Wednesday, December 09, 2009

If this were Porn, we'd have 100,000 votes....

At the end of my last post about "Giving and Apathy," I promised I'd come back and update on the cause I'd gotten involved with.

A week has passed, and I'm sad to report that the apathy of the world continues to reign supreme.

Perhaps the most poignant comment I received came from a friend (who DID participate, and thank you for that!) who observed the following:

"If this were porn, we'd have 100,000 votes already!"

Sad, but probably true.

His observation-- along with some of the feedback I received directly-- made me feel sad and disturbed about the broader state of the Human Condition, regardless of whether we're HSPs, or not.

What matters?
What do we MAKE matter?
Where do we place our priorities?

Perhaps what made me feel MOST sad was the sheer number of responses (by email, or direct message) I got, offering me reasons, rationalizations and excuses to NOT participate. My point being that these people had anywhere from five to thirty minutes of "spare" time to write me an explanation (about feeling overwhelmed, about it not being "their" charity, about not supporting anything "corporate" you name it), but NOT one minute of time to just harmlessly participate, at no expense or exposure to them.

I suddenly became aware that "excuses" actually outnumbered "votes."


It reminded me of something I recently witnessed.

Back in October, I was standing in my local Safeway grocery store, waiting for the Customer Service Counter staff to figure something out with the Grocery Manager, as to whether or not a particular product could be ordered. As a result, I stood outside the busy checkstands for about 15 minutes.

At that time, the local high school was having a fundraising drive. They evidently had found a sponsor who'd donate the equivalent of 5% of the "value" of all grocery receipts they could collect and turn in to the sponsor, to get cash to build a "haunted house" for Halloween, or something like that. The short of it was, that if you (the grocery shopper) gave the kid your $100 grocery receipt, they'd be able to turn it over for a $5 cash donation.

ALL they had to do was collect grocery receipts from patrons who'd finished shopping. Grocery receipts that most likely would be thrown away, 15 minutes later.

I watched in amazement as these high school kids would approach departing customers (and this was WITH Safeway's blessing, I should add), explain what they were doing, and politely ask if they could have that person's grocery receipt. What stunned me was that probably 80% (or more) of the patrons asked to give up their receipt said "no," or looked the other way and hurried out of the store.

I share this, because it was another example of people being broadly unwilling (in my opinion, "apathetic") to make a free contribution that would take five seconds of their time. So often-- it seems-- we just automatically get defensive and bark "no!" without even hearing what something is actually about; just assuming that it will "cost" us.

Allow me to bring some more "global" threads into this-- let's back off and take the "50,000-foot view."

This morning Sarah (my honey) commented on a Rolling Stone article she'd read about global warming, and just how hosed we're getting. Global warming-- a MUCH bigger issue than a community charity-- is yet another example (in the "meta pattern" sense) of apathy, and not caring.

Her words, in turn, reminded me of a TED talk I watched yesterday, about a man who spent 17 years in silence, in support of environmental change. You can watch the video here-- it ALSO won't cost you anything, aside from twenty minutes of your time. Or I can just share that MY primary "takeaway" was that ultimately WE are "the environment." And our surroundings are largely a reflection of how we treat each other, and what we make important, in our lives.

Do we care?
Do we help?
Do we act from a place of being aware and mindful?

Then, in that lovely way of synchronicities, an HSP friend wrote a powerful piece on the importance of stepping up and being seen, as HSPs. Again, a highly recommended read-- won't cost you a dime, just a little time. If you don't subscribe to her blog, you should.

Anyway, to bring this full circle, we have two days left to go in adding votes for the cause I mentioned in my last post. If you want to participate, we appreciate it-- just click on the banner, which will open a Facebook page (you may have to register) where you follow simple instructions to vote. No cost. No salesman will call. If you get lost (I can't imagine you would) you can come back here and try again. The deal ends December 11th.




If you don't vote, I forgive you. What I DO ask of you is that you pause and consider "what matters" to you, and whether or not you're actively engaged in what matters to you... in your community, in your life. Because the problem (and solutions) begins with YOU, and "intending to" is not enough.

To quote Yoda: "Do. Do not. There is no TRY."

2 comments:

  1. You make a good and valid point. I did vote, because I believe in the cause and it was quite easy. But I wonder if because something is deemed easy, it doesn't feel like we're really invested emotionally. Donating money, or time and energy, seems like it means more to me. Just my two cents :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Unfortunately, you point to one of the somewhat "sick" truisms of the human condition: Tied to our western sense of a "work ethic" we gravitate towards giving value only to those things we must "work for" or are "difficult to accomplish." As a result, millions of "small easy differences" we could make are ignored and overlooked.

    Thanks for your comment!

    ReplyDelete

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