Bird Droppings February 1, 2015
Apathy is being there and never having really gone
I started out the door today before sunrise and my goal was to get a few pictures of the rising sun. Clouds hindered my quest as they hung low in the sky to the east. I went by my quiet spot and sat listening to the morning breeze and nature awakening on a clear winter morning. Around me birds chattered and branches creaked. After some time and a few pictures taken I came in side to write and the idea of apathy hit me. So sitting drinking a rather large cup of homemade green tea chai I am writing on this beautiful day.
“The problem isn’t materialism as such. Rather it is the underlying assumption that full satisfaction can arise from gratifying the senses alone. Unlike animals whose quest for happiness is restricted to survival and to the immediate gratification of sensory desires, we human beings have the capacity to experience happiness at a deeper level which, when achieved, can overwhelm unhappy experiences.” Dalai Lama
In a roundabout way is materialism the culprit in what we call apathy. Is it that we seek material means and are taught daily in advertising that happiness is in a new car, a new pair of shoes and or a new TV, and that will make us happy at last? In a major city, a law firm has put up a billboard with a scantily clad woman on one side and man on the other selling their expertise as divorce attorneys. The Dalai Lama in his quote states it is not materialism but the assumption we can be happy by simply gratifying the senses. It is the assumption that is the cause. We are trained in our daily lives of competition and constant media blitz that material needs are what we have to have and want. Although I find a young person’s comment on Facebook last year about this time rather intriguing. “I think it is amazing that they are having a football game during Beyoncé’s concert on TV.”
“Young people everywhere have been allowed to choose between love and a garbage disposal unit. Everywhere they have chosen the garbage disposal unit.” Guy Debord
“There must be more to life than having everything.” Maurice Sendak
We learn from those around us and from advertising how much better life is when you have things. The deeper level that the Dalai Lama speaks of is forgotten and that outer level of material satisfaction is all that is sought. Several days back I used the illustration of a vacuum. We literally become vacuums as we build walls around ourselves with things and material means. I recall our first garbage disposal. An amazing device although I never did learn not to attempt and feed it anything I could jam in. Of course I would also have to crawl under the sink and pull out chunks of stuff to unclog it as well which is not very pleasant.
“The best things in life aren’t things.” Art Buchwald
As I look down the row of books behind my back one after another are about finding that inner area. For centuries mystics, gurus, holy men and women have tried to explain that this is where real happiness exists. I have observed over the years many people and there have been happy people who were wealthy, but the wealth was not at the focus of their lives. I watch Bill Gates and Warren Buffet giving away and doing well with their billions. But still daily I hear the word apathy thrown about. As I look today is it apathetic when you cease looking for the inner self and are content to eat and breathe and sleep. Very few artists are apathetic neither are poets or musicians. The wealthy folks I mentioned who were happy were not apathetic. Apathy does seem strong at country clubs and social organizations where being there is the most crucial element. I am meandering a bit as I sit here thinking. You can find apathy anytime people are content to exist only for what they immediately need. It is when their search stops when the destination is reached and there is no more of a journey.
“Apathy is the destination and then there is no journey” Frank Bird learner, grandfather, teacher, and ponderer
As I think over observations made of students and teachers and people in general that statement makes sense where the desire to search or to journey is gone or never existed that is where apathy rules. Several months ago I received an email from a student as to why do I end each email with “keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts” I returned an answer, but years ago I received an answer from a friend.
“Amen Brother. You’re ‘all in harm’s way ‘is always a poignant reminder of my nephew in Baghdad, 32, his kids and wife at home. He is an MP. It couldn’t be much more in harm’s way than Shannon is right now.” My friend Weeder is a youth leader in Georgia and fellow organic gardening enthusiast
My end to each email is also a plea to think to look about you and who you are really. The term in harm’s way is so much more than simply a war in Iraq or elsewhere. In harm’s way could be an abusive situation, police officers on duty, fireman as they save lives, so many folks who each moment are in danger at one time or another, in harm’s way could be the destruction of the ozone layer or a wilderness area to drill for oil or banning books that make students think or so many more. Keep then in your hearts and on your mind all in harm’s way. As long as APATHY exists we will never, not (double negative) have people in harm’s way.
“Share your truth with the world; let it be received where it will be received. Many will read the truths as their own. Some will accept truths as their own. Some will reject your truths, yet will be sparked to find their own. Some will simply be curious. Some will ridicule. Some will be filled with fear. Some will anger and wish to do battle. Yet, to all of this I say again, speak your truth and all that remains is the power of choice of others, for your words are your truth.” Dr. Carla Goddard, Medicine Woman
I do believe peace is possible in our lifetimes if we truly want it and we can find enough people who do care about the journey. I am reminded of an elderly medicine man’s words. “Indians when in meditation or prayer are not asking for supplication or to fulfill wants but only to give thanks for what they have.” So please always give thanks. I began using a loose translation from Cherokee of thank you Wa de (Skee) to end my droppings a year or so ago and just recently changed but life is about giving thanks namaste.
My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)