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Thread: United States of Apathy?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    United States of Apathy?

    I think that most of the problems in the US could be taken care of if people actually cared. Now we have some people who genuinely care about their health, community, and finances, but there are all too many people who just realistically donít care. Last year, more people tuned in to see who was going to get kicked off the island, then walked into a library and more people voted for the next American Idol, than voted. I am sure that each day, there are more people who eat at fast food places than exercise, and more people will ignore the trash on the side of road in front of their houses, then there are to clean it up. The average American is overweight, financially broke, and under educated and I think it is mostly a result of being apathetic about their lives.

    Today while at lunch, I witnessed a person take several steps into a mud puddle with basic tennis shoes on, instead of walk around it. While I donít know if they were waterproof shoes, my guess from their reaction was they werenít, but they still trudged into the water.

    Just imagine if people stopped eating at many of these fast food places and started exercising. The health industry as we know it would have to completely reorganize because people would not need to go to the doctor as much. Heart disease, diabetes, and several other ailments would be greatly reduced.

    If people truly cared about politics and not just voting for the candidate with the best media coverage, politicians would stop following special interest money and start doing what is best for the voters. We would not be choosing the lesser of two evils, but having elected officials that actually have the ability to make the world, and our lives far better.

    If people stopped spending more than they make, prices would equalize out, people would take care of their possessions, and the concept of quality would actually be a consideration for many. Additionally, people would start requiring better customer service when they do their shopping.

    If people actually cared about their jobs and started to learn more about their trade, the quality of work, pride, and success would be unimaginable. Too many people are just working for the weekend and doing the minimum to get a pay check. The Amish have known this for a very long time and the quality of Amish Built Furniture has

    But this is just what I think.

    What are your thoughts regarding the apathy epidemic in America? Why is this happening? Have we become a country that just does not care anymore? Is it even possible to reverse this trend? What would it (quality of living, communities, country, world) be like if it was able to be reversed?
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  2. #2
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    This is a pretty massive topic.

    Are you familiar at all with the concept of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft societies? America is the most extreme case of the latter that has ever existed and it's one of the reasons for the malaise we are inflicted with. We're a society with a weak sense of the common good, weak social ties, and low cultural cohesiveness. This is a huge country that should probably be several nations rather than just one. That said, I believe what's missing is a sense of shared destiny. We need something to unite us, something that resonates with us in a way that the banality of everyday life can't. My own take is that in the near future, climate change and peak oil will force us to either become the society we have the potential to be or cause things to devolve into a Mad Max-type scenario. The real "us" will be revealed. It's all up to us.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Like Michaelskis I too observe the apathy that inundates US society on a daily basis. Heck I have become so obsessed with the topic that I almost wish I was an apathetic soul not caring about his lot in life, just waiting for the next commercial to end and prime time reality show to begin.
    HOWEVER, I cannot do this.

    Like MacheteJames I believe that a common goal, or something for all to live for will have to unite us in the future. None of that is happening now but I think it will in the future.

    In the meantime, don't get frustrated, Skis, just be the best citizen you can be and those around you will take notice and emulate as such.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Captain Worley's avatar
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    I'd write something but I've been overwhelmed with apathy and find myself not caring.

    Meh.
    Navy collier
    USS Cyclops

  5. #5
    Cyburbian KSharpe's avatar
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    On the other hand, people have never had so much to care about! Americans are expected to care about the environment, social justice (as in not buying from sweatshops, etc), politics, terrorism, poverty, religion and social values, eating right, excercising, investing....not to mention minor details like their friends and families. Sometimes you get overwhelmed and just don't want to think anymore.
    Do you want to pet my monkey?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Bear Checks In

    Nice topic, michaelskis.....

    IMO, we would have to agree on what is apathetic behavior and what is not apathetic behavior.

    A single mother, rushing to work, worried about about displaying herself as a good role model to her children, doesn't stop to pick-up the wrappers (litterbug!) on the street. A harried business executive, stressed because his position is about to be down-sized (or is it "right"-sized?), knows that he will not be able to continue to send his daughters to college and he will be forced to stop his volunteer work with The United Way (capitalist, souless businessman!). The overweight woman in the drive-thru is buying "the dollar special", because it is "the dollar special". She knows her gas tank is nearly empty and she is praying that the "fumes" keep her old beater running until she gets to her part-time job.

    A tired bank teller arrives home and flips on the television. After a long day of constantly smiling (even with those feet hurting oh so much!) he falls into the chair and channel surfs. Mindless, no-need-to-think programming is just what he needs. Tonight, when he tries to sleep, he will be thinking again about his wife's affair, the divorce he wasn't prepared for, and the doctor's comments about his recent medical scans and what they could mean.
    _____

    We have so much going on in our lives, it tough to care about everything all of the time. I am an optimist.....I believe that a majority of people are good, caring, and with their own personal bag of issues that sometimes surface as apathetic behavior.

    Just my opinion.

    Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by KSharpe View post
    On the other hand, people have never had so much to care about! Americans are expected to care about the environment, social justice (as in not buying from sweatshops, etc), politics, terrorism, poverty, religion and social values, eating right, excercising, investing....not to mention minor details like their friends and families. Sometimes you get overwhelmed and just don't want to think anymore.
    I have had the same thoughts myself. It not that you don't care, but you end up picking your causes. Reminds me of Opus and the dandelion patch in Bloom County.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Bear, nice reality check. Thanks

  9. #9
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    I agree with bear and ksharpe

    I also think as planners it's easy for us to discuss complacency because we get paid to care, so of course being engaged in society isn't a big deal for us, that's our job to lead, be part of it, respond and observe - we also see how hard it is to get people involved (see bear's comments for why)

    and I do see a change in the wind with societal engagement - the surge of super churches, the coolness of planned communities - we are all trying to connect with each other in some way

    every decade has it's good and bad and every generation adds and detracts in some way too - I see the young -uns in their 20's as very engaged and ready to go which is a good thing...

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    First off and off topic but more people did not vote on American Idol than for President. On American Idol you can vote as often as you like where for president you can only vote once.

    Second people are self interested but not always rationale. What is in it for them and what are there opportunity costs. If someone whats to gourge on fast food or step in a puddle why should be prevent them.

    And if people voted for the best candidate instead of the one with the best media than Al Gore or John Kerry would be President but people did their homework and decided, based on their own self interest to vote for George Bush.
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

  11. #11
    Cyburbian KSharpe's avatar
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    American Idol is also way less effort. You sit on your butt, watch the show, then call, still from your butt. The election generally requires you to pay attention to the issues for weeks and then get off your ass and go to the polls.
    Do you want to pet my monkey?

  12. #12
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post

    What are your thoughts regarding the apathy epidemic in America? Why is this happening? Have we become a country that just does not care anymore? Is it even possible to reverse this trend? What would it (quality of living, communities, country, world) be like if it was able to be reversed?

    Seems to me it's not an issue of apathy - rather it's an issue of people not caring about the things you thing are important.

    Don't get me wrong - I agree with alot of what you are saying here, but I suspect that most Americans are too busy caring about other things to care about what you and I think are important.

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