[Skip to Navigation]
[Skip to Navigation Landing]
Citations 0
The Art and the Calling
March 2002

Apathy and Meteors

Arch Dermatol. 2002;138(3):321-322. doi:10.1001/archderm.138.3.321

As a disease, apathy is hardly skin deep. At its core resides inertia, exposed as velleity, ennui, and lassitude morale and manifested as dispassion, insouciance, acedia, and sarcasm. Its attendant indolence and stagnation corrupt the physical body. Its ataraxia, confused by the afflicted with aequanimitas and exalted by the Stoics, suffocates the spirit.

Uncommon in poets, artists, and priests, apathy is curiously common in physicians, who should care but do not. Its genesis resides not in the long arduous years of training when sleepless nights and callous superiors might be imagined to inflict the disease, but rather after, when one might have assumed that income, family, independence, and authority might have conferred some immunity.