Thursday, November 8, 2007

Indifference Be Gone!

Indifference. The subtle strangler of passion and creativity. The novocaine that numbs crusades for moral revolution and the pursuit of social justice. The seductive adulterer that defiles our marriage with hope and compassion. Indifference and her sisters, cynicism and complacency, cloud our visions for change and idealism. We live in a world that worships at the altar of indifference. I've knelt before that altar from time to time. I've fallen asleep in the comforts of my freedom. I wrestle with indifference and I'm sure most people do, too, so I thought I'd post some famous quotes on the subject.

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

Now my friends, I am opposed to the system of society in which we live today, not because I lack the natural equipment to do for myself but because I am not satisfied to make myself comfortable knowing that there are thousands of my fellow men who suffer for the barest necessities of life. We were taught under the old ethic that man's business on this earth was to look out for himself. That was the ethic of the jungle; the ethic of the wild beast. Take care of yourself, no matter what may become of your fellow man. Thousands of years ago the question was asked; ''Am I my brother's keeper?'' That question has never yet been answered in a way that is satisfactory to civilized society.

Yes, I am my brother's keeper. I am under a moral obligation to him that is inspired, not by any maudlin sentimentality but by the higher duty I owe myself. What would you think me if I were capable of seating myself at a table and gorging myself with food and saw about me the children of my fellow beings starving to death.

--Eugene V. Debs:

Indifference is the strongest force in the universe. It makes everything it touches meaningless. Love and hate don't stand a chance against it.
--Joan Vinge

First they came for the Jews. I was silent. I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists. I was silent. I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists. I was silent. I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me. There was no one left to speak for me.
--Martin Niemöller

Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.
--Paulo Freire

The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment.
--Robert M. Hutchins

“Love will find a way. Indifference will find an excuse.”
--unknown

“The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men”
--Plato

“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”
--Haile Selassie

3 comments:

Thomas said...

Great quotes. I loved the Joan Vinge one. We must guard ourselves against indifference.

Peter said...

Ahh.. you have stumbled upon Elie Wiesel. What a way with words! I'll add another Wiesel quote for your collection.

"I swore never to be silent
whenever and wherever human beings
endure suffering and humiliation.
We must always take sides.
Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.
Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."
-- Elie Wiesel

Rama said...

Beautiful quotes. I'm truly inspired. Thanks for posting them.