Dislike vs Not Like: A General Sense of Apathy in the Modern World

There is a real difference between disliking something and not liking it. For example, you might not be particularly fond of the metal cover of your air conditioning vent, but you also probably don’t have any reason to be against it. You would be neither liking nor disliking the metal—all you care to know is that it exists and does its job properly.

Perhaps the best analogy is to Facebook, and it is a hypothetical analogy at that. Suppose Facebook has a “Dislike” option in addition to the “Like” one. Furthermore, suppose that you can’t hit both options, so that on any given status or post, your only choices are: (1) Like, (2) Dislike, or (3) Move On. What I am trying to say is that I would almost never choose (2), and that for almost anything, I will choose either (1) or (3). But it is not really option (1) that I am concerned about in this post. I care about (2) versus (3).

Now let’s create a hypothetical Facebook user; call him Aristotle. Suppose Aristotle updates his status to “I am eating an orange.” Most people would probably not care, and would not bother to hit Like or Dislike. Perhaps some of those ecstatic Orange fans will Like the status, and the Apple fans from the opposing side will Dislike it. But not many would.

Point is, there are a lot of things we don’t care the slightest about. This sentence is probably one of them. In fact, I don’t see why you are still reading this philosophical meta-discourse. Just flip to a different tab and pretend like you never saw this article.

If you’re reading this sentence, you stayed, which means you aren’t as apathetic as I had predicted. It turns out apathy is quite an important concept, making it ironically one of the concepts we should not be apathetic about.

Apathy is how we live in the current day. Ignoring things of unimportance has become a staple of modern existence. When we watch TV, we try our best to ignore the commercials, which is why many commercials have little to do with the product that they advertise—they work better by grabbing the viewer’s attention in any way possible and then displaying the brand name.

Surfing the Internet is even worse—the waters are cluttered by links, distractions, and ads. Even within a single site, for example, Facebook, we probably ignore over 80% of the things on our newsfeeds. We don’t even consider the possibility of Liking or commenting on each update.

We ignore things not because we dislike them, only because don’t care enough to like them. And because if we don’t ignore them, we would be so caught up in useless information that we would never have the time to do anything.

Now I ask you, the reader, for your opinion. Has this general attitude of apathy carried over to our real-live worlds? Are we becoming more apathetic in daily life?

For me, perhaps so. I notice I am ignoring many more things, though this may be only because of college culture. What do you think?

(Yes, I realize the contradiction here: a truly apathetic reader wouldn’t comment.)

One thought on “Dislike vs Not Like: A General Sense of Apathy in the Modern World

  1. not apathetic!

    Actually, the funny thing about college is that I find myself becoming more and more impassioned about things I am enthusiastic about — and I find that the people who really get into a certain thing will stay with them forever. Especially with things like causes. It’s difficult to be involved once you leave a network of peers that is constantly focused on becoming more involved, but I don’t think there is a general sense of growing apathy. I think there’s a general sense of too many things to be passionate about (Facebook and Twitter being the main medium for which people use to share these ideas) but not not caring about anything.


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