Seniors: What is Your Apathy Scale?

Jul 15th, 2011 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Apathy: the art of not knowing and not caring.  This may not rank as an official definition, but it certainly capsulizes how many of us seniors are beginning to feel  It may be a self delusional practice, but apathy is a growing phenomenon which seems to protect persons from the troublesome negatives of this time.  Head in the sand behavior is often found to stave off all the garbage that swirls around us on any given day.

When, with friends recently, we recounted how we had been so absorbed by the last national election.  We were caught up in the spirit of the thing, the call for change, the hope for something better, more health and vitality within the body politic.  Then came the elections of 2010, and the hope that had been generated headed south, downhill, off the cliff.  The courage and foresight that seemed to have been promised were now lying dormant in the middle of political infighting.  The economy tanked, unemployment skyrocketed, wars multiplied, pettiness took over.

So, now here we are in the middle of a schoolyard tussle over stuff, most of which is quite petty and unrelated to the real issues that affect our lives. The apathy scale grows.

Here are some identifying features of that scale.

  • Finding yourself less inclined to engage in watching news broadcasts or talk shows on political and world issues.
  • Talking back less to those on TV espousing their points of view.
  • Avoiding Internet chats which are ultimately couched in ignorance and anger
  • Protecting your own blood pressure from the invasion of subjects which raise it to unhealthy numbers.
  • Disregarding polls illustrating the positions of large groups of people on subjects of political interest.
  • Refusing to read editorials while no longer writing letters to the editor.
  • Turning your back or turning off your hearing aid in the presence of those who are arguing political points of view.
  • Refusing to engage or be engaged by anyone whose perceptions are rigid and inflexible.
  • Changing the subject, when possible, with persons who try to sneak in a conversation that leads nowhere.
  • Refusing to take the bait when someone takes you on because they think they know where you stand.
  • Disallowing anyone to have power over your adrenaline when it comes to world issues.

Some of these are self protective measures to keep your own integrity and peace of mind intact.  Some may be self centered, disallowing the presence of those in your circle who create mayhem.  Some are simply common sense, about which there is little in many of today’s conversational exchanges.  Seeking civility may require some borderline rudeness.  Try to keep your own values and sensibilities from being marauded by those who now seem to have been given Absolute Truth.  They haven’t.  You likely won’t change them, so find ways to exercise an apathy that quells and deters them.  That will mean apathy has served you well. Remember Patrick Moynihan’s counsel:  “You may be entitled to your own opinions.  You are not entitled to your own facts.”



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