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[Xmca-l] Re: Interesting to think about: the social springs of giving



Who knew that 60 Minutes is available on the CBS website?  My Sunday evenings will never be the same (or perhaps it will be Monday morning?).

Mike, my thoughts about the Make A Wish segment are these: that it illustrates a particularly striking and moving example of a much broader, even ubiquitous, phenomenon, namely the way that families, and more broadly communities, make arrangements to provide experiences they consider valuable and formative for their children.

Typically this would be done in a habitual manner, with little reflection and less attention. Here, with Make A Wish, the child is in extraordinary circumstances, and so the response is more visible, and more striking. Indeed, its noteworthiness is a component of its operation: publicity moves it forward, generating the interest that provides the donations that make possible the generous granting of a seemingly impossible desire. It is a fairytale that can come true, and so illustrate "the power of making a wish," and so while it cannot make the child well (a fact the segment itself highlights), it can perhaps increase their will to live, and it certainly is experienced as transformative for the adults who participate (it puts their own problems in perspective) and for other children of the community ("it plays a huge part in what our kids grow up to be").

If a wish is the hope for something seemingly unattainable, something impossible or at least impractical for the child and immediate family alone, it is something that a community can organize to arrange to have come true. This is obviously something that doesn't happen every day -- it's deliberately organized to happen once a year, or perhaps once in a lifetime -- but on a more mundane scale what *does* happen everyday is not different in kind or character. 

Martin

On Oct 18, 2015, at 10:07 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:

> I found a segment of the American weekly TV program, 60 minutes, more than
> usually interesting this evening, and one segment in particular
> seemed to have a lot of relevance to many different interests of people on
> xmca. The topic was the the activities of the "Make a Wish Foundation."
> 
> Of the very many issues that the program discusses, one which I found
> particularly interesting was the ability of the organized practice of
> communities
> raising money to give seriously ill children "a last wish" is one that has
> particular relevance to questions about the mechanisms of social
> solidarity. In small towns in northern Arkansas, a relatively poor and out
> of the part of the US, people raise amazing amounts of money to provide
> special experience for kids who are dying of some disease that has not
> known current cure. What particularly caught my attention especially is the
> powerful effect that participation in the money raising and the ingenious
> social organization of the activities, has on community members across
> several generations, from peers to grandparents. In one sense, it seems
> that everything is so focuses on the individual kid that it is "just a
> manifestation of late capitalist individualism." If effects on the kids is
> interesting, but it is the reflected effect on the community pretty
> generally, and the emergence of strong personal bonds in particular that
> caught me most.
> 
> Andy might find this interesting as an example of a project.
> 
> mike
> 
> http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/topics/60-minutes/     click on make a wish
> 
> -- 
> 
> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an
> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch