Why do people not care?
There are various reasons why someone does not care.
- The person has had parents that have not shown any love or affection
- This applies to men, where their social upbringing tells them that crying makes them weak and to man up if they are hurting and not to be a big girl’s blouse. Hence men may not show emotion.
- A person may have built a defense mechanism to shield themselves from harm.
- A person may be brainwashed by political or religious groups.
- The person has been abused, physically, mentally or both (domestic violence).
- The person was raped.
- The person was traumatised by grief of losing a loved one.
People only care if they are directly affected by something or someone. This could be their beliefs in which they would be advocates or for people that they know such as family, friends and sometimes even co-workers. It the social connection people have with one another that allows them to show emotion to another person.
The only other times people will care is they are on the job and must, i.e. Doctors & Nurses, Firefighters, Care-workers (who are doing good for society as a whole rather than getting personal) or if a person randomly witnesses someone that needs their help like for example if someone was injured or dying. Volunteering is an act of kindness but does not mean necessarily you care about an individual but more so about a cause.
However, if you are doing good does not always mean you care it is how you want to be perceived by others. Doing good for society can only be praised and it’s our acts of kindness without getting personal that help us be better people and make a difference in the world. By helping with a cause, one could be passionate about something and may want to make a mark in society that they have tried to do good, call it a legacy if you will. Our emotions should not be confused with our acts of kindness (we do not have to care to be kind, it could be our moral duty to be kind). Kindness is an act of compassion that relates to wisdom, confidence, and courage. Kindness is a strength we have to help others. Being compassionate is an attitude we have to deal with a problem.
People that show no emotion at all or are controlling are called narcissists. However not everyone is without empathy.
Most people care about their family and friends but will not extend to strangers. That is why there are so many homeless people because if society cared they would try to help or take them in. Not all homeless people are junkies and even if they were, there are rehab centers and shelters they can go to if people took a moment to help them out of their busy life rather than walk on by.
How many of us have thrown a penny or two at a homeless person or thought “get a job”? (Before you say anything this has never crossed my mind but I bet you a bottom dollar it has to so many people). How many of us have stopped to ask if that person is ok or bought them hot food or a drink ( I know I have) or even given them something warm to wear.
Small acts of kindness will go a long way.
“I for one will show empathy to someone less fortunate than myself rather than an able-bodied person. The reason for this is I have built a barrier around myself and am extremely careful who I am associated with. I have trusted so many people in th past that have betrayed me and caused me harm. I am now extremely cautious about who I let in. I find keeping myself to myself is the best form of practice”. I will sooner help a vulnerable person because they need my help not because I care but because it is my moral duty as a human being to help someone less fortunate than myself.
It does not say much about a person that walks on by and does nothing.
Mother Theresa once said “If I look at the mass I will never act. If I look at the one, I will.” These are the words of a woman whose acts of charity and kindness earned her sainthood.
For some people a single death can seem like a tragedy, however, we cannot connect to amass loss of life unless we are somehow associated with that loss. Most often than not, the deaths of many simply become a statistic, something that happened to someone else, elsewhere.
“For me, I have to be stricken by grief 3 times, never mind all other bad things that have happened to me, which I will be writing in my book”.
Seeing millions of lives lost through natural disasters, wars or to famine is just news that happened somewhere else and did not affect us directly hence we cannot associate ourselves with it.
We can become numb to the news that we hear, and our compassion can be consumed by our day to day living.
Paul Slovic, a psychologist at the University of Oregon who has studied psychic numbing for decades said “One is that it doesn’t deal with numbers in magnitude very well. If we’re talking about lives, one life is tremendously important and valuable and we’ll do anything to protect that life, save that life, rescue that person. But as the numbers increase, our feelings don’t commensurately increase as well.”
Paul Slovic’s research suggests that as statistical numbers associated with a tragedy get larger and larger, we become desensitized show less empathy. Therefore, this can make is less likely to act. Global disasters make people disassociate themselves from the atrocities and they start to become complacent that because it did not affect them there is little they can do and simply carry on with their lives like as if it never happened, even going on to say that they “feel bad” about what has happened but what can they do. Feeling bad which is showing sympathy is different from showing empathy.
Empathy is the ability to understand other people’s feelings just as we have experienced ourselves. Sympathy on the other hand is the ability to take part in someone else’s feelings, mostly by feeling sorrowful about their misfortune, in which we can dissociate.
The same goes with the Coronavirus Covid-19 Pandemic because we have not been affected by it directly only indirectly some people will have a blasé attitude and may not take it as seriously as it is meant to be. This leads to a kind of apathy that makes people complacent about hand washing or wearing masks.
People who say they care in one breathe but do nothing to help a person in need in another breathe are false. The ones that say “I would if I could, but I can’t” are simply making excuses, because everyone can help if they tried.
If say someone has financial problems and the other person cannot help them out as they too have financial problems of their own, one still can help the person out by problem-solving and researching the best options available.
I wonder next time you ask someone to help you how many will come forward….
Further reading: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200630-what-makes-people-stop-caring