The funny thing about places strong in the Force is that you start to see things. Hear things…things that you ought to hear, but may not want to. So it was on the Sith tomb world of Korriban as I traveled through the decrepit ruins of a temple. Along the way I was confronted by my companions, each in turn, presenting me with a choice. And each time, I answered in a way that attempted to cut down the middle, appease everyone without taking a stand.
And at the very end, they each judged me alike, admonishing me. “Apathy is death.” echoed in the room, through my mind. “Apathy is death” would be the words to follow me in my journey and my search, subtly affecting all my actions.
Now, if you are in any way paying attention, I am obviously not talking about my own personal journey. Rather, this happens to the Jedi Exile in Knights of the Old Republic II. In a more complete game, “Apathy is death” might have been addressed more clearly, however, this does not mean it is not an important life lesson.
Lately, this article has been floating around. To summarize, it is a baffled look at the tendency of millennials to think that not knowing how to be a functional adult, at the most basic level, is somehow a positive thing. They think that being incompetent or lazy is cute or desirable. This is, of course, inane and foolish.
However, it occurred to me that there is something far worse happening with today’s youth, which goes beyond mere narcissism: Apathy.
Millennials are not just being lazy when they let the laundry pile up in the corner. They do not just think it is cute when they order take out every day of the week because they hardly know how to cook. It is not just them thinking it quirky when they cannot manage their money.
It is apathy.
They simply have no desire to actually be functional adults. The will to be respectable, capable, and dependable does not exist within them. Millennials simply do not care.
Now we see the results daily. The young adults who meander through life without any real or serious goals: apathy toward the future. They do not get their lives in order because they have no real desire to actually get their lives in order. The future is far away and nothing to worry about.
The college students who demand safe spaces on college campuses: apathy towards different opinions. Sure, they have intense, angry reactions to opinions with which they disagree. However, in the end, their true reason for seeking safety from disagreement is that they simply don’t care about opinions different from theirs. It is much easier to not care at all.
The people who attach themselves to every half-baked social justice cause cooked up on the internet: apathy towards making a real difference. It is easy to make a lot of noise on the internet. It is easy to yell obscenities at cops during a protest. It is easy to call people you have never met bigots and xenophobes. What is hard is to actually change these things, to do something meaningful which might actually have an impact on the world. One can watch from the sidelines, saying “This is awful/great” while excusing oneself by saying “This is far from me” or “It cannot touch me here, in my little bubble.”
Life on this Earth invariably trends downward: we all get older, that which was once new atrophies. To spend your life doing nothing with yourself because you are indifferent won’t stop death from arriving. Apathy is death because inaction inevitably means that you build nothing up. You can do nothing good, nor can you prevent bad from happening.
Apathy is the worst kind of death; the death of a life lived to its smallest, of potential thoroughly wasted. And an entire generation has grown up apathetic to life itself.