Planting Seeds

Planting Seeds

Planting Seeds: Empowering our Children with Ways to Protect the Environment while Cultivating the Earth

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Differences We Can All Make if We Only Try...

I can’t believe that the semester is almost over. It seems like the time has flown by, but it is wonderful to look back and see all that has been accomplished since January. I feel that we have truly planted the seeds, which we are seeing blossom as spring emerges. The growth that the Planting Seeds project has taken truly amazes me and I am quite thrilled with all the hard work we have all contributed to make this possible.

I found the readings for last week, Nexus: Small Worlds and the Groundbreaking Theory or Networks by Mark Buchanan and Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcom Gladwell both to be very interesting. This can be partially attributed to the fact that as a psychology major, I had studied some of these theories and cases such as that of Kitty Genoveve, the young Queens woman who was brutally murdered while thirty-eight neighbors watched and did nothing. Gladwell explains how this could have possibly happened using a fairly simple, but rather unique explanation “When people are in a group, in other words, responsibility for acting is diffused.” Despite the shocking nature of this statement, it is entirely true – seen in countless examples of everyday life. Buchanan explains how such a tragedy can happen using Mark Granovetter’s idea of every human being needing a threshold, “where the perceived benefits to an individual of doing the thing in question exceed the perceived costs.” It is true that in the society we live in today, everyone is trying to get ahead and “do better” than those around them.

We live in an environment where competition to be the best has often cost individuals their titles, as greed and power redefine the scope of what many consider lawful. However this desire to be better has also created countless benefits to our society that we would not be able to experience if this desire to always be achieving more did not exist. Gladwell says in his conclusion, “In the end, Tipping Points are a reaffirmation of the potential for change and the power of intelligent action. Look at the world around you. It may seem like an immovable, implacable place. It is not. With the slightest push – in just the right place – it can be tipped” certainly a powerful message to leave with his reader. I found Gladwell’s comments to be extremely illuminating, causing me to question what I taken for granted or assumed throughout my course of study in psychology. Once I have completed my other assignments, I look forward to reading the other chapters in his book and gaining an ever greater insight into Gladwell’s theories and logic.

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