Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Globalization of Indifference

Apathy is a lack of feeling when action would  not only be appropriate but required. Indifference is a synonym  for apathy and its opposite would be concern and sympathy. Many are the sermons that put apathy and not hate as opposed to love.It may be easier to go from hate to love than indifference to love.

A short article in the Catholic Times  draws  our attention to the subject. She mentions drinking coffee in the morning and those who see the face of a 5 year old child picking the coffee beans in the hot sun.  Not only in a far country but in Korea we have the indifference shown in many ways: to the handicapped, those with problems in marriage, the poor and suffering.

Pope Francis has mentioned often the globalization of indifference. Failure to see what is happening right before our eyes.  "'I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked" (Revelation 3:15-17).

We need to sympathize with the other, to walk in their shoes and to understand others who are hurting.These thoughts are not only expressed by Christians but by many others: philosophers and thinkers of other ages. Mahatma Gandhi said it well: "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service  of others."

Tragedy and apathy are at times associated. The Sewol tragedy was preceded by apathy, and many saw  apathy during and after the tragedy. The accident will not just disappear into history for the families of the victims will not allow this to happen, and  many in our society and in other parts of the world are joining the families.

Apathy is often triggered by market values that blind us to the importance of human life and its dignity.  Tragedy could have been averted but apathy  preceded the tragedy, incompetence during the tragedy, and mistakes made after the accident by the public, the media and the government.

Hopefully the apathy before the tragedy will be acknowledged and we will have complete transparency and be able to admit the faults committed and  prevent them from happening again. "When one suffers all suffer"  (I Cor, 12:26). We need to turn our vision towards those who are hurting.

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