George Bernard Shaw, a famous critic and playwright, once said. “The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that’s the essence of inhumanity”, This indifference towards other humans is what we call apathy. Apathy, defined by, is a word indicating a lack of interest, action, or emotion when someone isn’t interested in the important things that are happening. To put it simply, apathy is when people don’t care about things, or feel their choices or actions won’t affect anything. You may be thinking, “People care. Apathy isn’t an issue,” but it is. We see it everywhere from the moment we step into school to the news that’s constantly being broadcasted 24/7. We’ve become a society rooted in apathy. We need to realize it’s an issue and recognize the first steps we can take to change the current situation. This is an essential task to undertake as apathy is an important, all-encompassing issue that affects many lives in dramatic ways. First, I’m going to talk about how apathy comes to be. Next, how apathy affects people’s lives. Lastly, what we can do to initiate a change in our current situation. First of all, to understand how to solve a problem, we must figure out where it comes from.According to Pitlane Magazine 17, in the modern world, there is a sense that we are powerless. Not just in respect to our own personal lives where a lack of money and opportunities prevents us from achieving our goals, but also that the sheer incredible amount of the tough problems we face as a world community are insurmountable. Apathy also comes from a lack of self-esteem. People feel that what they personally do will make little difference in the outcome, without realizing that many individual actions makes a great difference. Apathy may still seem like a far-fetched concept. Is it something that really has real-life consequences? For one, apathy plays a key role in the bystander effect, which is defined as when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation. According to Rainn 16, (the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization) Bystanders may be present when sexual assault or abuse occurs – or witness the events that lead up to it. Each year, there are over 293,000 victims of rape and sexual assault in the U.S. Why don’t people help more often? Some common reasons bystanders remain on the sidelines include: “I don’t know what to do or what to say,” or “I’m sure someone else will step in.”Apathy also plays a key role in a topic that concerns our entire nation: politics. America’s government was built on an important concept: democracy. Democracy, defined by Oxford Dictionaries, is a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives. Therefore, it becomes a problem when a democracy stops representing the whole population. According to Collins 16 (Quartz reporter), in the states that held primary and caucus elections for both Republican and Democrat parties, millions of votes have been cast in favor of a candidate. But there’s another force that dwarfs these votes: the American tradition of apathy. About 100 million of eligible voters opted out of voting entirely. Only a quarter of the eligible population turned up to polls. In another article, according to Mohdin 17 (Quartz reporter), apathy is a terrible thing for democracy. Trump’s electoral success essentially hinged on the low turnout of voters. He won 26% of votes from eligible voters, but in key Democratic states, low turnout worked in his favor. If every eligible voter had voted in the election, perhaps the political scene would be drastically different and much less tumultuous. Political apathy also plays a more local view beginning with our own state’s senators and representative. According to Ramirez 17 (Refinery29 writer), people can impact things even by themselves by calling elected officials to show commitment to a cause. However, many people don’t even know who their senators or representatives even are in the first place. Social media also plays a part in modern apathy. Social media seems like an outlet for people to broadcast issues and to gain support, but it’s also a double-edged sword. From Keshia 17, (The Quartz Journalist) On April 9, 2017, a video of a man being dragged off a United Airlines flight went viral. The incident was all over American media and even incited outrage in China. However, there was something most people didn’t notice: a plane of quiet passengers. Other than one woman yelling, most were seemingly unbothered. This calm scene is a rather striking contrast to the uproar that played out hours later on social media. Instead of intervening, passengers took out their phones and pointed them toward David Dao, glasses askew and face bloodied. Their immediate response was not to speak out against what was happening, but to record the incident. The act of recording a violent event but staying silent is a modern representation of the bystander effect. In the past few years, there have been numerous videos depicting abuse that have been recorded and put online. In New Jersey in 2014, people watched and recorded as a woman was punched and kicked by a coworker. In Philadelphia in 2016, a man was beating and punching a woman in the streets while an observer recorded the event. Even in events of non-violence, like the case of a 2013 fire in Pincourt, Canada, observers recorded the house burning to the ground but no one called the fire department. This shows a serious problem with our society. In a time where recording harmful events is a more immediate response to helping, what does that say about us as a whole? After all, most of us do not bother to maintain an updated view of the knowledge of the world around us. We believe our individual action is not important. So, if apathy is the problem, what’s the solution? According to Puri 17 (a Youth advocate and fellow at Discovery District), be part of the conversation. Actively support and engage current efforts. Act against apathy. Awareness is not simply understanding the facts – it’s knowing how to act or what to say in response.It’s important to acknowledge that you as a single individual can affect the overall picture. Remember, the next time you want to make your voice heard, pick up that phone to call your state representative. Learn about what’s happening in the world and how you can help. See beyond the veil of simple ignorance that clouds ordinary citizens so you can become a better citizen in society. In conclusion, we know that apathy is caused a sense of powerlessness and lack of self-esteem, that serious problems come from apathy, and that the first step to changing things is to actively engage and support in important events. Change isn’t impossible. It begins with a single individual. Every single one of us has the capability to take the first step to caring more, feeling more, and learning more. As George Bernard Shaw says, the essence of inhumanity is indifference. Let us take the road to a more humane society.

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