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Evil

So a friend of mine posed the question the other day, "Why are humans capable of such evil?"

I gave this some thought, and gave what I thought to be, at the time, a pretty respectful answer. Maybe not *the* answer, but at least a tad insightful.

Thinking about my answer a couple days later, I realized that my answer was pretty much shit, with a little bull thrown in for good measure. But tonight I got what I thought might be a better stab at it.

Looking at it from a bit of a different angle. Less the "why are we evil" and more "why don't we do good?".

Now given that it's tax time, I've been looking over my charitable contributions for the year, and I am less than enthused. I thought I'd chosen good charities, but just giving an organization an abstract money does nothing to really address the vague sense of general helplessness to actually affect positive change. It feels as real as an excel spreadsheet listing names and dollar amounts.

It was at this point I got an idea. A way that technology, specifically the Internet (notice lack of plural, I worry about it's jocular use may someday become the norm, but maybe that the Idiocracy talking), can help us become the better people we want to be, in a way past technologies have failed to.



Okay, I fibbed a little to you to get you to click more. My idea isn't all that great or revolutionary. I thought it was for a bout a minute, until I realized that someone is already sort of doing it. More on that later

But first things first, my thesis:

That people don't help others as much as they should, because it's kind of hard to find people in genuine need. And even if you find someone in need, it's unclear that you're the person in the best position to help out.

I mean, if you were to ask someone the last time they saw someone truly in need, I'd wager they'd either mention a homeless guy on their way to work, or a Sally Struther's commercial from the 1990's.

To me, the current state of journalism does a poor job representing that there are those in need around us. When someone needs help, it usually stays off the news until they have crossed the point where they appear more as a wolf in the forest to us; A reason to circle the wagons, not dig in the pockets.

That is unless you're one of the lucky few receiving the brief and glorious "human interest" story lottery on state TV. At which point far more hope than is useful is briefly showered upon you until the next day.

So my idea, was a sort of micro-journalism. My head was full of a utopia where people with GPS enabled, wi-fi cameras would document everyday human plights, mere blocks away from my own home. And legions of do-gooders would constantly refresh their browsers, hoping for an opportunity to help someone out nearby...

At this point, if you think this is a good or unique idea, I might remind you of the fact that, umm, churches kinda do this thing all the time. Food shelves, community outreach, probably 20 other programs I can't even name It's not entirely clear to me how they manage to do it without GPS enabled wifi digital video cameras and sweet Google Maps integrated search site. But they do. And they've been doing it for a long time.

But even this got me to thinking, could there be some use participating in that sort of organization, just for that? Is it worthwhile to just show up, and wanna help people, while still chewing over the whole "what is everything?" question... I guess that's what the secular humanists are supposed to be about, but as far as I know they only really gather at colleges, and from the one meeting I attended, we just fed a bunch of college students pizza. =)

Bleh, but I won't side track you with that bit of internal monologue. If there's one thing that is truly insta-boring it's someone talking aloud about their spirituality, unbidden.

So, I guess basically what it sounds like I want, is I want churches, to start somehow broadcasting, zip code specific tales of interest, ala youtube. And, now, I realize that utilizing a globalized network to make it easy for me to ask my neighbor for help in a time of need may seem like overkill. And it probably is.

But the point remains, it should be easier to find a way to help out than to find the nearest pizza buffet. Only when that day arrives will Apathy truly be forced to "suck it".

6 comments:

Posts about you actually being conned out of your money are way funnier than posts about you wishing to be conned out of you're money over the intenet.
by: Mike (contact) - 13 Feb '07 - 11:05
You know what would be really great? If the federal and state income taxes were raised to about 85% of the income of anyone making over $50,000, and then the government could give away all that money and you would not need to look for opportunities to do so on the internet.
by: Meg (contact) - 14 Feb '07 - 18:51
I actually agree with Mike and (slightly sarcastic) Andy.

This post was supposed to be more about the idea of "micro casting", but then got distractingly smeared by my dirty handed guilt complex.

I don't consider it a very good post by me, for that reason. Also, given it's dryness, a complete lack of jokes is a pretty damning oversight.
by: Kyle (contact) - 16 Feb '07 - 20:58
What is so bad about targeted giving? And if technology made it simpler and more efficient, what is so bad about that? I assumed you weren't serious about going Big Brother on the homeless of Hopkins, but I was intrigued by the use of the word "conned."
by: Meg (contact) - 17 Feb '07 - 17:34
In Kyle's defense I know he is unusually generous!
However, I have to say, as a former child of the "60s" I find it ridiculous that anyone needs help finding the needy, or a suitably needy group to give donations too.
Your donation can help a food shelf - there is probaly one around the corner in Hopkins.
What about "Mary's Place" a homeless shelter near downtowm Minneapolis, which by the way does not receive any funds from the United Way. Founded by Mary Jo Copeland, "Mary's Place" houses families until they can get employed and find a place to live. Donations of clothing, money or food are always needed. But let me challenge the X, Y or Z generation, what ever you are calling yourselves... most organizations can also use doantions of your time.
Wow, now that's gonna hurt!
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Meta Information:

Title: Evil
Date posted: 12 Feb '07 - 22:57
Filed under: General
Word Count: 797 words
Good Karma: 96 (vote)
Bad Karma: 95 (vote)
Next entry:  The Improbable Dream
Previous entry:  The Mark

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