Apathy

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List of terms related to Apathy

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

Background

Apathy is a psychological term for a state of indifference — where an individual is unresponsive or "indifferent" to aspects of emotional, social, or physical life. Clinical apathy is considered to be at an elevated level, while a moderate level might be considered depression, and an extreme level could be diagnosed as a dissociative disorder. The physical aspect of apathy associated with physical deterioration, muscle loss, and lack of energy is called lethargy — which has many pathological causes as well.

Apathy can be object-specific — toward a person, activity or environment. It is a common reaction to stress where it manifests as "learned helplessness" and is commonly associated with depression. It can also reflect a non-pathological lack of interest in things one does not consider important.

History

Apathy is a common feeling of complete discontent for one's emotional behaviour.

Apathy etymologically derives from the Greek απάθεια (apatheia), a term used by the Stoics to signify indifference for what one is not responsible for (that is, according to their philosophy, all things exterior, one being only responsible of his representations and judgments). The concept was then reappropriated by Christians, who adopted the term to express a contempt of all earthly concerns, a state of mortification, as the gospel prescribes. Thus, the word has been used since then among more devout writers. Clemens Alexandrinus, in particular, brought the term exceedingly in vogue, thinking hereby to draw the philosophers to Christianity, who aspired after such a sublime pitch of virtue. [1]

The concept of apathy became more sympathetically accepted in popular culture during the First World War, in which the appalling conditions of the Western Front led to apathy[citation needed] and shellshock amongst millions of soldiers.

See also

References

  1. ^ This article incorporates content from the 1728 Cyclopaedia, a publication in the public domain. [2]

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