Indifference: A Social Disease

If it doesn’t affect me, it’s not my problem: Indifference is a disease.

Recently, I had an accident in school, and it affected my health gravely. Consequently, a physician mandated me to wear a cervical collar and crutches to aid my recovery of said injury.

The hardest thing about my accident was not walking with the crutches or having to wear the cervical collar the whole day or even the pain in my back. The most painful thing about my accident was the indifference people had towards me. What do I mean with indifference? That people, not all of them, but plenty and mainly in my university would stare at me or look at me with pitiful looks on their faces about my current condition. This happened even more when I tried to walk or move from one place to another.

The way people looked at me was something that made me reflect on how dehumanized our society is right now. Our society is not very comprehensive nor helpful, and this is becoming a social disease that is spreading very fast. We live in a society that when your interests or needs are not affected, you don’t feel the need to aid someone whose interests and needs have been compromised in some way. This is also a great way of denying that the other person has dignity. By neglecting to accept the humanity of others and their worth, we now limit ourselves to recognize their social status, their influence, or their wealth. We become more and more materialistic instead of becoming more human.

Thomas Hobbes stated “a man is a wolf to man” in the Leviathan as he describes that the natural state of men is the desire and will to cause harm. What Hobbes argues is something that I could see reflected in so many political crisis: in those displaced and in refugees, all of them victims to governments and societies that couldn’t possibly be more indifferent to their needs and issues. Now, for many, the issues of those people can be fixed by liking or sharing the issues on social media, instead of actually doing something that can make an impact on the situation of all these people in a real way. This is when we, as a society, lose the sense of what it really means to respect the dignity and the value of being human.

Indifference is the complete opposite of social commitment. A person becomes indifferent to another because the feeling of responsibility and respect towards humanity doesn’t mean anything to him anymore. Indifference is something that hurts those who are already suffering pain, as it is a lack of recognition to their humanity, and therefore, dignity. People get reduced into objects, as the subject of the relationship decides deliberately to objectify them. The grave impact that this has on a societal level is something that continues to develop and we will continue to see.

There is hope on how to fix this as the World Youth Alliance has several programs that support the battle against this indifference. With programs that build character, like the Human Dignity Curriculum, WYA is trying to build a society of people that live respecting human dignity, and therefore, show solidarity to one another. WYA also goes ahead and explains several topics that could clearly show the importance of respecting said dignity. If you’re interested, you can apply to their Certified Training Program and learn more about it through the several readings that exemplify everything. We need to cure this disease of indifference and start considering the other as an equal to us, as we were all born equal in dignity, worth, love, and life.

Written by Brenda Morales, a former WYA Latin America intern from Mexico.