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.
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.