Why is the word of the month “Apathy”?
I do not know. Nor do I care.
See what I did there?
No? Oh, well.
I’m presently perched upon a chair I do not own.
I’m sitting in a VRBO rental on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Outside the window next to me, the bird song is going hog wild. And I don’t even care that the preceding phrase pushes me halfway to a mixed metaphor.
Back here in the gnarled old-growth trees beneath a glorious cerulean sky that’s as blue as blue gets until you start paying big money for glorious sapphires the size of paperweights, this hog-wild birdsong glory is free.
Free, free, free!
Well, it’s “free” in that the VRBO landlord is not charging extra.
You still require the credit card it takes to book a Gulf Coast VRBO rental that has old growth trees in the back yard.
But I digress. And still, I care not a whit nor a whipporwill.
I’m also apathetic that the now-Oscar-winning film Nomadland and the fearsome Frances McDormand do not clearly have an agenda to make Amazon look like The Great Satan of American business.
If I weren’t so apathetic, I might care more that Nomadland isn’t even much of a story.
But since Nomadland (as The Bard would say) is to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature vis á vis American behavior here in the first quarter of the 21st century where nobody speaks in Elizabethan English any more, I accept Nomadland as art.
And art doesn’t care what I think, so why should I waste any energy on the alternative?
I’m even apathetic that none of what precedes this sentence makes much sense.
But what is apathy?
Funny you should neither ask nor care.
Apathy is a lack of feeling. A lack of emotion. It is about harboring neither interest nor concern about something.
Apathy is a state of indifference.
To that, I say, Meh.
Much more interesting is that the word “apathy” is derived from the Greek "ἀπάθεια."
Does that word even look like Greek to you? It does to me. But that all probably depends upon one’s computer and whether it cares to display characters of the Greek alphabet.
But in translation to English and the Latin alphabet (if you care), that word in Greek is “apatheia,” which comes from the Greek root “apathēs,” which means "without feeling."
If you remember your “A” prefixes from that day in middle school where you slept through English class, you know but may not care that the letter “A” means "without” or “not."
And if you’re familiar with the word “pathos,” which means “emotion,” you might care (or not) to deduce that “apatheia” means "without emotion."
Wikipedia (again!) tells us it is important to not confuse the two terms “apathy” and “apatheia.”
That’s because somebody was somnambulant at the switch that day in The Clarity Division of the Greek-To-English Root Words Department.
They clearly did not care that “absence of emotion” or “absence of passion” in the guise of “apatheia” was used by those laugh-a-minute Stoics to signify a desirable state of indifference towards events and things which lie outside one's control.
Can’t do anything about it? Just don’t care!
You see, the Stoics believed that their school of philosophy offered monthly subscribers a much better way to live.
All things around us are exterior! We cannot control them! Be responsible only for your own representations and judgments!
In other words, apatheia is a virtue.
But apathy as we know it in our culture is a bad thing.
In fact, Christianity decries apathy as a deficiency of love and devotion to God and His works.
And that leads us down the slippery slope to Sloth, which (as we all know but often don’t care) is one of the Seven Deadly Sins.
So, depending upon your stance, my morning apathy amidst the birdsong here at the edge of a white sand beach in the magnolia state is either spiritually abhorrent or philosophically commendable.
Also, you probably don’t care. Good for you.
Your Lean, Mean Creative Director in Park City
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Blaine Parker is prone to ranting about any and all things related to brand. In many ways, he is a professional curmudgeon. While there is no known vaccine for this, the condition is also not contagious. Unless you choose it to be so.