Love-Hate Relationships Don’t Exist but Apathy Certainly Does
Why you say? I bet you think the opposite of love is hate and the opposite of hate is love. Wrongo. The opposite of both is indifference or apathy. Indifference and apathy both mean to not care, to ignore, to have no attachment to in any manner, including a negative one. It makes sense. Loving and hating require lots of energy, time and attention. They both require thought processes and memories. Sometimes they result in actions in the extreme, or repetitive actions. They can both be obsessive and selfish.
To be apathetic or indifferent means to not exert energy, and to not acknowledge. That person is nothing to you; neither pro nor con and certainly not worth worrying about. That person has no power over you and simply doesn’t factor into your life. In fact, so inattentive are you that you may be quite unaware the depth of their emotions. You may even be unaware that they exist. If they operate in any context with you, it is utterly meaningless and not worth noticing. That’s where the expression “I’m not going to argue with you,” possibly originates from: you just aren’t worth the effort and you don’t matter anyway.
An apathetic individual in the extreme (not merely one who doesn’t hate or love),experiences an absence of interest in or concern about emotional, social, spiritual, philosophical and/or physical life. Necrophiles could come under this category, as they see nothing positive in living, and only find some sort of release through preoccupation with death. An indifferent person may lack a sense of purpose or meaning in his/her life. He or she may also exhibit insensibility or sluggishness. They sound like the living dead. I think of people of that nature (and possibly I know of one) as zombie-like, without chasing people down for their brains. Rather, it’s that zombie state induced by a sedative or an extreme lack of sleep. They’re there, but not really.
Can you imagine living your life that way? I doubt you do or you wouldn’t be a person who reads blogs in your spare time. Finding meaning and purpose in nothing and believing life is an unimportant existence we are simply born into is the life of a necrophile or true apathy. That would be a fun friend on a Saturday night. In psychology, apathy is a result of feeling one doesn’t possess the skills required to confront a challenge. Or some individuals have developed the phenomenon known as learned helplessness. Learned helplessness was a theory founded by psychologist B.F. Skinner, although it was later proven incorrect by Seligman and Maier. Their theory suggested that a human or animal could be conditioned into believing in their own helpless in a given situation, even if there are opportunities for escape. An interesting anecdote which has nothing to do with anything was the rumour that B F Skinner forced his infant daughter into a box for several hours a day for two years. He practiced operant conditioning on her with severe punishment and “bright rewards”. Ultimately she became psychotic and committed suicide by shotgun at the age of 31. All nonsense. Truly this rumour wasn’t started by anyone within an apathetic state of mind. Just a loser. Or a nihilist.
I read an interesting quote today: Hate is love in it’s ugliest form. Interesting. I have to mull that over since it eradicates the theory that hate and love have nothing to do with one another. My brother once was roommates with a young man who must have suffered from a personality disorder. I don’t know if it was existentialism, existentialist nihilism, or neither, but this guy was something else. He didn’t have a relationship with my brother, he just sort of tolerated him (even though my bro’ is an extremely likeable and funny man). He barely had conversations with him and when he did they were critical and blameworthy. Once, my brother asked if he could bring his girlfriend over to watch a movie; his roommate assured him it was no problem. When they got there, the roommate had placed a videotape just at the edge of a video player and written on its spine ‘FUCK OFF.” Just hearing about that incident gave me chills. Certainly that had to be nihilism of some sort. In that case, the nihilist was eroding himself, not my brother or his girlfriend. That’s one of the many oddball concepts about nihilism: it does more harm to the nihilist than those who reject it.
Which brings us back to apathy, indifference and love and hate. Perhaps it is all of this balled up together that leads to stalkers and their victims. If hate is indeed love in its ugliest form, do the two together make a stalker? The stalker lays claim to a victim who may not even be aware of his or her existence. Pathetic, really. Which is worst? The victim who has no idea the stalker exists or the victim who simply has no regard for the idiot, unaware of the danger s/he may be in? (Of course I’m not talking which is worst for the victim). Perhaps it is more pitiful to be utterly unknown by one’s obsession than to be disregarded. Invisibility has got to be more of an insult.
All of the aforementioned convinces me that of all the dangers and negativity in the world, apathy has to be one of the worst. Picture an apathetic community, school community, government, medical system, law enforcement, and indifference to social norms. I wouldn’t want to live in that society. The only hope I suppose would be escape from that community (in the event that this environment hasn’t instilled learned helplessness). In the event that it has, there’s always suicide; the ultimate apathy, when a person doesn’t have enough regard for life to value his or her own.
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