“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”
~Elie Wiesel, 1986.
It’s that thing we often can’t pinpoint, that grating thing that incessantly annoys us in the midst of our more apathetic relationships. Try as we might we just can’t get it—the rapport we desire—over the line! The indifference of lukewarmth over even the cold is stark. At least the cold have their reasons—fair or not—to be cold.
So far as faith is concerned there are never quite as many raging heretics as there are those indifferent about their faith—or indifferent about others’ expression of faith. It is always so disappointing to see people criticise others in how they choose to worship. And at the end of the day, as we’re all—as a fact of life—hypocrites from time to time, we’re also very much heretics from time to time also. And yet, heresy repented from is nothing compared to wilful indifference.
The apathy of the world is a resonant anti-life. It kills the life out of relationships; passion afloat, it meanders effervescently and at times irretrievably into the ether.
And when passion has taken its leave of absence, intimacy is not too far off that journey either; the rankly apparent lack of reason and resolve sputters the relationship headlong, silently into an abyss.
Indifference is even beyond complaint—the stench of lethargy and disinterest confusing its targets. There’s a ‘go figure!’ response in and about the person on the receiving end.
But far better is the opposite of indifference. How would we define this? Care, concern, passion, commitment, love, full-flavour, emotional and spiritual investment; it’s that generous sense of grace in relationships.
And if we’re even the least bit concerned about our relationships and the legacies we’ll inevitably be leaving—yes, right now, yesterday; five weeks ago—we’ll tackle our indifference and make plans to deal with it once and for all... well, at least as far as we possibly can.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.