“Real nobility is based on scorn, courage, and profound indifference.” – Albert Camus
In this new series of posts, (they have their own category and everything), I’m going to be covering what I call end game concepts. These are mindsets and concepts that are a sort of ‘end goal’. These are the ones you can use all the way until your grave, then maybe into your next life too.
Allow me to save you the trouble of your initial objection “profound indifference” sounds like an excuse not to care about stuff! That wouldn’t be very “profound” though, would it?
Here is an excerpt from the spiritual teacher Krishnamurti to help explain it a bit better:
Indifference comes into being when you listen to that noise with no resistance, go with that noise, ride on that noise infinitely. Then that noise does not affect you, does not pervert you, does not make you indifferent. Then you listen to every noise in the world – the noise of your children, of your wife, of the birds, the noise of the chatter the politicians make – , you listen to it completely with indifference and therefore with understanding.
Profound indifference is to be unshaken by the events of what you are observing, of what is going on inside of you or outside of you. You may take action against injustice, but your core, your real self, remains still. You did not do it because you are reacting, because they threw you off your state, but because you remained “unshaken”, you were able to respond with your full set of resources.
A clear mind, an unbiased and non-judgmental mind, one which sees the full situation for what it really is. Imagine how your perspective of the world and every situation may be then. This is the true way to live authentically in each moment.
Lets look at the following real world example, and then look at it from a reactive position, and one of profound indifference.
You’re on a first date. Perhaps you just came out of a long relationship and you haven’t gone on a date in a long time, and you want things to go well. You really, really want things to go well. Right now you’re exploring again and not really sure what you’re looking for in the short or mid-term. You know you need time to take everything in, and see what the world has to offer you right now.
The first date goes well, and you even got a kiss at the end, it seemed to be great fun for both of you. You really like the other person, and you have a feeling they like you too. You move onto a second date, half way through, they ask “where is this going? I need to know before we continue.”
Things got a bit intense, a little fast, didn’t they? Your gut reaction may be based “well, we’ve had a really great time, I really like this girl, and it seems like if I want to keep going at this, I’ll need to commit to her”. The risk is you rush into something out of fear of hurting the other person, and end up dragging something out because you couldn’t be honest with where you were.
Now let’s look at the “profound indifference” approach. You don’t let the current situation decide your response. You think back to what your situation is, what’s going on, and what you’re looking for. You accept that you aren’t ready to commit to anything serious yet, and you’re still trying to figure things out. Yet you also know you really like her, and want to see where things go, and as such, you respond something like this:
“I’ve had a blast with you so far, I’d love to keep seeing you and see where things go. I’d be interested to know how you feel about all this so far too. I just need to let you know that since just coming out of another long relationship, I’m still in an exploration phase right now. I’m not sure how much I can commit to any one relationship right now. If you’re not cool with it, I can understand, feel free to take time about it to decide what you want to do. We can keep seeing each other until you find someone to commit with as well. At this point I’m happy to explore whatever happens. I’d certainly love to keep seeing you based off our time so far though, I just needed to let you know where I’m at”.
Some readers may see this as flakey and an inability to commit, but I’m certain they would agree a fully heart-driven answer of authenticity and what a person is really thinking, is much more valuable then a reaction in the moment that will sound good now, but be tragic and painful later.
Lastly, you may say “well that sounds all well and good, but I’m not sure I can do that kind of calm and honest answer with so many emotions up in the air”. You’re right, right now, that may be difficult. Don’t wait until that moment though. Practice it in each moment. With each choice you make. In every situation you are. Check in with yourself, notice where your biases are, how you may be compromising yourself to make others feel good or to avoid some other pain. Notice when you are reacting to a situation instead of deciding what you actually want to do.
Don’t wait for the most stressful or intense situation to start practicing “profound indifference”, do it every chance you get. It will take time, but end game concepts are like super powers, and they are worth taking the time to develop.
Relationship talk based off the teachings of the great lifestyle and no-BS guru James Marshall.