frog does what a frog does and a scorpion does what a scorpion does, it's in their nature (google "the frog and the scorpion", anyone, if you don't understand the reference).

Brian said...

It's hard to argue that because we see it all the time. Sometimes I think, we change because we get so desperate that we must. I was on of those campers. I remember reading "The Four Agreements and a New Earth" and saying, "Wow, was it always this simple?"