Paul's Internet Landfill/ 2019/ No One Cares

No One Cares

A few days ago I saw a person wearing a t-shirt. On it was depicted a perfume bottle (In the style of Chanel No 5, I think). The T-shirt read "No One Cares".

That got me thinking about this phrase. It is often used on the Internet to dismiss someone's concerns. I supposed it is intended to be a fairly mild insult, somewhere between "Whatever" and "Die in a fire". But to me "No one cares" seems to be one of the cruellest things one can say. It's not an incorrect statement, but it is still cruel.

If you were to perform mass spectrometry on me you would discover that I am composed of equal quantities of self-loathing and existential angst. The self-loathing tells me that I do not deserve to be in the world, and that I certainly do not deserve all the comforts I enjoy. The existential angst tells me I have no purpose and that the universe is indifferent to whether I am here or not. Like all good insults, "No one cares" presses directly on my sore spots. I desperately want somebody to care, but deep down (not that deep down) I know that nobody does and nobody shouldn't.

So many of the things I do (including this blog) are desperate cries for attention and praise. The reminder that "no one cares" is a reminder that such efforts are futile.

We are social animals, and to be told that "no one cares" is deeply threatening. For social animals, ostracization often means death, and although "no one cares" is not directly ostracizing, it is a signal that it is irrelevant to the social group whether you are around or not.

I suppose you can dismiss these ruminations as my usual neurotic overthinking, but it isn't just me. Religions and cults (in particular Christianity, but also others) prey on lonely isolated people with promises that someone (in particular God, or Jesus) does in fact care about you, and does in fact have a Plan for your life. For those of us wrestling with "no one cares", this is enticing bait. Wouldn't it be nice to feel secure that we mattered to someone? It would be nice, even though it is not really true.