“Absence suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement, lack of interest in or concern for things that others find moving or exciting”. Webster. What else can explain the current state of affairs. I see lots of people out in the world doing great and generous things for their fellow human beings. Pure, selfless acts. These actions should inspire, create a call to action, motivate. But theirs is the same path of the lonely monk that worked to save the goodness, the light and the intellectual achievements of humankind. Thankless, forgotten. The number of enlightened or even socially functional humans seems to be eclipsed many times over by the foolish, the hopeless, the arrogant, the selfish, the delusional, but in this list of the virtueless bows it head in subservience to the power of the mob – the apathetic. The largest majority just does not care. The excuses run the gamut, but in the end, they are just excuses.
The events that inspired this expression were the myriad of public shootings in the United States last year, the mindless reporting on the events, the mock outrage of the citizenry – “trauma events” in news parlance, grade schools, malls, stores, military bases, the list of barbarous targeted acts goes on and on. Nothing done. Nothing. I bore witness to the first wave of this cultural shift – my first solo show was in Washington DC in 1993. Titled – “Urban Violence, coming to a Suburb near you”. Very Special Arts was the charitable organization that backed and benefited from the show. This the event that captured the nation’s zeitgeist – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcyyCi2b2AY and https://www.marktsmith.com/press/through-the-eyes-of-artists/ . These happened on the same day.
The same hollowing of the inner cities and the replacement of a vibrant culture build on co-existence with a violent, dependent one with a permanent short term outlook. The unsolved structural decay has spread to the rural and post industrial areas of the country. As the wealth is concentrated into the hands of a few, the replacement culture is the wasteland of apathy.