The Future is Now (there is no future); Apathy & Time

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Pic by Sarah Hamm of Gilbert, Arizona. She had brought her two-week-old daughter Kaylee Rowland to meet her 101-year-old Grandma Rosa Camfield.

"But what about apathy? If you see people being indifferent about a task, is that contagious as well? This question was explored by by Pontus Leander, James Shah, and Stacey Sanders in a paper published in the August, 2014 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (link is external)....

We interpret the actions of the people around us. When we see people acting indifferently to a task, we know that they are expressing a lack of interest in that task. That lack of interest is then related to our existing commitment to a goal. When we are wavering in our commitment to a goal, then seeing others who are apathetic nudges us in the direction of giving up. When we are highly committed to a goal, then seeing others who are apathetic actually increases our commitment."

Ideas of commitment and apathy morph as our commitment to time wavers. Commitment requires an ideal of a future, something to plan for, commit to. We used to commit to marriage, having the dream of house, family, a good job, security... We used to commit to something a week later, now with choice, we postpone decision until moments before, weighing experience and time spent for value.

As we face a world transparent in it's lack of commitment, crooked politicians, economic disparity, social injustices, environmental destruction, defending ideals today is a difficult task. There is no way not to be part of the problem and/or be affected by our lack of commitment to each other. At some point, it is easy to see why people get apathetic, commitment resistant.

Time is getting more valuable than almost any other resource. Not only is technology speeding up our lives, giving us mind numbing, innumerable options and short duration communication; our environment is telling us we need to change, act fast, time is not on our side.

Does this affect our ability to commit to each other? Is this a process deconstructing values, or reconstructing meaning? Even though we may live longer than our predecessors, our future as a species is less predictable. Are we becoming more selfish or learning to live based on the idea that life is indeed, short.

 

 

 

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