With the post Too Many To Care, Paul Slovic begins a series in The Situationist on the psychology of compassion. “If I look at the mass I will never act. If I look at the one, I will,” as Mother Teresa said. Genocide and mass atrocities go without comment but the idea of one person in danger tends to move someone to act and help.
“Compassion fatigue” or abstraction blunting charity increases with numbers of victims, but may begin with as few as two people. Social media must consider this situationist social psychology. In a similar dynamic, statistics about thousands of homeless people in a city or hundreds of thousands of disabled, etc. can be viewed more clearly in one person. An awareness campaign like Face Mental Illness may be the best way to appeal. Meet Jennifer Forbes, in a 2006 profile. Jennifer also blogs at Mental Health Minutes. With one blog, even one striking photo at a time, a few can help the many.
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Apr 2007
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Kiume, S. (2007). Too Many To Care. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 9, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2007/04/16/too-many-to-care/