Perhaps I'm getting overly cynical in my old age, but I was honestly surprised to see how many people, news networks, and media outlets were quickly aware of the situation and mobilizing aid efforts. Just because we have the technology to see the real-time destruction doesn't always mean people really know or understand the magnitude of what's going on (just look at Hurricane Katrina). But now, it seems that even my non-CNN-watching friends are texting money to donate to a cause they've actually heard about. And more than that, the number of people who want to help overwhelms me.
In my own state of near-frenzied helplessness, I went online to see if there was a way in which my French language skills could be put to use in some way. While it seems naive and I have yet to figure out a way in which my rudimentary language skills can facilitate any communication, I did see an enormous number of message boards with posts from others eager to help the cause. People were reaching out to anyone who would listen, promising a huge variety of skills - from driving heavy machinery to nursing and medical knowledge. The number of people willing to drop everything and be literally dropped into the middle of utter destruction and destitution, with seemingly little regard for their own lives here, was incredible (see one example in the comments on this message board). This is not to say that if given the chance every one of those persons would get on the plane to Haiti, but it is to say that we can all find a bit of hope in the idea that so many individuals are proactively searching out opportunities to aid those in need. It's not a bad opposite to Rush Limbaugh's remarks (I love this response on what it means to be a redneck, using these comments), right? It's also a refreshing reminder that just as Martin Seligman studied learned helplessness, he also showed us all learned optimism, and that we too are capable of more than just the evil confirmed in studies by Zimbardo's Stanford prison experiment and Milgram's electric shock and obedience to authority studies.
- Study: In Uncontrollable Situations, Being Alone Is Better
- How I Learned To Stop Thinking For Myself And Get To The Right Answer (Part One)
- Seven-Year-Old Charlie Simpson Visits Downing Street After Raising GBP200,000 For Children In Haiti
- Briggs Stratton Generates A Return To Routine In Haiti
- First ShelterBoxes Arrive In Port Au Prince- Pictures And Footage