Thursday, June 12, 2014

Equality through Apathy and Indifference

So, I'm toying with a new personal motto or creed:  "Equality through Apathy and Indifference."

When I posted said motto on Facebook to hear general comments and feedback, one individual responded with, "Sounds like the easy way out."

I'm not entirely certain why her comment bothered me.  It shouldn't.  It's only her opinion and should only affect me if I cared about her opinion - and I like the think that I don't (because...well...I don't).  The truth is, however, that her comment bothered me because I made an assumption that she made an assumption.

Allow me to elaborate.  My creed:  Equality through Apathy and Indifference is short, succinct, and to the point.  It is also a little general or vague and could be misinterpreted depending on an individual's background or personal history (see this post for more information on differences).

My assumption was that the commenter saw my creed as something negative.  I assumed that she interpreted the words apathy and indifference to mean something other than what they were intended.  For example, perhaps she thought I meant one shouldn't care about anything.  I also assumed she did not spend the time to actually analyze what those five little words could possibly mean.

My assumption was that she assumed the worst based on her own experiences and acted upon her own assumption.

I don't know that to be the case, and really it doesn't matter.  I disagree with the notion that following a creed like this is "easy."

Before I get into the whys, however, I would like to ask:  Who cares if it's easy?  Why does everything have to be difficult?  I know that "they" say that good things never come easily, that you have to work (and work hard) for the best things in life, but I disagree with that philosophy as well (and I might post about that at a later date).

Here's why I disagree with the idea that my creed is an "easy way out."

First, let me fully clarify this creed.
  1. Equality:  The state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities.
  2. Through:  By means of (a process or intermediate stage).
  3. Apathy:  Lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern.
  4. and:  Used to connect words of the same part of speech, clauses, or sentences, that are to be taken jointly.
  5. Indifference:  Lack of interest, concern, or sympathy
In other words, I would argue for a processes that allows a state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities, for every creature on the planet by means of a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern, as well as a lack of interest, concern, or sympathy.

This is what I see on a daily basis.  We, as human beings, are constantly judging how others behave and react as if doing so creates some form of higher sense of self-worth, and in the process we subconsciously create barriers and categories that set others apart from ourselves.  Those barriers become stereotypes, and over time those stereotypes hinder the abilities of those other people to prove that they are anything but the stereotypes we have created in our minds.

Some time ago I listened to a radio broadcast out of Texas (I don't know how I stumbled upon this broadcast living in Minnesota, but that's not important).  The broadcast was a clip from a local morning show, and the radio personalities were discussing the abuse of government subsidies by American citizens.

These guys (they were all men - but that really doesn't matter) had apparently been decrying the "lazy bums" taking a "free ride" on the backs of American tax payers.  A local woman called to voice her opinion on the matter, and as it turned out she and her husband were taking advantage of all of the government subsidies programs available to them and refusing to work because she "can make more money on welfare than she could in a 'real' job."

Now, understand that this is a woman who isn't qualified for anything more than a job at McDonald's or Wal-mart.  She isn't going to make more than minimum wage.  Through the subsidies she and her husband receive, they pretty much live for free.  They have food stamps for food.  The government picks up the tab for her utilities (electric, gas, and water).  She only needs to pay $50 of her $1600 apartment rent.

I appreciated that one of the radio personalities was willing to listen to this woman honestly and ask her real questions that mattered about her situation, rather than jump down her throat as a lazy freeloader.

I can imagine the outrage of other citizens hearing this woman talk about, "If someone were to offer you a million dollars, wouldn't you take it?"  That's what she says she's doing.  She's taking the million dollars over her entire lifetime.  She has no plans on finding gainful employment.  She plans on living off of welfare for her entire life, and teaching her children how to do the same.

Why be upset about that?  That's simply one way to live.  It's different from how I live, but it isn't necessarily better or worse.  Is it?  This woman made a choice, and she's sticking to it.  It works for her.

I understand the argument both ways, and ultimately I don't care.  Equality through Apathy and Indifference.  I do not care about this woman and her plight, nor do I care about what her and "her kind" are doing to our system.

I need to care about me.

I'm not the kind of person who could live off of the government.  I have been instilled with the drive to perform well at whatever job I'm doing.  That's who I am.  That doesn't make me better.

Should I be upset that all of my hard work is paying for this woman to live?  Why?  I could be upset if I allowed myself to be, but what good will that do?  I did not create the government subsidies programs.  I am forced, by law, to pay into those programs through the taxes I pay.  I will be alive another forty-plus years and then I'll be dead and none of it will matter anyway.

So...why let it upset me so much...especially if I'm not going to lift a finger to do anything about it?

I could bitch and complain about what this woman is doing, or what a million other people are doing - believe me, my views are a far cry from what is normal and there is a lot of bitching and complaining I could be doing - but ultimately what good will any of that do?  I would bitch and complain, and then I would sit right back down and go about my daily life because, in the end, I need to worry about my immediate here-and-now, and not worry about what someone else is doing somewhere else.

So, back to my creed.  It shouldn't matter whether or not I agree with the motives, actions, or thoughts of anyone else.  There are many I don't agree with.  What does matter is that I shouldn't judge any of those people for them.  They are all the same as everyone else, because I care about them just the same...which is not at all.

We are all the same.  We might have different thoughts or opinions about what is important, but in the end, we are all human beings who live for a short time and then die.  Why should I waste that short amount of time worrying about what all these other people are doing?  I don't.  Simply put, I don't care.  Take advantage of government subsidies, pirate movies, music, and television shows online, be crazy.  I don't care because I'm too focused on being the best me I can be to worry about what you other idiots are doing.