Apathy (also called perfunctoriness) is most commonly defined as a lack of feeling, emotion, interest, or concern. It is a state of indifference, or the suppression of emotions such as concern, excitement, motivation, and/or passion. An apathetic individual has an absence of interest in or concern about emotional, social, spiritual, philosophical or physical life and the general world.
- If ignorance and passion are the foes of popular morality, it must be confessed that moral indifference is the malady of the cultivated classes.
- Relativism is not indifference; on the contrary, passionate indifference is necessary in order for you not to hear the voices that oppose your absolute decrees.
- Karel Čapek, "On Relativism" (1925)
- The greatest danger to our future is apathy.
- Jane Goodall "The Power of One", Time magazine (August 26, 2002).
- The more the Jew is a Jew, the more universalist will his views and aspirations be, the less aloof will he be from anything that is noble and good, true and upright, in art or science, in culture or education; the more joyfully will he applaud whenever he sees truth and justice and peace and the ennoblement of man prevail and become dominant in human society.
- Most people are indifferent, unless their self-interest is at stake. Then there are the chronic complainers.
- We spend our lives fighting to get people very slightly more stupid than ourselves to accept truths that the great men have always known. They have known for thousands of years that to lock a sick person into solitary confinement makes him worse. They have known for thousands of years that a poor man who is frightened of his landlord and of the police is a slave. They have known it. We know it. But do the great enlightened mass of the British people know it? No. It is our task, Ella, yours and mine, to tell them. Because the great men are too great to be bothered. They are already discovering how to colonise Venus and to irrigate the moon. That is what is important for our time. You and I are the boulder-pushers. All our lives, you and I, we’ll put all our energies, all our talents into pushing a great boulder up a mountain. The boulder is the truth that the great men know by instinct, and the mountain is the stupidity of mankind.
- Doris Lessing Paul Tanner, in "Free Women: 1"
- Nothing is more conducive to peace of mind than not having any opinion at all.
- Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, Aphorisms (1764-99)
- Indifference, if let alone, will produce obduracy; and obduracy, if let alone, will produce torment.
- Henry Melvill, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 344.
- Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.
- John Stuart Mill, Inaugural Address Delivered to the University of St. Andrews, Feb. 1st 1867.
- Yes, we all know that curiosity killed the cat, but indifference kills people, both physically and metaphorically, every single day, when it surrenders to despots, aggressors, and villains.
- Marco Respinti, "Hong Kong’s Jimmy Lai Has Been in Jail for 1,000 Days: An Australian Lawyer Invented a New Way of Supporting Him", Bitter Winter (October 18, 2023)
- There are few signs in a soul's state more alarming than that of religious indifference, that is, the spirit of thinking all religions equally true — the real meaning of which is, that all religions are equally false.
- Frederick William Robertson, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 344.
- Once you have glimpsed the world as it might be, as it ought to be, as it's going to be (however that vision appears to you), it is impossible to live compliant and complacent anymore in the world as it is.
- Victoria Safford in "The Small Work in the Great Work" in The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear (2004) by Paul Rogat Loeb
- The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that's the essence of inhumanity.
- George Bernard Shaw, The Devil's Disciple (1897)
- In any election, only a percentage of the people vote. Those who can't vote because of age or other disqualifications, and those who don't vote because of confusion, apathy, or disgust at a Tweedledum-Tweedledummer choice can hardly be said to have any voice in the passage of the laws which govern them. Nor can the individuals as yet unborn, who will be ruled by those laws in the future.
- The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of beauty is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, but indifference between life and death.
- Elie Wiesel, US News & World Report, 27 October 1986