May 29, 2008


This post shall begin, like most of my other posts, with thanks to the person who brought this conversation to the fore, Suchitra. If it were not for your questions, I would not be even half the thinker that I think I am.

The question under consideration is what is indifference? We are not going to talk about whether it is beneficial or not. All I am interested is in what it is.

Indifference as defined would mean the ability to come face to face with something and not be affected by it. It seems to mean that the something that one is indifferent to does not hold any importance in my books.

In my opinion, that cannot be indifference. If something is not important to us, then we cannot be indifferent to it. Rather, when something is not important to us, it does not matter what we are to it. We can pay heed to what it is; we can choose to ignore it, neither matter, for once we place it in the realm of unimportant, even the emotion that it triggers is unimportant.

Therefore, I understand that we can be indifferent only to the things that are important to us. The next question is, “Are we indifferent to things that we do not know of?” That too, I believe does not constitute indifference, it is obliviousness. When we are not in the know of something, to say we are unaware of neither its existence nor its non-existence, we are oblivious to it; therefore not indifferent to it.

Therefore, we can be indifferent to things that we know exist and are important to us. This seems to be a self-contradictory statement. How can one consider important and yet be indifferent to it?

The answer, according to me, lies in what indifference means. If it means that we do not pay heed to what happens to it, then we are not indifferent. It should ideally mean that we consider it important; however, it does not have the capacity to run our emotions. The indifference is not to the presence or absence of an entity, it is to the effect that it has on us.

The above statement means that even though something is not present, we can still be not indifferent to it, for it plays an important role in our psychological well-being. I do accept that there is a very thin line between what constitutes indifference what constitutes the opposite. I do accept that with an overview, indifference means no important. However, I can see a subtle difference that lies in the area of importance.

Indifference is in my head,
As is everything else.
I can need you,
Yet be indifferent,
I can have no use for you,
Yet hold you in high esteem.
It is not importance you see,
For indifference lies in my head.


Anonymous said...

My understanding of indiffernece if failing to recognise though we are aware of it existence. Failing accept a reality, take cognisance of. treat it with contempt/ disdain refusing to acknowledge,.
Sonetimes beneficiale amny a time is intentional and desdain

Suchitra said...

If indifference is being emotionally void to something that's important to a person, then does that not mean that the more indifferent they are to something, the more they care about it? Is it not that they care so much about it that they are, in a way, afraid of what such extremes can provoke in them, and hence cover up? So in a way, isn't indifference the ultimate statement of how vulnerable they are?

Regarding the thanks, I'm sure you can dispense with them. I can assure you that sparking thought in you is hardly, if ever, on my agenda when I plague you with questions for discussion.:)You're welcome, though.

PS: You might want to proofread your last paragraph; it was not very clear. Your thoughts seem to have run faster than the speed of your typing them out!