Why Should I Care?
Russia’s attack on Ukraine has raised the distorted specter of indifference, wearing the mask of an odd, even righteous, neutrality.
Why, the reasoning goes, should I concern myself with people thousands of miles away that I don’t even know?
After all, bombs aren’t dropping in my neighborhood. Besides, the dictator behind it all never did anything to me personally, so why should I care…?
Let’s start here: The opposite of love isn’t hatred. That’s because hatred, at the very least, demands that you see the object of your hate in order to experience your emotion.
The opposite of love is indifference.
Indifference is the refusal to even look at, much less see, others. It is the quietest, darkest form of not caring. Indifference goes beyond objectification, which acknowledges there is something there, even if that something has been dehumanized.
Why should I care?
My short answer: Because the people of (and in) Ukraine are human beings.
The longer answer would address larger systems and connections that, as responsible, conscious adults, we simply do not get to separate ourselves from. The longer answer also recognizes that there are indeed bombs dropping in my neighborhood because those neighborhoods are part of my world, even if they are thousands of miles away…
Meanwhile, let yourself feel helpless, hopeless, weak, impotent, angry, outraged, frustrated, exhausted, hurt… then allow yourself some gratitude for being able to feel all of that out of love and hope for our fellow human beings on the other side of the globe.
And strongly consider the idea that indifference, as the opposite of love, is evil’s preferred growing medium.
Here are a few words from the last 48 hours from and about two human beings in my circle:
One is in Poland and was unable to meet this week because, as is fitting, he’s busy with the logistics of provisioning, caring for and moving refugees from Ukraine…
The other is in Moscow. His wife, pregnant with their second child, is Ukrainian. She’s unable to connect with her father in Kyiv. He asks, “And that in the (already a possible) case of mobilization, they can try to send me and my friends to fight with whom? With my cousin? With my father-in-law? With my niece???”
Like I said, my neighborhood…