Thursday, October 2

Apathy and The House of One

In last Sunday's Washington Post, an article entitled, “Three Faiths Under One Roof,” describes an effort in Berlin to build a “House of One” to be used by Christians, Muslims, and Jews.  The leaders of these three faiths who are behind the project cite Martin Luther King, Jr. as an inspiration to them to tear down walls.
As with any massive project requiring the cooperation of vastly different groups, the leaders of this project are running into plenty of opposition from within their own faiths.  I find it most interesting that they claim, “perhaps the single biggest challenge is overcoming apathy.”  The power of apathy—especially collective apathy—is so great that one of the most quoted sayings over the last hundred-plus years is:
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
This is such a potent sentiment that its original author is still unsettled, as so many great leaders expressed similar thoughts in their own words.
What are you apathetic about that you should care about?  Does it stem from your lack of purpose or focus? Does it come from a practice of being passive rather than active? Do you fear conflict if you stand up to people with whom you don’t agree—or even align yourself with people who are unpopular in your circle?  Do you tell yourself, “That’s not my business,” or “I can’t really influence the outcome, so why even try?”
Apathy may prevent these visionary religious leaders in Berlin from attracting the support and resources needed to realize their dream of a House of One.  Apathy closer to home can rob you, your family, or your organization of your fullest contribution and fuel a negative cycle.  Recognizing the significance of your participation, or lack thereof, in the grander scheme of things is the first step in turning the tide and finding the energy to take action.

Find ways to lift your way out of apathy—set goals, keep a daily diary, join with others to work on achieving agreed-upon outcomes.  There are many mini-steps to take to achieve great accomplishments. They don’t happen in a single decision, but as a result of small, incremental steps that build toward their realization.  Take the first steps toward something you want to do, but haven’t found the energy or inspiration to tackle.  You’ll feel so much better about yourself once you begin!


As a footnote, after I wrote this blog, I was driving in Washington, DC and came across this gentleman polishing his dump truck.  I'd say he is the definition of anti-apathy and an inspiration to up my own game!

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