REFLECT UPON THIS: INDIFFERENCE IS THE ENEMY! @RRBC_Org;@RRBC_RWISA;@Tweets4RWISA;@JohnJFioravanti;@nonniejules;@4WillsPub;@4WP11 #Quotes #RRBC #RWISA

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”

~ Elie Wiesel

How is it that the world stood by and witnessed the Nazis deprive thousands of people their freedom, their human dignity, and their very lives? Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, encapsulated the explanation in a single word – indifference.

Wiesel (1928 – 2016) was a Romanian-born American Jewish writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor. He wrote 57 books, written mostly in French and English, including “Night,” a work based on his experiences as a prisoner in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps.

I came upon this quote a few days ago, and I have been pondering the meaning ever since. As a high school History teacher, I taught my students about the Holocaust every semester, and I never became comfortable with this unit of human horror. Therefore, I am listening to Wiesel’s words with my heart within this context. As I write these words, I am moved almost to tears.

He points out to us that indifference is the opposite or opposing position to love, art, faith, and life. I understand the dictionary definition of indifference as a lack of interest, or of concern, or of sympathy. We may also say that a state of indifference indicates that something is unimportant.

As I struggled with these concepts, I found these words by Anton Chekhov, the famous 19th Century Russian playwright and author. “Indifference is a paralysis of the soul, a premature death.” His words are saying the same thing that Wiesel expressed almost a century later.

I believe the human soul is the spiritual dimension of a person. It is the seat of our unique identity. It is also the source of our life energy and the repository of our deeply held beliefs and moral guidelines. Chekhov’s words “paralysis of the soul” is truly a premature death. That paralysis snuffs out my spiritual energy. It blinds my belief system and moral compass. I cease to be a person in the fullest sense of the word.

I cannot love anyone in this state of paralysis. I become, not only the centre of my universe, but my entire universe. There is no room for anyone else. Others may be useful – or not, but certainly not loved because they are unimportant. This allows me to turn my back on someone who needs help, or someone who is suffering. Because they are unimportant, so is their plight.

Art, no matter the format of its expression, is the outer manifestation of the artist’s soul. We can see reflections of our own souls in the many mirrors of artistic expressions, be they paintings, music, poetry, plays, novels, sculptures, films – the list is endless. If I am indifferent, the art is meaningless, and I am not moved spiritually, emotionally, or intellectually. I am dead to art and all it can teach me. It cannot nourish me.

Faith can be understood as trust or confidence in something or someone. How often have we heard people say that they don’t trust anyone, or they have deeply seated trust issues? Betrayals can make me wary about trusting others. The presence of evil in the world can make me question my faith in God. If I am indifferent, faith is irrelevant. I trust no one and become totally self-reliant. I have closed myself to the possibility of trust or confidence in anything or anyone.

Wiesel’s final analogy concerns life. If I have stilled my soul, there is no life, even though my body still functions. There is no empathy for the feelings of others, so I can walk right past a person lying still on a sidewalk or roadway. I can shrug when I read about the horrors of the holocaust and perhaps even call it a hoax.

I believe there are degrees of indifference and that it is within all of us. How else do I explain the fact that we still see and allow the evils of intolerance, prejudice, and discrimination to flourish around us? Why do we assume that this is just a normal reaction to fear? Why do we continue to laugh heartily at jokes that are racial slurs or attacks upon a gender – or worse yet, upon those who suffer from a physical, mental, or emotional impairment?

Indifference. It renders the human spirit paralyzed or dead, but indifference is very much alive and well!

To learn more about John, please visit his RRBC Author Page!

Twitter:  @JohnJFioravanti

As a very special treat, please visit WATCH NONNIE WRITE! and FIORA BOOKS BY JOHN FIORAVANTI to sample ONE free reflection and interpretation from the first REFLECTIONS and another sample from the upcoming REFLECTIONS II!  I assure you, they’re both just as amazing and inspiring as this one and will whet your appetite for what’s to come with his new release!

Thank you for dropping by to support John’s upcoming release.  Please be sure to snag a copy of the original REFLECTIONS, on Amazon now for only $2.99 and as a FREE read on Kindle Unlimited!

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36 thoughts on “REFLECT UPON THIS: INDIFFERENCE IS THE ENEMY! @RRBC_Org;@RRBC_RWISA;@Tweets4RWISA;@JohnJFioravanti;@nonniejules;@4WillsPub;@4WP11 #Quotes #RRBC #RWISA

  1. I enjoyed John’s reflections on indifference and believe the truth of what he says. Thanks for introducing him to me, Robbie. The trailer for his book is interesting – filled with quotes from many fine people. I like that he suggests people purchase it legally – such an important notion today. I will certainly consider adding it to my list.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I was introduced to Elie Wiesel and “Night” in high school by my English teacher and it had much more impact on me than any history class. Indifference is still rampant, as you observe. Even if it’s due to weariness, that’s no excuse. (K)

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  3. I used to wonder how Nazi Germany happened–how so many people of faith were abused and killed. I thought we’d grown past that, become more civilized. But it appears we haven’t. Indifference on the part of people. That poem by Martin Neimoller says it perfectly:
    “First they came for the Communists,
    and I didn’t speak up,
    because I wasn’t a Communist.
    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak up,
    because I wasn’t a Jew.
    Then they came for the Catholics,
    and I didn’t speak up,
    because I was a Protestant.
    Then they came for me,
    and by that time there was no one
    left to speak up for me”

    Indifference. Good word, Robbie.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Such beautiful words from John! I particularly loved this phrase: “Art, no matter the format of its expression, is the outer manifestation of the artist’s soul.” I totally embrace that in every form! Thank you for sharing, Robbie!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi,
    Indifference is a silent killer. It hides itself behind busyness. Unfortunately, we humans still haven’t learn. We have closed our eyes to what is happening in Syria, in Lesbos, in Hong Kong, in some parts of Africa. With our eyes closed, people are starving, and especially women and children.
    Very engaging reflection.
    Shalom aleichem

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Pat, you are quite right with you comment. It is very sad. I do, however, know a lot of really good people here in southern Africa who work very hard to help people in need. I personally donate to a women’s shelter, a children’s home, and a few other organisations, as well as the Church. Every little bit helps.

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