Monday, December 12, 2011

Raising the bar

Movember has just finished. I think the idea is great. The 'About' section of the website tells a little about the tale of Movember. The cause is serious. To quote a friend who participated...

'My Mo Aint serious...but ball cancer is.....FRIKIN BALL CANCER!!!!' DL


What I find fascinating is the way the idea spreads. From a standing start in 2003, each year they have raised more money and had more participants. It is an idea virus. Each year more people spread the meme. Last year Movember raised £48.5m and had about 447k participants (Mobros and Mosistas). This year about 850k people have raised about £70m.

Last year, I did it by myself in my office and raised £1423. This year 11 guys participated and we raised just over £8000 as a team.

It is a mix of fun and fundraising. Some people may find that to be a problem. Cancer is serious. So, they may feel a light hearted approach degrades things. That it becomes about being silly.

As the world becomes more and more empathetic, which is a good thing, it also means there are so many more things that get you down. The world is progressively becoming a much better, far safer, significantly wealthier and happier place. Movies like Avatar (which I enjoyed) may glamorise a hunter gather world, but don't be fooled. The world is getting progressively less violent.

What added empathy means is that we care about starving children in other countries. We even care when protesters get pepper sprayed in other countries. We care about people with clef lips who can't smile. We care about children whose parents smoke in the car with them. We care about children growing up as mercenaries in war torn countries. We care about people who lose their jobs. We care about people who have to retire a few years later than planned. We care about people who aren't exactly the same as us. We care about people from completely different cultures. Our caring recognises we are all human. In fact, our caring even extends beyond our species to animals of all shapes and sizes.

Some of these problems are 'first world problems' that pale in significance against others. That doesn't make them not worth caring about. It just means we have raised the bar.

But it can also feel overwhelming sometimes. All this caring. So, when some good comes out of a little silliness. I don't think that is bad. You can care, and do good through, while dressing the problem up with a little fun.

That is why I think the Movember Meme spreads. It is silly, and we like being silly. It is a visual way of people joining in the fun and doing some good.

Sounds like a win win.
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