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The size of the (reported) world, a matter of scale & compassion

Monday, February 5th, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — sadly but explicably unable to fall in love with the world population ]
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I’ve been thinking about the appropriate scale of the world as it appears in different styles of reporting. The issue here is what happens when you zoom down from the abstract, group, to the individual, personal level.


Ava Olsen, perceived at the appropriate scale at which to view the world as a whole

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My tweet:

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My tweet explained — I hope!

A lot of journos take the wide-angle or “30,000 feet” view, dealing with a group or preferably larger community’s situation, eg “The Middle East after ISIS“, it's abstract and much smaller than the world – when you focus on one 7 yer old (eg Ava Olsen) you capture the actual size of the world, albeit only a tiny fraction of it — but with the appropriate level of compassionate response.

This is important becaus at full size, ie at the individual level, your writings elicit the appropriate compassionate response, which is key to our humanity, while at the more abstract and removed (“30,000 feet”) scale, both Ava herself and the appropriate compassion go missing.

And we desperately need the full appropriate compassion to be elicited, for the individual but for the individual at the group level!

I suspect, FWIW, that this is also, essentially, a quantity vs quality issue.

So 100 to 1 abstract, high level reporting will show the world, but garner only 1% of the appropriate compassion in readers (I know, it’ll do better than that, but only by a little), whereas 100 to 1 personal level reporting will garner the full compassionate impact — even with only 10% of the reportage, still the equivalent of 10 times the reportage at the abstract level — which then needs to be multiplied up to the abstract level.

image borrowed from one of a few dozen sites, then altered

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So we need a preponderance of individual focus, but also an individual to group zoom — even when the group is humanity as a whole.

The best news: We can improve our capacity for compassion

QED


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