Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

I have chosen the following from Ethan Zuckerman to blog about:

5. Problems are not always obvious from afar (You really have to live for a while in a society where no one has currency larger than a $1 bill
to understand the importance of money via mobile phones.)

I can emphasize how true this is. It is so easy for us to stand thousands of miles away from a problem, donate some money or material and then forget about everything. These people are not just things that we are helping, they are human beings whom we must help and most importantly engage in helping themselves in a sustainable way. Dehumanization is often referred to in discussions of genocide or other mass killings, but I believe that it is a wide spread problem.

I was at a peace studies conference at Notre Dame in Indiana this past weekend, and there was a panel of business students in a very unique class. Each team of students was given a problem that they had to solve when they reached their particular country. They spent one quarter planning, and the next quarter solving. Across the board, each student said that during the planning process, they felt very empowered and that it would be easy to make a change. Once they got there, the problems seemed to be multiplied over and over again.

It is like looking at a painting. Looking at it from far away, you may think you see the wh*** picture, but only if you really examine it closely can you see the nuances of the brush strokes. There is so much more to see on that level of magnification.

Views: 41

Comment by Alberto Cottica on April 2, 2010 at 4:01pm
Agree. Never assume it's going to be easy; nothing is. Or nothing interesting, at any rate.
Comment by Sarah Shaw Tatoun on April 2, 2010 at 9:22pm
Nice analogy, Reema. It's easy to imagine making what the Czechs call 'a h*** in the world' -- not so easy to actually carry off.
Comment by Reema on April 2, 2010 at 9:37pm
Thanks Alberto and Sarah :)
Comment by Catherine Gentry on April 3, 2010 at 2:48pm
Good story...I have witnessed the wisdom of the Taoist adage about, "if you wish to change the world you must start with changing yourself and then you will find that is all that is necessary." I have found out first hand the importance of this idea, as it is extremely difficult to balance oneself, so only then can we begin to see it would be impossible to change someone else...Once one understands this, others might be approached with more humility and solutions truly will present themselves.
Comment by Reema on April 3, 2010 at 3:06pm
Indeed, thank you for your insight agent Gentry :) As Gandhi says, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." I think everyone should spend more time focusing on inner peace.
Comment by ritaryan on April 4, 2010 at 11:55am
a thoughtful post, thank you
Comment by Linda Holt on April 4, 2010 at 7:09pm
Great article. I think it's symptamatic of our tech driven culture that we want to "fix and run" from one thing to the next. When we take the time to build relationships that empower others, we often find that solutions come from totally unexpected quarters!
Comment by Samiran Roy on April 4, 2010 at 7:27pm
This is a wonderful post, I urge you to read mine: http://www.urgentevoke.com/profiles/blogs/listen-to-the-right-peopl...
Our ideas coincide :)
Comment by Reema on April 4, 2010 at 8:19pm
Indeed Linda! Thanks Samiran, I'll read it now :)
Comment by nomadHAR on April 8, 2010 at 4:19pm
one of the reasons we can be so terrible at empathy is in a theory called Dunbar's Number. it is a theoretical limit on the amount of people that we actually think about in a non-trivial matter at one time. the amount is only 150. the rest of the people in the universe become just background noise. we have to actively fight against this, or risk dehumanizing people that do not live near us.

http://www.cracked.com/article_14990_what-monkeysphere.html - *WARNING* crude humor, but insightful


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