Thursday, April 14, 2011

Dave Meslin: The antidote to apathy

I used to have a sign hanging in my cubicle when I worked at the University of Washington Personnel Office. It said (if I can remember this correctly, it was back in the early 90s): "Sometimes, Apathy, can be a good and healthy thing." My lead came up to me one day, after about a year, and said, "I always thought that was a stupid sign, but now I see, it actually makes a lot of sense and can be a life saver."

That is not to say, it's always a good and healthy thing. But there are times when you need to ride the Train of Apathy, to save your own sanity. But that is a temporary thing. To live a life that way, is untenable and ridiculous. It's not acceptable. If you find you are living on that train, look around, do you have a berth on that train, does it feel, lived in, are you starting to feel, comfortable on it? Apathy is a good an necessary thing, like, an aspirin, like a cold compress, or a heat pad. It is not a philosophy for a way of life.

Dave Meslin, in his talk (see the video), talks about how people seem much of the time to be stupid, lazy, but it's not true. It's not the people, it's our lifestyle, it's the train we are in and surrounded by. If we think of people in that way, we are only fueling that train. But once we stop, we take people for the positive forces for change that they can be, once we see their intelligence, their desire for good, suddenly, that train turns into something else.

Think about it. Treat a kid like he's stupid. Raise him that way. Now go back, treat that kid like he's brilliant, raise him THAT way. What do you think you will get in the end? Well, for me, I'm kind of backward. I was treated like, told that, I was stupid, because I talked about Aristotelian ideas when I was in 6th grade and no one around me knew about those kinds of thoughts. I was the first in my family to get a University degree. Butt I didn't know I was "smart" until I was told that by a Professor. I kind of thought it when I was younger but didn't really believe it until I started going to the head of my classes, having done not so well in K-12 (mostly because of authority issues).

However, if we try to look at people around us as smarter than they appear, as more interested if they can hurdle the issues holding them back, then things start to take a much lighter shade of production. People need to know they can affect change. Dave, in his video gives some very concrete examples of this.

Check it out!
Dave Meslin's video at TED on The Antidote to Apathy.

No comments:

Post a Comment