“I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world.” ― Albert Camus, L’Étranger

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  1. Reblogged this on Teacher as Transformer and commented:
    The Camus quote pointed out the paradox we live with without always being aware of it. Is the world indifferent? Or is it different? Perhaps, it is our indifference to the world that causes the world’s indifference? There are usually more question than answers.

    1. Thanks for the reblog. I just finished “The Stranger” by Camus and from the protagonist’s perspective, the quote makes a lot of sense. He was indifferent to everyone around him, but not brutal about it.

  2. I think we have to be indifferent to a point. We can’t possibly be involved in everything that is going on in the world, the horror and sadness would overwhelm us, maybe even cripple us. Like doctors, we have to take a step back or we can’t function. Indifference is a defense mechanism that a allows us to know what’s going on but not become attached to it. If every death was like the death of a loved one, who could survive it? We can’t live and be that sensitive to what’s going on. We have to remain detached/indifferent, in order to function. We can care, help and take action, if we choose, but to identify with the problems of others, I don’t know how we would survive. It may seem cold and inhumane to be indifferent to another’s suffering but it’s built into the system. The farther away the problem, the less it becomes our problem…even if it is. Even those who are involved in horrific situations, can sometimes become indifferent to suffering and death. They become numb, overwhelmed, detached, indifferent. That’s the only way some of them can function, in the face of so much tragedy. It doesn’t mean they don’t care, it means they have to take measures, in spite of what’s going on, if they want to continue with their work. People can barely deal with their own problems. A huge number of children and adults are being medicated because they can’t cope. Imagine what life would be like if they weren’t indifferent to the rest of the world. I believe that indifference is part of us. It allows us to function and survive.

  3. I think it’s important to recognize that in times of crisis people do come together and help each other. They fight against a common enemy and they help those in need. Everyone came together when 9/11 happened. Chicago sent firefighter to NY to help, people donated money, blood and person power, etc. The thing is…once a crisis is over…we all go back to our “steady state,” and get on with our own lives.

    We don’t even know what others want or need. It’s not our business to interfere with others (unless it’s a huge crisis, of course). I was born and raised in Chicago. I’ve lived here all my life…one of the rules of living in a crowded city, is MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS. I believe in that. I understand how that works. I’ve seen it work. No one ever knows what’s going on with anyone else. No one knows what someone else needs or wants. In a city, you don’t mess around. You can feed the homeless but even then, some of them may be insulted. We are a friendly city. We are helpful to tourists, we smile and chat, but we also mind our own business.

    1. Yes, all good points. In relation to this quote from “The Stranger” by Albert Camus, the man to which he refers to, truly was indifferent to the goings-on around him, but not in a brutal way. Hence, a ‘gentle’ indifference.

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