On the one side of the emotional spectrum, there’s joy and meaning and delight and fulfillment.
These are the moments when we’re at our best and highest. We feel so alive that we could take on the world.
On the other end of the emotional spectrum, there’s apathy and disgust and sadness and dread.
These are the moments when we’re at our worst and lowest. When we feel like life has ground us into a meaningless pulp.
And yet, that’s a version of aliveness too. Negative as those feelings may be, they still contain useful energy that can be converted into initiative and momentum.
Ask anyone who creates for a living, and most of them are secretly grateful anytime life gives them the gift of desperation. It’s all just grist for the mill.
The problem, then, is what to do when we’re stuck in the middle. Floating in the purgatory of indifference. Taken over by a great big empty nothing. Because there’s no convertible energy there. It’s the absence of an emotional reaction. You feel nothing. Flat. Sterile. Exactly zero fucks given.
Shaw was accurate when he observed that the worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them, that’s the essence of inhumanity.
In fact, here’s cultural proof that indifference is the enemy.
Marist, the highly respected national public opinion poll, conducts an annual survey to uncover the most irritating word in modern language. What’s fascinating is, topping the charts almost every year since the late nineties is the eternally grating, infinitely annoying, highly dismissive, super unsatisfying word, whatever.
That’s what people say when they don’t feel like feeling. When they’d rather hide behind a mask of indifference.
In fact, every time a person defaults to that response instead of expressing how they really feel, we get the sudden urge to reach across the table and beat them with the nearest blunt object. Because then, at least they’ll feel something.
And so, next time you find yourself trapped in the emotional purgatory of indifference, just notice it. No need to change and repair and solve and overcome your situation. Just notice it.
And trust that you’ll move out of whateverland soon enough.
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What are you missing hiding behind a mask of indifference?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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