Wednesday, August 10, 2022
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On the Record: Apathy

Eric Ercanbrack

The Broadside

Eric Ercanbrack, Editor-in-Chief of the Broadside

You’re asleep, dreaming about being a super-hero, a detective or a millionaire. Your sheets entangle your feet and your heavy head digs deeply into the fluffy cavern your pillow forms as it caresses you.

Then you hear it. You know, the noise. The noise that will end it all.
It’s your alarm clock.
You know reality is going to be uncomfortable to get used to at first, and that is something you accept.
It’s time to wake up.
Some people, however, never wake up from their slumber.
I stood outside the Boyle building and asked students what they thought of the supposed Qur’an burning that was plastered all over the headlines last month. Only one out of 10 students knew what the Qur’an is. This is a problem, and its name is apathy. Instructors stress in nearly every class that students should be reading some sort of news. But people are more often changing the channel from news to reality shows, or sitting in front of their computers watching YouTube videos of cats flushing toilets.
When questioned about apathy, “Why should I care?” is a response I often hear. What happened to the passion that college student once embodied?
Have we become so desensitized and repressed that we cannot even conjure up emotion for others and a voice for ourselves? College is supposed to be your time to find or rediscover a voice, and find meaning in what matters to you as a person.
Earlier this year Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax was stabbed after helping a women from being mugged. He died in the streets outside of New York City even though 25 people had walked by through the hour before someone finally made a call.
Most people might think that they would never walk by a dying person, “I wouldn’t do that,” you might say to yourself. The truth is, students probably would walk right past a dying man. Many students don’t vote, don’t watch the news, do not volunteer or help others and they just don’t care.
Why should you care?
“Because we are good at thinking, we can learn to override our initial emotional reactions and behave as detached, scientific observers in certain circumstances. But this requires an effort, even if we don’t recognize it as such.We care about other people because we can’t help it. When we cease to care altogether, we cease to function as humans. The important question, then, is how we live with caring about other people, given how painful and demanding that is,” wrote Eleanor Toye, of Intel Research Cambridge.
Do something, anything. Read a newspaper, find out what your passionate about, get an opinion or just simply start to care.
It’s time to wake up.

You may contact Eric Ercanbrack at



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