In a book entitled “speeches that changed the world” by Simon Montefiore, I gained an interesting insight. Of all the great speeches someone can choose to pick out, the author picks Elie Wiesel’s famous speech on the ‘perils of indifference’. Aside from my personal differences with the views of Wiesel, it seemed strange that a speech describing such a mundane issue could be so important.
Upon reflection, I began to see why he would choose such a speech. While each of the other speeches carried a heavy meaning and clear message, Wiesel warned of the dangers of ones lack of conviction to a cause; a satisfaction in mediocrity and self-joy with a blind eye to all else other than oneself. It was significant not because he brought anything new, but rather because he warned of the habits of the old which hold back anything new.
Why is this relevant? Well, so many people around me seem to be happy to follow the societal trend, happy to simply continue in what we do with little thought as to why we do it. They choose a job because it earns them lots of money, a daily routine because it brings them the most joy and a religion (or way of life) because it is the most convenient thing for them to follow. Rarely do we ever stop and reflect why it is we do what we do, and whether it is actually any good for us at all!
As human beings, most of us live a life of indifference, content with everything around us as long as it doesn’t harm ourselves. Indifference is one of the worst states a person can be in; a state of contented ignorance, happy to live your life with minimal thought or reflection. Rousseau states; ‘As soon as any man says of the affairs of the State “What does it matter to me?” the State may be given up for lost.’ As the world is recovering from a global economic catastrophe, we must abandon the lust of self-pleasure if we are to save our society from destruction. With just a small amount of genuine concern for those around us and sincere collective action, the world would be in a far better place.
Views expressed in articles are the author’s and do not represent Comment Middle East
Latest posts by CME (see all)
- “Terrorist, plain and simple”? The misleading strategy behind the “terrorist” tag. – October 6, 2015
- Letter Smuggled out of Egyptian Prisons: Esraa El Taweel Speak – July 14, 2015
- We must not forget Abu-Salim – July 7, 2015