Monday, February 16, 2009

Why No Bystanders?

After a short break from blogging, I have decided to transform this blog into something that would represent my true reasons in having this blog in the first place. Thus the birth of NO BYSTANDERS.

I felt that the original site was a bit self centered, first with the URL "everythingfroi;" and second with the site name "A Glimpse of Poy's Crazy World," when in fact this site is not about me but rather of my thought, views and advocacies. Things that are bigger than me.


I got the inspiration from reading Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point. In the book, the concept of Bystander Effect was discussed, and basically what it says is that people tend to help or to act less when they know there are other people who might do it (I will try to discuss the two concepts later and in succeeding posts).

And upon reflecting on the concepts of "the tipping point" and "bystander effect," I came to realize that these concepts aptly explains some of the basic social problems that we have. Take for example GMA's stay in power. Why is it that after so many scandals, she is still in power. People power fatigue maybe? Maybe we have not reache the tipping point? Or is it the Bystander Effect at work?

Same goes for all our environmental problems. I believe people are not acting because they believe somene will do it anyway.

To explain futher the concept of Bystander Effect, below is an excerpt fro Wikipedia:

"The bystander effect is a social psychological phenomenon in which individuals are less likely to offer help in an emergency situation when other people are present. The probability of help is inversely proportional to the number of bystanders.

The bystander effect was first demonstrated in the laboratory by John Darley and Bibb Latane in 1968.[2] These researchers launched a series of experiments that resulted in one of the strongest and most replicable effects in social psychology. In a typical experiment, the participant is either alone or among a group of other participants or confederates. An emergency situation is then staged — examples include smoke pouring from a vent in the room, a woman falling and becoming injured, a student having an epileptic seizure, etc. The researchers then measure how long it takes the participants to act, and whether or not they intervene at all. These experiments virtually always find that the presence of others inhibits helping, often by a large margin.

There are many reasons why bystanders in groups fail to act in emergency situations, but social psychologists have focused most of their attention on two major factors. According to a basic principle of social influence, bystanders monitor the reactions of other people in an emergency situation to see if others think that it is necessary to intervene. Since everyone is doing exactly the same thing (nothing), they all conclude from the inaction of others that help is not needed. This is an example of pluralistic ignorance or social proof. The other major obstacle to intervention is known as diffusion of responsibility. This occurs when observers all assume that someone else is going to intervene and so each individual feels less responsible and refrains from doing anything.

There are other reasons why people may not help. They may assume that other bystanders are more qualified to help, such as doctors or police officers, and that their intervention would be unneeded. People may also experience evaluation apprehension and fear losing face in front of the other bystanders. They may also be afraid of being superseded by a superior helper, offering unwanted assistance, or facing the legal consequences of offering inferior and possibly dangerous assistance."

So in writing this blog, I proclaim to the entire world:

I refuse to be a bystander!

And I will make it my life's mission to be an example to the world, or at least to my circle of influence, that they too can choose to be not a bystander. Then, probably, we might see a better world someday.

Patuloy na umiibig sa Pilipinas,
At naniniwala sa Pilipino,

Froilan Grate | GreenMinds

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